Carmen Jones
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In 1943, Oscar Hammerstein Jr. took Georges Bizet's opera Carmen, rewrote the lyrics, changed the characters from 19th century Spaniards to World War II-era African-Americans, switched the locale to a Southern military base, and the result was Carmen Jones. Dorothy Dandridge stars as Carmen Jones, tempestuous employee of a parachute factory. Harry Belafonte plays Joe (originally Josť), a young military officer engaged to marry virginal Cindy Lou (Olga James). When Carmen gets into a fight with another girl, she is placed under arrest and put in Joe's charge. Succumbing to her… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Otto Preminger has transferred it to the screen with taste and imagination in an opulent production."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"A crazy mixed-up film."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"A film in which talented, attractive people sing ugly lyrics to beautiful music in other people's beautiful voices amid ugly shot framing and ill-timed cutting."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"The best reason to revisit Carmen Jones lies in Dorothy Dandridge's electrifying performance, which saw her become the first African-American to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar."
‑ Tom Dawson,
"Slinking through director Preminger's CinemaScope widescreen in slit skirts and tight blouses, Dandridge is naturally carnal the way summer is naturally warm."
‑ Mark Bourne,
"Impeccably liberal in its time, the film has not aged gracefully, although Dorothy Dandridge's performance in the lead remains a testimony to a black cinema that might have been."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"If you're not a fan of opera, you probably won't care much for 'Carmen Jones,' despite some pretty solid acting and scenes that bring postwar America to life."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"Electric performance by Dorothy Dandridge as the sultry whorish Carmen Jones."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Every frame, you feel, is freighted with the tension imposed by the never-appearing white folks. It was, however, laudable in its desire to showcase the talents of African-American performers who were denied opportunities in Hollywood."
‑ Andrew Pulver, Guardian
"The results are certainly flawed, but rarely less than fascinating."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"The somewhat heavy-handed direction and the ultimately two-dimensional characters leave you admiring the workmanship without plucking at the necessary emotional/romantic heart-strings."
‑ , Time Out
"Dorothy Dandridge became the very first black woman to receive Best Actress Oscar nomination for Otto Preimger's audacious (for the early 1950s) all-black musical of the famous opera."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Preminger's heavy-handed adaptation of a Broadway triumph combines gorgeous music with risible lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II; the project is saved by a terrific cast."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Woefully miscast in places and extremely dubious in its portrayal of African-Americans but does boast an on-form Dorothy Dandridge."
‑ David Parkinson, Empire Magazine
"A truly dreadful film. Preminger can't be faulted for ambition, but for once, his execution is sorely lacking."
‑ , Film4
More reviews for Carmen Jones on Rotten Tomatoes