Carmen Jones (1954)

78% – Critics
78% – Audience

Carmen Jones Storyline

Love, passion, betrayal and tragedy. Carmen Jones is an adaptation of Bizet’s legendary opera Carmen. It tells the story of young, free spirited Carmen Jones, whose great beauty is the object of many men’s desires. However, Carmen sets her sights on young army officer Joe, who is engaged to his sweetheart, Cindy Lou. Joe quickly succumbs to Carmen’s charms , forsaking his Cindy Lou, thus beginning the tragic love story.

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Carmen Jones Movie Reviews

It’s not for everyone’s taste….

This is the story of a soldier, Joe (Harry Belafonte) and a fiery lady, Carmen (Dorothy Dandridge) and their unlikely relationship which begins with Joe trying to transport Carmen to the brig…and ends up with the pair falling in love.

If you are looking to see a classic opera translated into more modern times and with entirely new lyrics, then “Carmen Jones” is definitely for you. However, regardless of its all-black cast, this is clearly a film that is for very select folks! You hate opera well then the film will be a tough sell! As for me, I would have enjoyed the music OR the story. The total package didn’t hold my interest. But this does NOT mean the film is bad or poorly made…it’s not. It’s all a matter of personal taste.

Bizet’s tragic and passionate opera is updated and still maintains the opera’s passion, thanks to the wonderful music and a sexy Dorothy Dandridge

You may guess that I love Bizet’s opera Carmen, it is somewhat tragic but very passionate. While updated, this film directed wonderfully by the talented Otto Preminger is a wonderful contemporary version of the opera, still maintaining Bizet’s wonderful music and inspired lyrics from Oscar Hammerstein II. Whether it is the definitive film version of the opera I am not sure, I absolutely adore the 1984 film with Placido Domingo and Julia Mignes-Johnson. That aside, this film is really handsomely shot, with beautiful crisp cinematography and stunning scenery. And of course the music is outstanding “Dat’s Love”, “Dis Flower”, “Stan’ Up an’ Fight” and “Dere’s a Cafe on de Corner” really do stand out. The story is a beautiful, tragic, compelling one, not at all confusing. And the performances are marvellous, Dorothy Dandridge is superb as Carmen Jones. She is gorgeous, flirtatious and sexy, everything Carmen in the opera should be. Harry Belafonte does a great job as Joe, the man consumed for the passion of Carmen, so much so he is driven to murder. Olga James is heart breaking as Cindy-Lou, Pearl Bailey is a delightful Frankie, Joe Adams is a great Husky Miller and Brock Peters is effective as Sergeant Brown. I have heard complaints that the singing was awful, and I disagree completely. Marilyn Horne has a beautiful singing voice and she did well as Carmen. She has been better though, she has a much stronger voice than what was heard here. And LeeVern Hutcherson has a lovely tenor voice, quite lightweight and sensitive when it needs to be. And Marvin Hayes has a very resonant voice that is needed for his character. If the singing was a little quiet at times, do bear in mind sound and technology wasn’t as good then than it is now. My real complaint was that the lip-synching was a little behind the singing at times, but other than that, this is a great film. 9/10 Bethany Cox

A powerful display of Dandrige’s appeal…

Dorothy Dandrige’s roles went beyond that of sex symbol to being a parody of female sexuality… Carmen Jones is a powerful display of her appeal…

Based on Bizet’s operatic masterpiece, Otto Preminger’s film is the story of a GI about to go to flying school (Harry Belafonte), a noble young man who loves the cigarette-maker Carmen very dearly…

Filled with passionate songs and a first-rate supporting cast, the movie is filled with exciting musical numbers that are necessary to the film… But as impeccable and skillful the supporting cast is, this is Dandrige’s magnetic star of enduring international appeal… Her Carmen is a flame of fire, isolating in a few moments the essence of her attraction… Her enigma sustained throughout a career notable for its startling changes of tempo and direction…Her shapely figure, blazing eyes, with the air of the unexpected add up a touch of melancholy to even the most routine sequences… Her performance was a parable of love and its power to destroy if misused