Best Movies by Farr
Carmen Jones Poster
Released Runtime Category
1954 105 Musicals
Director Language
Otto Preminger English
Actors
Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll

Carmen Jones

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What's it About

Updating Bizet's tragic romance to the black culture of the 1940s, Preminger's film tells the story of Carmen (Dandridge), a sultry factory worker who ensnares the affections of Joe (Belafonte), a soldier who's been ordered to accompany her to a court hearing. Smitten, Joe sacrifices everything — including the army — to escape with the temptress. Given their tricky predicament and Carmen's fiery nature, can this couple survive?

Why we love it
One of the first films with an all-black cast targeted to white as well as black audiences, "Carmen Jones" reflects a seamless transference of Bizet's tale and music to the mid-twentieth century. The movie stands out for Dandridge's searing, Oscar-nominated portrayal (with her singing voice dubbed by Marilyn Horne), and for the platform it provided African-American performers Pearl Bailey (as fortuneteller Frankie) and Diahann Carroll. Sadly, Dandridge would die in obscurity of a drug overdose in 1965, but "Carmen" remains a testament to her striking beauty and prodigious talent.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"