Customer Review

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
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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4.4 out of 5 stars (58 customer reviews)
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