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Carmen Jones: The Original Funny Valentine

Shadow and Act By Abdul Ali | Shadow and Act February 14, 2013 at 2:55PM

Valentine’s Day means movies in heavy rotation with juicy romantic plots, but none come close to “Carmen Jones.”
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Carmen Jones

Valentine’s Day means movies in heavy rotation with juicy romantic plots, but none come close to “Carmen Jones.”

The 1954 musical film has a long lineage.

Otto Preminger’s adaptation of Oscar Hammerstein’s 1943 stage production was inspired by a French adaptation of the 19th-century novella “Carmen.” However, it’s Preminger’s cast -- Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Diahann Carroll, and Pearl Bailey -- that makes this version so memorable. Dandridge and Belafonte have remarkable chemistry; nearly 60 years later, it’s hard to think of another film that can hold a match to this portrayal of Black love (albeit the dysfunctional and murderous kind.)

This wartime story follows a classic love triangle chock full of jealousy, temptation and that achy-breaky old-timey love. Carmen, the ill-fated femme fatale who incites trouble wherever she goes, made Dandridge the first Black woman to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Lead Role. And Belafonte is Joe, the naïve soldier who aspires to pilot school... but becomes enthralled by the fiery Carmen.

Carmen Jones airs on XFINITY On Demand™. Here’s a little tease.

What’s your favorite film featuring Black love?

Editor’s Note: Throughout Black History Month and beyond, Shadow and Act will partner with XFINITY to celebrate Black entertainment. XFINITY is creating a unique digital community built around the love of Black entertainment at xfinity.com/celebrateblacktv. Shadow and Act hopes to enrich this community and provide a launching pad for insightful discussion. Look to Shadow and Act for features and content examining and exploring key themes and topics that run throughout the history of Black entertainment.

This article is related to: Xfinity Celebrate Black TV


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