Otto Preminger’s CARMEN JONES is the first title in a four-part Essential Cinema series dedicated to UNRULY WOMEN in cinema.
Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte give the performances of their careers in this contemporary version of the Georges Bizet opera about an independent woman who lives by her own rules and discards men when she grows tired of them, starring an all-black cast. Vivacious and seductive as the eponymous siren, Dandridge earned the first Oscar nomination for an African American actress in a leading role, and the film cemented Belafonte’s place as one of Hollywood’s leading African American actors. (1954, Otto Preminger, 105 mins, U.S., English, NR, DCP)
“Like no other screen Carmen before or since, Dandridge is a walking challenge to the prevailing ideology that surrounds her – with its deadening emphasis on respectability and repression, on settling down and moving up. She is a subversive in the classic Carmen mould…” — David Melville, Senses of Cinema
“Preminger directs with a deft touch, blending the comedy and tragedy easily and building his scenes to some suspenseful heights. He gets fine performances from the cast toppers, notably Dorothy Dandridge, a sultry Carmen whose performance maintains the right hedonistic note throughout.” — Variety