16.7 C
New York
Monday, November 30, 2020
Advertisement

Carmen Jones Blu-ray Review

carmen-jones-blu-ray-coverU.S. Release

– –

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

title

Famed Hollywood director Otto Preminger stepped out of character for this 1954 cinematic adaptation of a play based on George Bizet’s immortal opera, Carmen. Carmen Jones tells the same story, more or less, but with an all Black cast, and sets and costumes updated to the World War II era. In spite of the fact that Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge and Diahann Carroll were all accomplished vocalists, their singing voices were considered inadequate for the demands of this score and were dubbed in by LeVern Hutcherson, Marilyn Horne, and Bernice Peterson, respectively. Those familiar with the original opera will note the updating of the characters’ names with the most hilarious being “Husky Miller,” a boxer, for the original “Escamillo,” a bullfighter.

carmen

Carmen Jones is a flirtatious factory worker who gets arrested for fighting with a fellow employee. Sergeant Brown (Brock Peters) asks Private Joe (Harry Belafonte) to escort her to jail. This displeases Cindy Lou (Olga James), Joe’s fiancee who has been visiting him. Joe drives Carmen to her grandmother’s house where he is seduced by this singing siren.  Later, Carmen takes off on her own, leaving Joe a love letter. Joe is sent to the stockade for letting Carmen escape.

husky

Carmen, now working in a Louisiana nightclub, meets Husky Miller (Joe Adams). Husky makes a play for her and her friends Frankie (Pearl Bailey) and Myrt (Diahann Carroll) but they decline his advances.  Suddenly, Joe arrives, fresh from the stockade, and tells Carmen that he has received orders for flight school. Carmen, unhappy at this news, decides to leave with Sergeant Brown. An enraged Joe nearly beats the sergeant to death and to avoid prison for striking a superior officer,  he and Carmen flee to Chicago.

five

In Chicago, Carmen visits Husky’s gym to get money from Frankie and Myrt. She returns to their crummy boarding house with groceries. Carmen and Joe argue about how she got the money, and Carmen goes to Husky’s hotel room. During a card game, she draws a card that foretells her unhappy fate. Later, Joe finds Carmen at Husky’s gym. During the boxing match, he makes a final plea for Carmen to leave with him but when she refuses, Joe strangles her.

kiss

Carmen Jones received mixed reviews on its release with a number of critics noting the obvious incongruities between Bizet’s original music, the revised and often campy lyrics, and the characters themselves. Nevertheless, there is some serious star power in the principal roles that keeps the proverbial ship from sinking altogether.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

olga

For a film that is verging on being 60 years old, the makeover is quite decent. There is noticeable residual grain and some softening of the visuals. The colors are quite good.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

card

The DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 remastering of what was available in both mono and 4-track stereo versions does a nice job with the solo voices and the studio orchestra, although off-center channel voices sound a bit canned. It is far better than the “Spanish” Dolby Digital 1.0 version that keeps the songs in English, but the dialogue in Spanish. There is some residual compression in the sound that was characteristic of this era’s recordings.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

flower

We get a short list of extras:

  • Original Theatrical Trailer: 3:00 (English Dolby Digital Stereo 48kHz/16b)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

choke

Although the dubbing is quite good, I found that hearing far different voices come from these well known singers to be problematic. As a product of its segregated times, Carmen Jones plays on racial stereotypes that some of today’s viewers might find offensive. Curious music lovers wanting to see this film may also come away disappointed by what Preminger’s direction and Hammerstein’s lyrics have done to Bizet’s masterpiece. The main, and for me, the only reason to see this film is Dandrige’s Oscar-nominated performance. She understands her character completely, gets into Carmen’s skin and becomes a steamy force of nature.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B00FL2F0KW[/amazon-product]

fight

joe

car

duet

[amazon-product]B00FL2F0KW[/amazon-product]

Advertisement

Related Articles

Popeye: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent release on Blu-ray of this long maligned but still fun to watch film.

The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy is arriving for the first time on 4K Ultra HD remastered in Dolby Vision and overseen by Peter...

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

301FansLike
0FollowersFollow
724FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

Popeye: 40th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent release on Blu-ray of this long maligned but still fun to watch film.

The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy is arriving for the first time on 4K Ultra HD remastered in Dolby Vision and overseen by Peter...

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

A stunning 4K Ultra HD restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy arrives.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.
%d bloggers like this: