CARMEN JONES [1954 / 2016] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] A Wonderful Event in the History of Motion Picture Entertainment from 20th Century-Fox!
Dorothy Dandridge, whose vibrant performance resulted in the first Oscar® nomination for an African-American actress in a leading role, stars as the beautiful temptress Carmen Jones. In one of the sexiest performances ever seen on the big screen where she seduces the handsome GI Joe [Harry Belafonte] away from his sweetheart Cindy Lou [Olga James], but soon Carmen Jones tires of him and takes up with a heavyweight prize-fighter Husky Miller [Joe Adams], and temptress Carmen Jones only succeeds in triggering GI Joe’s tragic turn of events.
Upon its release, ‘CARMEN JONES’ was rightly hailed as a milestone in musical cinema. Boasting an all-black cast, including Pearl Bailey and Diahann Carroll. This critically acclaimed adaption of Georges Bizet's opera “Carmen” features an iconic soundtrack from Oscar Hammerstein II, including songs such as “Beat Out Dat Rhythm on a Drum” and was voluptuously shot in Cinemascope and Color by DeLuxe.
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 1954 New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Nominated: Best Film. Nominated: Best Director for Otto Preminger. 1955 Academy Awards®: Nominated: Best Actress in a Leading Role for Dorothy Dandridge. Nominated: Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture for Herschel Burke Gilbert. 1955 Golden Globes: Win: Best Motion Picture in a Comedy or Musical. Win: Most Promising Male Newcomer for Joe Adams. 1955 Berlin International Film Festival: Win: Bronze Berlin Bear for Otto Preminger. 1955 Cannes Film Festival: Nominated: Palme d'Or for Otto Preminger. 1955 Locarno International Film Festival: Win: Prize for Otto Preminger. 1955 Writers Guild of America: Nominated: WGA Award (Screen) for Best Written American Musical for Harry Kleiner. 1956 BAFTA Film Awards: Nominated: Best Film from any Source [USA]. Nominated: Best Foreign Actress for Dorothy Dandridge [USA].
FILM FACT No.2: The opening title sequence is the first film title sequence created by Saul Bass, and marked the beginning of Saul Bass's long professional relationship with Otto Preminger. Although Dandridge and Belafonte were singers, neither was capable of singing the operatic score, so Marilyn Horne and LeVern Hutcherson were hired to record their vocals, and soundtrack recording began on the 18th June, 1954. In 1992, ‘CARMEN JONES’ was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." The film had its world premiere at the Rivoli Theatre in New York City on the 28th October, 1954. The following February, it opened in London and Berlin, and in both cities it played for more than a year in exclusive first-run engagements. Because of a technicality in French copyright laws on order of the estate of composer George Bizet (who wrote the opera on which the film was based), the film was banned in France until 1981.
Cast: Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge, Pearl Bailey, Olga James, Joe Adams, Brock Peters, Roy Glenn, Nick Stewart, Diahann Carroll, LeVern Hutcherson (Joe voice), Marilyn Horne (Carmen Jones voice), Marvin Hayes (Husky Miller voice), Alvin Ailey (uncredited), DeForest Covan (uncredited), Joseph E. Crawford (Dink Franklin singing voice) (uncredited), Carmen De Lavallade (uncredited), Bernie Hamilton (uncredited), Margaret Lancaster (singing voice) (uncredited), Mauri Lynn (uncredited), Sam McDaniel (uncredited), Bernice Peterson (Myrt singing voice) (uncredited), Max Roach (uncredited), Carmencita Romero (uncredited), Archie Savage (uncredited), Madame Sul-Te-Wan (uncredited) and Rubin Wilson (uncredited)
Director: Otto Preminger
Producer: Otto Preminger
Screenplay: Oscar Hammerstein II (book), Harry Kleiner (screenplay) and Prosper Mérimée (novel) (uncredited)
Composers: Georges Bizet / Oscar Hammerstein II
Cinematography: Sam Leavitt, A.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p [Color by DeLuxe]
Aspect Ratio: [2.55:1] (CinemaScope)
Audio: English: 2.0 L PCM Stereo Audio
English: 4.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 104 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox / BFI [British Film Institute]
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: ‘CARMEN JONES’  was a rarity for Hollywood: a mainstream film with an all-African American cast. It had been done only a few times before, notably ‘Hallelujah’ , ‘Cabin in the Sky’  and ‘Stormy Weather’ . None of these had been a box-office success, so it isn't surprising that director Otto Preminger had so much trouble securing financing to make the film. Just coming off United Artists ‘The Moon Is Blue’ , Otto Preminger approached United Artists executives Arthur Krim and Robert Benjamin with the idea of adapting the stage show “Carmen Jones” that Billy Rose had done in the 1943 Broadway production, still using the original music from Georges Bizet's opera “Carmen” but with a new libretto and United Artists didn't think it would be commercially viable. Otto Preminger later wrote, "I could do anything else I liked for them but not this. I soon discovered that most other companies would not touch it either." While he was in post-production on the Marilyn Monroe film ‘River of No Return’  at Twentieth Century Fox, production head Darryl F. Zanuck asked Otto Preminger to let him read his ‘CARMEN JONES’ script. Two days later, Darryl F. Zanuck committed 20th Century Fox to the project and secured an $800,000 budget.
As far as an all-black musicals are concerned, 20th Century Fox's 1954 production of ‘CARMEN JONES’ is a towering achievement and with this adaptation of Georges Bizet's classic opera "Carmen" and producer-director Otto Preminger guided actress Dorothy Dandridge to a sizzling, sultry performance that made her the first African-American actor to receive an Academy Award® nomination for a leading role. ‘CARMEN JONES’ is a retelling of Georges Bizet's opera about an independent woman who lives by her own rules and discards men when she grows tired of them. The characters were changed from Europeans to African-Americans on an Army base in the Deep South. Otto Preminger admitted, "This was really a fantasy, as was “Porgy and Bess,” the all-black world shown in these films doesn't exist, at least not in the United States and we used the musical-fantasy quality to convey something of the needs and aspirations of colored people."
Otto Preminger had a huge challenge in making an opera type film and even one that had a successful run on Broadway, appealing to mainly a mainstream audience. Otto Preminger did a great job of making the music and dialogue flow organically into each other and he also did all right in enhancing the story's dramatic tension and gritty settings. At the time, no major studio had attempted an all-black musical since 1943's ‘Stormy Weather’ and ‘Cabin in the Sky’ and yet those films actually hold up even better today, since their scores held some authenticity in drawing from jazz and rhythm & blues.
‘CARMEN JONES’ benefits from having a cast of professional black-actors giving their best performances and of course Dorothy Dandridge oozes with charisma as the destructive vixen Carmen Jones, opposite a confident Harry Belafonte as GI Joe, the soldier who gets caught up in Carmen Jones wanton ways. At the start of the film we find ourselves at the North Carolina Army base during World War II, where GI Joe is assigned to deliver hellcat Carmen Jones to the authorities for fighting with a co-worker at the parachute factory where she works. On route, however, Carmen Jones persuades GI Joe to stay at her grandmother's place and she escapes after seducing him. After getting punished, GI Joe eventually catches up with Carmen Jones at a nightclub where she parties with her friends Frankie [Pearl Bailey] and Myrt [Diahann Carroll]. After arrogant boxing champ Husky Miller [Joe Adams] offers to take Carmen Jones and her friends to Chicago, an altercation between Joe and his superior officer forces the couple to hightail it to the Windy City. Joe is now a fugitive in hiding and shackled to a manipulative shrew, but will his true-blue girlfriend, Cindy Lou [Olga James], arrive in time to hopefully set him straight?
Otto Preminger likely had the best intentions in mind for the film ‘CARMEN JONES,’ but his decision to place the story in an earthy, contemporary milieu makes it an earnest, straightforward but strangely the most adventurous segment here is the opening credits sequence, the first of many times, where Otto Preminger enlisted the help of legendary designer Saul Bass. ‘Carmen Jones’ is well-crafted and entertaining, yet Otto Preminger's efforts to make it "real" sadly had the dubbing of Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte voices, both talented performers who could actually sing, although not in an operatic style. Despite the concessions, it was a huge step forward for African-American visibility and their black culture.
The best reason to revisit ‘CARMEN JONES’ is because of Dorothy Dandridge's electrifying performance, which saw her, become the first African-American to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. In a series of strikingly coloured outfits, she brings a sensual physicality to the role, and Harry Belafonte too impresses in conveying how the initially level-headed GI Joe becomes morbidly jealous of the proudly defiant Carmen Jones, who refuses to conform to society's expectations of female behaviour. The rich colours, the excellent casting, the boldness of the production all converge to make a compelling, beautiful film in bright 1950s melodrama.
The operatic origins are well respected insofar as the plot goes and you could easily transpose this back to the original opera without much effort. The story of ‘CARMEN JONES’ plays out here with more sympathy and understanding for the title character than other adaptations I've seen; there is a respect for her freedom here. Carmon Jones leads GI Joe down a dark path, but I did not come away thinking that she was a simple, reductive femme fatale. It broke boundaries by existing, and though it's not perfect, the depiction of a powerful, sexually liberated woman was not typical of the era in the 1950s.
The film ‘CARMEN JONES’ is actually a really enjoyable and unique wonderful experience. The performers largely overcome the limitations of their simplistic roles, as well as the decent lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II. For instance, Pearl Bailey gets to perform a very lively number that well showcases her sassy voice, with the song title "Beat Out Dat Rhythm on a Drum." Sweet-voiced yet underused Olga James also belts out a fantastic song in which she pleads for GI Joe's safe return. The musical arrangements are beautifully done, and the dubbing is well-performed by vocalists Marilyn Horne and LeVern Hutcherson, both white. To some, especially the critics saying it was a flawed film, but despite the negativity the film was very successful box office hit with the public and enough for Otto Preminger and most of the cast to reunite in 1959 for the George Gershwin adaptation of ‘Porgy and Bess,’ but although legal entanglements ensued, it has kept that film under lock-and-key for decades.
Otto Preminger did indeed get good performances from his actors and especially from Dorothy Dandridge in particular. When the film was premiered on 5th October, 1954, her portrayal of Carmen Jones made her an overnight sensation with the public and both the black-and-white press. Not only was Dorothy Dandridge the first African-American actress to be ranked among the world's top beauties, but again Dorothy Dandridge was also the first African-American to be nominated as Best Actress by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and deservedly so.
CARMEN JONES MUSIC TRACK LIST
SEND THEM ALONG (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by the Chorus]
SEND THEM ALONG (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by the Chorus]
DAT'S LOVE (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet “Habanera”) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Dorothy Dandridge] (partially dubbed by Marilyn Horne)
YOU TALK JUS' LIKE MY MAW (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Harry Belafonte] (dubbed by LeVern Hutcherson) and Olga James
YOU GO FOR ME (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Dorothy Dandridge] (dubbed by Marilyn Horne)
CARMEN JONES IS GOIN' TO JAIL (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by the Chorus]
DERE'S A CAFE ON DE CORNER ME (Based on "Séguedille") (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Dorothy Dandridge] (dubbed by Marilynn Horne)
DIS FLOWER (Based on "Flower Song") (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Harry Belafonte] [dubbed by LeVern Hutcherson]
BEAT OUT DAT RHYTHM ON A DRUM (Based on "Gypsy Song") (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Pearl Bailey]
STAN' UP AN' FIGHT (Based on "Toreador Song") (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Joe Adams] (dubbed by Marvin Hayes) and reprised by chorus in fight scene.
WHIZZIN' AWAY ALONG DE TRACK (Based on "Quintet") (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Dorothy Dandridge (dubbed by Marilyn Horne), Nick Stewart (dubbed by Joseph E. Crawford), Diahann Carroll (dubbed by Bernice Peterson), Roy Glenn (dubbed by Brock Peters) and Pearl Bailey]
THERE'S A MAN I'M CRAZY FOR (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Dorothy Dandridge] (dubbed by Marilyn Horne)
CARD SONG (Based on "Card Song" from Act 3 of the opera) (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Dorothy Dandridge] (dubbed by Marilyn Horne), Pearl Bailey and Chorus]
MY JOE (Based on aria "Micaëla's Air" from Act 3 of the opera) (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Olga James]
HE GOT HIS SELF ANOTHER WOMAN (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Olga James]
FINAL DUET (Based on "Duet and Final Chorus") (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Harry Belafonte] (dubbed by LeVern Hutcherson) and Dorothy Dandridge (dubbed by Marilyn Horne)
STRING ME HIGH ON A TREE (Based on "Duet and Final Chorus") (uncredited) (Music by Georges Bizet) (Lyrics Oscar Hammerstein II) [Performed by Harry Belafonte] (dubbed by LeVern Hutcherson) and Dorothy Dandridge (dubbed by Marilyn Horne)
Blu-ray Image Quality – The British Film Institute has now brought us the ultimate ‘CARMEN JONES’ in a really wonderful 1080p encoded image that is totally is lush, and also naturalistic Color by DeLuxe photography, especially presenting the film in an equally impressive CinemaScope 2.55:1 aspect ratio format. The proportions have been well-preserved with this Blu-ray disc. The picture quality is really excellent with very few instances of aging, dust and fading and now for the first time we get the version once again in the vividness of Color by DeLuxe based process, used here as a warm and beautifully calibrated stunning image. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The British Film Institute has now pulled out all the stops and presents an audio extravaganza in two audio formats, which is 2.0 L PCM Stereo Audio and 4.0 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks that sports an appealing, full-bodied mix that puts the clear dialogue front and centre supplemented with atmospheric scoring which stands out without being intrusive. Out of the two audio soundtracks, but I definitely preferred the 4.0 DTS-HD Master Audio rack as I felt it was much more dynamic audio performance.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Theatrical Trailer  [1080i] [2.55:1] [2:47] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘CARMEN JONES,’ and is a brilliant presentation, especially when they tell you will hear great songs. Here is your Happiest Chance in Entertainment! In Love! In Laughs! In Music! In Dancing! In Entertainment! Otto Preminger Presents Oscar Hammerstein’s ‘CARMEN JONES’ in CinemaScope! Color by DeLuxe!
Special Feature: Karen Alexander on ‘CARMEN JONES’  [1080p] [1.78:1] [7:51] A newly filmed appreciation on ‘CARMEN JONES’ by curator and lecturer Karen Alexander in a private cinema. Here Curator and Lecturer Karen Alexander gives a good rather spoiler free talk about the film and its take on African-American culture yet how it went against basic stereotypes, the sexuality breaking boundaries, and the importance of Dorothy Dandridge’s Oscar nomination. Karen Alexander also talks about the all black actors that appeared in the film and feels it stands the test of time, and especially with the help of stars like Pearl Bailey, Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge and for Karen feels the film represents idea around black sexuality, around women’s liberation to be and who they wanted to be. Karen also thinks what is great about the film is the multiplicity of the black characters that you actually see in the film, and the making of a black community and black life. Also the black female character actors such as Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll and Dorothy Dandridge is very refreshing to see and observe and what is also refreshing to see that the character of Carmen Jones having a voice to be heard, by her girlfriends, but other people. Karen talks about Harry Belafonte appearance in the film was absolutely fantastic and looked every part a star in the film and especially the character he played. Karen also praises the director Otto Preminger for sending the screenplay to the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People for script approval. Karen says that much as I love the film of ‘CARMEN JONES’ is that it is interesting to see that Carmen Jones character plays a very loose woman who has a very active sexuality. But despite how far we have progressed, in the range and opportunity of black performers, but with the film ‘CARMEN JONES’ it really put the mark in the sand especially with Dorothy Dandridge, that paved her way to an Oscar nomination. But if we think where we are now, we can’t turn round and say there has been a multiplicity of starring roles of black women playing doctors, scientists and lawyers. But in the end they maybe bit parts, but there are central roles that very rarely goes to black actresses. But to me that is a very academic outlook and I suspect there will be other black women spokesperson who will disagree with her very narrow outlook and should get a life, and also do not be so pedantic.
Audio Commentary by Dr. Adrian Martin: This audio commentary is by Australian film and arts critic Dr. Adrian Martin has been newly created for this exclusive Blu-ray UK release. Dr. Adrian Martin admits that he is indeed a fan of the film and is here to give his praising comments but in fact also includes quotes and notes from critics who were not fans of the film to give both sides of the coin. The commentary is packed with great information including differences between the original opera and the film, The Saul Bass credit sequence being the first of many collaborations with Otto Preminger, the affair between Otto Preminger and Dorothy Dandridge, and a lot of background information on the film itself. As we get into the audio commentary Dr. Adrian Martin informs us that in 1992 The National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, selected the film ‘CARMEN JONES’ for preservation, along with its usual criteria of saying the film is “Culturally, Historically or Aesthetically Significant” and Dr. Adrian begs the question, which one of these criteria’s fits the film and especially with a film of this calibre, he would not have a problem in saying that the film fits all the criteria’s as mentioned and it is important for all of those reasons. Dr. Adams talks about the director Otto Preminger in wanting to make specifically a film that was drama with music, drama with song, and not a conventional Hollywood musical, nor did he want to do a straight opera, because he particularly picked this film project because he had seen the stage production of “Carmen Jones” in the 1943 Broadway musical that was produced by Billy Rose and of course the words and music was by Oscar Hammerstein II that also had an all-black cast. When we first see Dorothy Dandridge in the canteen, the American film critic Pauline Kael commented that the actress had a performance that she had “whiplash hips in a hot pink skirt” and Dr. Adrian feels this is quite a good description towards this actress. When ‘CARMEN JONES’ was first muted and even before filming started, there were massive objections towards the film, especially towards the director Otto Preminger, saying that having an all-black cast was pure fantasy, in a very bad sense, and especially in America in the 1950s period. But Otto Preminger’s autobiography entitled “Kissin’ the Breeze Goodbye” about the film ‘CARMEN JONES,’ Otto recalls: “I had decided to make a dramatic film with music rather than a conventional film musical.” Otto Preminger also defended his stance of showing a sort of Utopia society, especially with a positive stance, even thought it was directed by someone who was white. Dr. Adrian talks about the two leading actors being dubbed, especially Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge, because Otto Preminger wanted to move the material much closer to an operetta aria in its musical style and much closer to Georges Bizet opera “Carmen,” than to Oscar Hammerstein II “Carmen Jones” stage production, and of course the singers who were dubbed for the actors were white, which we really have a bizarre twist with this film, especially dubbing black actors. Another problem that arose out of making the film, is that when they did the stage version of “Carmen Jones” in 1943, the estate of Georges Bizet objected having an all-black cast, because they thought it was vulgar and cheapened the operetta aria in being set in the modern setting and at one point they tried to start a court case, and especially in France in 1981, the film ‘CARMEN JONES’ finally got to be shown, because the French were not going to be dictated by the Georges Bizet estate. It was pointed out that the character of Carmen Jones by the critics, that we are very far from a fem fatale character, where instead the character of Carmen Jones has a sincere commitment towards the man she loves, even though Carmen Jones hates being dictated to. In the 1940s, they could have had her character as manipulative, but instead Carmen Jones has a sincere commitment towards the man she loves, even though she hates being dictated to. But overall, it is said that the film is all about obsession and desire, especially with GI Joe being totally besotted for Carmen Jones that of course leads to his eventual downfall and especially for both characters at the very end of the film. Dr. Adrian talks about how Dorothy Dandridge career didn’t really flourish, also about the short lived affair she had with Otto Preminger, who eventually went back to his wife. Also the only other significant film Dorothy Dandridge appeared in was ‘Porgy and Bess’  which again was an American musical film directed by Otto Preminger and was also based on the 1935 opera “Porgy and Bess” by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, and Ira Gershwin and also starred Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr., Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll and Nichelle Nichols, but sadly it was not a great success, because critics felt it was a very flat film. As we get to the penultimate end of the film where the military police arrest GI Joe after killing Carmen Jones, the music that is played was entitled “String me High On A Tree,” which I suppose is very prophetic in one sense, and of course Otto Preminger ends the film with the everlasting flame, engulfing the red rose, which we of course saw at the start of the film that was produced by the geniuses that was Saul Bass. And so ends this audio commentary by Dr. Adrian Martin, which at times was quite interesting titbits and especially the fact that was Max Roach was an American jazz percussionist, drummer, and composer, who you see drumming in the nightclub scene with Pearl Bailey singing, but other times the information we hear became slightly boring. Anyway, it is entirely up to the viewer if you wish to participate in the audio commentary, which of course is a massive bonus over the American Blu-ray release that only had as the extra the Original Theatrical Trailer. So all in all the BFI [British Film Institute] have done us proud with all the other bonus extras and produced a beautiful presentation all round.
Special Feature: The Guardian Interview: Harry Belafonte At The National Film Theatre  [1080i] [1.37:1] [68:46] Here we see Harry Belafonte talk about his long career in film and music, and his political activism in this far-reaching interview conducted by the then Guardian editor, Peter Preston. Filmed at the National Film Theatre on the 21st November, 1996 and has been newly edited from Standard Definition video materials preserved by the BFI National Archive. This lengthy on stage interview from 1996 with Harry Belafonte is moderated by Peter Preston, giving a full overview of Belafonte’s life and career. Harry Belafonte talks about the restricted environment in the early days for blacks appearing on film, his own early career where he had to decide whether he want to pursue a career as a singer or actor, his friendship/rivalry with Sidney Poitier, and his stance on civil rights activism and politics and was always more interested in an acting career in the theatre than in music. Harry Belafonte also talks about the style of acting that has changed over the years and he especially feels it is all down to the influence of Italian cinema, and also the emergence of the actor Marlon Brando who he studied with and was also about the time in his acting career when other actors emerged like Walter Matthau, Rod Steiger, Bea Arthur, Tony Franchise and Tony Curtis. Also at the time there were only white writers who only wrote that was not our black rhythm and our language, and Harry Belafonte admired and often looked at the films from France, films from England and the Italian films with great envy, because those films resonated with a much deeper truth, than Black Americans experienced. Harry Belafonte talks about Hollywood and the games they would play, especially when it comes to yielding a profit and doesn’t care morally or immorally and many of us that play the game with Hollywood got to become very aggressive and how we deal with their demands and the kind of position they place us in. When I am in Hollywood they tend to greet me warmly and put ideas towards me in making a film, and the two thinks they hark about is making films like the 1990s or urban America, which usually means city life, especially with confrontational aspects of life and that automatically tells you that they have no room for your history, they have no room for your poetry, they have no great room for the great novels written be several great writers, especially black authors and all of us are relegated to a no man’s land and never never land and rarely do you get a director like Robert Altman who would do a film set in the 1930s and about the era of jazz, the community and what happened in that era and definitely showing another dimension of black society. The audience later get to ask questions directly, but because no one in the audience is handed microphones it is incredibly hard to hear their questions. Since BFI has not provided subtitles, you’ll have to turn it up loud or just try to guess the question through context of the answers. So all in all this was a brilliant session and well worth viewing, as Harry Belafonte is someone I could have listened to for ages, as he is a totally fascinating and intelligent person.
Special Feature: Stills and Posters Gallery  [1080p] [1.78:1] [1:27] This is a newly edited gallery that presents original stills and printed materials relating to the film ‘CARMEN JONES.’ This special feature was newly produced by the BFI National Archive. There are black-and-white and colour stills and an original poster in this gallery which is accompanied by the opening overture of “Carmen” and easily one of the most recognisable classic music compositions the world has ever known.
BONUS: Beautiful designed illustrated 14 page booklet with new writing by Chris Fujiwara entitled THE CONTRADICTIONS OF CARMEN JONES and who use to be the artistic director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Plus with this brilliant booklet you also have the following items: CARMEN JONES Credits and Cast List. SPECIAL FEATURES Listings: KAREN ALLEXANDER ON CARMEN JONES. THE GUARDIAN INTERVIES: HARRY BELAFONTE AT THE NATIONAL FILM THEATRE. AUDIO COMMENTARY Y ADRIAN MARTIN. STILLS AND POSTERS GALLERY. ABOUT THE PRESENTATIONS. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.
Finally, ‘CARMEN JONES,’ unites the ultimate adventurous producer/director Otto Preminger with this brilliant African-American sex symbol Dorothy Dandridge in a torrid story that brings Bizet's “Carmen” up-to-date. Sure, the opera-meets-black-culture concept has to some critics not aged as well as other ambitious projects of the era, but I actually disagree as I think everyone should see this film at least once for sheer historic value and the brilliant Blu-ray packaging. The 20th Century Fox and BFI release sports a totally stunning excellent picture and sound. Despite some nasty critics originally giving this a definite negative thumbs down reception, whereas overall I have always loved this film, as the characters really come alive and especially bringing it up-to-date for the 21st Century. I thought all the actors were totally superb and made Bizet's concept come alive for a modern audience in bringing out the best in Bizet's music that I would rather watch, than the actual opera, as it makes it so much more appealing for a modern audience and now I have it in the ultimate exclusive UK Release Blu-ray format and it is the ultimate version that has been achieve via the very professional British Film Institute that has been available in bringing out this ultimate Blu-ray format visual and audio presentation. Considering that the BFI Blu-ray/DVD release of ‘CARMEN JONES’ from years back only had a trailer and text biographies as extras, this new release is a massive huge leapt forward, especially in the extras department. The 20th Century Fox Blu-ray editions from the USA and Japan only had the theatrical trailer as an extra, so making the BFI Blu-ray miles ahead in the bonus features department. BFI has done a great job especially with the extras. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso