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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carmen Jones
This film is my favourite Opera Movie of all time! When it came out I was in my teens, and saw it 12 times. The passion and drama of the Spanish Music transposes perfectly to an Afro-America cast and the American language. Because of the modern feel to it it reflects the impact the original Carmen must have had on the 19th Century audiences. The words of the songs are...
Published on 2 Dec 2004 by Mrs. A. M. Woollard

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment
After waiting well over two weeks it doesn't play as it says not this region!!! Very disappointed it wasn't pointed out in the description.. A waste of money!!!!
Published 18 months ago by Miss C. Atkinson


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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carmen Jones, 2 Dec 2004
By 
Mrs. A. M. Woollard "Masha" (Darlington, Durham United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Carmen Jones [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This film is my favourite Opera Movie of all time! When it came out I was in my teens, and saw it 12 times. The passion and drama of the Spanish Music transposes perfectly to an Afro-America cast and the American language. Because of the modern feel to it it reflects the impact the original Carmen must have had on the 19th Century audiences. The words of the songs are entirely approprioate to Bizet's intentions;" The Toreador song is allocatedto the Boxer, who sings, "Stand up and fight until you hear the bell", The Train song, when Pearl Bailey and her friends seek to persuade Carmen to go away with the Boxer never ceses to thrill me. Other songs are; "Beat out that rythm on a drum," Carmen's seduction song , "You go for me, and I'm taboo" and all the others have completely spoled me for classical versions of the Opera, which sound stilted and old fashioned.
The memory of this wonderful film has stayed with me for 50 years, and I am delighted to be able to buy it on DVD!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rose Tinted Spectacles. So What!, 3 April 2011
By 
Bob Salter "Captain Spindrift" (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Carmen Jones [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
When I first watched this film many years ago I was blown away. I was so naive that I was not even aware that the accompanying music was actually by Bizet. Forgivable perhaps given my youth! The music was spectacular and the tragic story captured my imagination. Dorothy Dandridge was an unforgettable Carmen, whom you believed could have seduced any man, as Otto Preminger the director discovered in real life. Watching it again the other day I was still held in magical thrall, although I will admit to noticing a few fault lines. What a pity that Belafonte and Dandridge, both fine singers, had to be dubbed. I was also more painfully aware that not a single white face was to be seen in the film, which brings attention to the fact that segregation still existed in parts of the USA when this film was made.

The story is about a young military officer, played by Harry Belafonte, who is engaged to marry his sweetheart, that is until sultry Carmen steps in. It is not long before the young man is eating out of her hand. For love of her he manages to get himself in a lot of trouble with the military, and ends up on the run. When Carmen falls for a wealthy prizefighter and drops him like a hot potato things start to get out of hand. In 1943 Oscar Hammerstein jnr had the brilliant idea of taking Georges Bizet's opera Carmen, and changing the setting from the social underbelly of Seville to a Southern military base. The lyrics were cleverly changed and Spanish 19th century characters became African-Americans of World War Two era. Otto Preminger bravely took on the directorial duties and unsurprisingly given the climate at the time struggled to get funding for the project. Eventually Darryl Zanuck stepped in and Preminger was allowed the luxury of full directorial freedom.

The film has had some mixed reviews over the years. Channel four described it as a truly awful film. No sitting on the fence there! It is a musical/opera like no other, that is for sure, and as such you either love or hate it. I happen to love it! The cast give it their all, especially Dandridge who is a sizzling Carmen. There is a very risque foot fetish scene which is compulsory viewing for male viewers. Hammerstein's believable lyrics sit comfortably amidst Bizet's beautiful music. BFI have rescued a very decent film from relative obscurity and should be applauded. The crisp colour picture is a joy to behold. I happen to believe that in musicals and westerns Hollywood is unsurpassed. This is certainly a great example of that and one of my very favourite musicals. I refuse to take the rose tinted spectacles off! Five stars it is! The films extras contain brief biographies of Preminger, Belafonte, Dandridge, who died so tragically young, and most interestingly Saul Bass who created the films distinctive rose themed credits. He also famously provided the stunning credits for Hitchcock's "Vertigo" and was lured out of retirement by Scorcese to do the credits for "Goodfellas".
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable film accompanied by a great cast, 29 Jun 2007
By 
This review is from: Carmen Jones [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
Although it's been some time since I last saw this film, it is on my "must have" list based on the wonderful musical score, the charismatic leads, and its importance as a vehicle for Black American talent at a time when racial discrimination was rife.

Dandridge would have been a true Hollywood success story had her years in Hollywood been today. America was still hesitant to give black performers key roles in motion pictures. True, we had films such as Cabin in the Sky (1943) but where did that film go to? Otto Preminger must be credited for taking a big chance in making this all-black picture concerning Carmen Jones, who works in a parachute factory, and the soldier, Belafonte, who must escort her to the magistrate when she has broken the law.

Dorothy Dandridge nailed this role as Carman Jones. She is catty, seductive, and has her men wrapped around her finger. Harry Belafonte is sensational as Joe, the naive soldier who becomes prey to Carman. It's interesting to watch Joe trying to tame the wild tendencies of Carman, while a love triangle grows outside of their relationship. It's like watching a cat on a hot tin roof. (oops, another great movie.) An added plus is the wonderful production numbers with dance choreography and songs. The costume, wardrobe, and props reflect the culture of city slickers and country folks, presenting the differences in lifestyles among characters. These differences became evident in Dorothy Dandridge performance, and earn her an Academy Award nomination for best actress. Halle Berry's Oscar acceptance speech for Best Actress in Monster's Ball reminded me of just how far we have come and how long it has taken to reach this stage of the journey!

If you haven't yet seen Carmen Jones - take the time to view this milestone in American cinema history - you won't be disappointed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hammerstein's word magic, 9 Oct 2006
By 
J. Higgins (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Carmen Jones [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
For me the chief delight of the movie is what Oscar Hammerstein achieved with his libretto. He hears English speech rhythms in Bizet's music and finds appropriate speech for the story. Cindy Lou's 'My Joe' is a miracle of turning ordinariness into poetry.
Listening to 'Beat out that rhythm on a drum', I wondered what the original French words were and put on a recording of the opera. Guess what? 'La, la, la, la-la-la-la, la'.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic that stands the test of time, 19 July 2009
By 
This review is from: Carmen Jones [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
Bizet's music for the opera Carmen is, I think, almost universally recognised, which is no surprise given how melodic and catchy much of it is. But what impressed me listening to the soundtrack of Carmen Jones years ago, and again now watching the DVD, is just how well the new lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein for the 1943 Broadway musical and the 1954 film fit the music and convey this version of the story, which has Carmen as a machinist making parachutes in WW2 USA. The new storyline with an all-black cast fits perfectly and is not at all out of keeping with the original theme of the opera. By the way, the dubbing of the singing is virtually unnoticeable and does not detract from the quality of the film. Dandridge smoulders in the title role, and was deservedly nominated for an Oscar, the first nomination for a black actress.

I'd been wanting to watch the film again for several years, and finally got around to ordering the DVD from Amazon UK. What arrived was a Region 2 DVD published by bfi Video Publishing, an arm of the British Film Institute. The video (in colour) and audio quality are good, the film is still well worth watching and the songs are totally infectious. There are optional subtitles and the brief extras are the theatrical trailer and written biographies of Otto Preminger, Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte and credits designer Saul Bass. The video ratio is 2.35:1 (letterboxed).

"Stand up and fight until you hear the bell,
Stand toe to toe, trade blow for blow.
Keep punching 'til you make your punches tell,
Show that crowd what you know.
Until you hear that bell, that final bell,
Stand up and fight like hell!"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment, 2 Feb 2013
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After waiting well over two weeks it doesn't play as it says not this region!!! Very disappointed it wasn't pointed out in the description.. A waste of money!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bizets 'Carmen' taken into the 20thC, 17 April 2014
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This review is from: Carmen Jones [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
Saw the original film when it came out and was enthralled. Singing is superb and at the time a critic noted that 'Dorothy Dandridge is as hot as an open oven door'! Rather clumsy but you get the idea. I didn't watch this as bought it as a gift. Pleased with delivery and service.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational, 13 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Carmen Jones [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
I bought this copy to replace one I had lent to a friend who enjoyed it so much that I said they could keep it. The acting, staging and singing are sensational and the number of arguments I have had that it is NOT Harry Belafonte singing are legion. Whether you like opera or not this is well worth buying, Carmen will never be the same again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film, 26 Dec 2013
By 
C. G. Bailey - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Carmen Jones [1954] [DVD] (DVD)
I was so delighted to find this film. I remember seeing it as a child, and I gave it to my mum as a Christmas present because she loved it too. The DVD arrived on time and in perfect condition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful voices, 16 July 2013
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I first saw this movie in 1954 and hadn't seen it since then. It still moves me in all the right places but the soundtrack is not very good and lets the whole thing down.
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Carmen Jones [Blu-ray] [1954] [US Import]
Carmen Jones [Blu-ray] [1954] [US Import] by Otto Preminger (Blu-ray - 2013)
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