By Jorge Camara
The winner of the Golden Globe for the Best Comedy/Musical Picture of 1954 was Carmen Jones. The film, an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was an adaptation of Georges Bizet’s famous opera “Carmen,” respected the music, but used a script and new English lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein of Rodgers & Hammerstein musical fame.
Although the basic plot of the opera remained the same, there were drastic changes in the adaptation. Instead of Spain, the story takes place in the American South; the Spaniards become African-Americans; Carmen no longer works in a cigarette factory but in a Korean War parachute factory; the tavern is now a nightclub; and the famed bullfighter is a celebrated boxer.
Dorothy Dandridge, considered at the time (with Lena Horne) the most beautiful African-American actress in Hollywood, had the title role (along with an ill-fated love affair with the director, Otto Preminger). Her voice, though, was dubbed by Marilyn Horne. Harry Belafonte, as the soldier she seduces and then drops, was dubbed by LeVern Hutcherson. Other stars in the cast: Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll, and Brock Peters.
The picture was very well received by critics and the public, but Dandridge had the bad fortune of competing that year with Judy Garland, who deservedly won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy for A Star is Born. It is worth noting that Dandridge was nominated for an Oscar for this performance, the first black actress so honored in the category of Best Actress.
|20th April 2011,|