6.8/10
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57 user 40 critic

Carmen Jones (1954)

Approved | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 28 October 1954 (USA)
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Contemporary version of the Bizet opera, with new lyrics and an African-American cast.

Director:

Otto Preminger

Writers:

Oscar Hammerstein II (book) (as Oscar Hammerstein 2nd), Harry Kleiner (screenplay)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Harry Belafonte ... Joe
Dorothy Dandridge ... Carmen Jones
Pearl Bailey ... Frankie
Olga James Olga James ... Cindy Lou
Joe Adams Joe Adams ... Husky Miller
Brock Peters ... Sergeant Brown (as Broc Peters)
Roy Glenn ... Rum Daniels
Nick Stewart Nick Stewart ... Dink Franklin
Diahann Carroll ... Myrt
LeVern Hutcherson LeVern Hutcherson ... Joe (voice) (as Le Vern Hutcherson)
Marilyn Horne Marilyn Horne ... Carmen Jones (voice) (as Marilynn Horne)
Marvin Hayes Marvin Hayes ... Husky Miller (voice)
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Storyline

At an all-black army camp, civilian parachute maker and "hot bundle" Carmen Jones is desired by many of the men. Naturally, she wants Joe, who's engaged to sweet Cindy Lou and about to go into pilot training for the Korean War. Going after him, she succeeds only in getting him into the stockade. While she awaits his release, trouble approaches for both of them. Songs from the Bizet opera with modernized lyrics. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 October 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Oscar Hammerstein's Carmen Jones See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Otto Preminger Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording) (magnetic prints)| Mono (optical prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Features Dorothy Dandridge's only Oscar nominated performance. See more »

Goofs

Not all of the Soundtrack Credits are listed. See more »

Quotes

Frankie: We'll be livin' off the fatheads of the land.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits and end title are set around a flaming rose. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Backstory: Carmen Jones (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

CARD SONG
(uncredited)
Music by Georges Bizet
Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on "Card Song" from Act 3 of the opera
Performed by Dorothy Dandridge (dubbed by Marilyn Horne (as Marilynn Horne)),
Pearl Bailey, chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A fascinating experiment
30 August 2004 | by JackLindSee all my reviews

I believe the other reviewer misses the point. This film was a fascinating experiment in restaging and updating an opera "warhorse." Imagine a Hollywood studio trying to do something like this today? Unthinkable.

The basic story line is classic - man, woman, betrayal, death. I find the musical renderings of Bizet's tunes most interesting. (Dmitri Tiomkin was one of the musical directors (uncredited).) The original lyrics aren't all that interesting, so re-writing the words doesn't seem to me of much consequence. I could wish, however, that the singing and acting were better. (Except for Carmen -- Marilyn Horne!!)

The race thing doesn't trouble me at all. The original 'Carmen' was set in the Seville underclass, so this transformation to America of the 1920s made perfect sense. And it gave a lot of black actors a good gig!

Opera stage directors and designers often set operas in modern times. Shakespeare's plays are often reset into modern times. Remember Ethan Hawkes' "Hamlet?" We should encourage these revitalization attempts. After all, they are, in a very real sense, truly creative works.

Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail, but films like 'Carmen Jones' exemplify a vital history of 'Americanizing' the sometimes stale European 'high art' ideal into more readily digestible fare. This maybe isn't the greatest movie ever made, but c'mon! Give Hollywood a break. They were trying to DO something, so let's give some credit for a good attempt.


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