On 26th September, the musical Carmen Jones will be released on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK as part of Black Star, the BFI’s blockbuster project of film and television screenings, special events, and DVD/Blu-ray/VoD releases, all dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors.
This 1954 film by Otto Preminger (Laura, Anatomy of a Murder) was rightly hailed as a milestone in musical cinema. Dorothy Dandridge, whose vibrant performance resulted in the first Oscar nomination for an African American actress in a leading role, lights up the screen as the beautiful temptress.
With an all-black cast, this critically acclaimed version of 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 Technicolor.
In one of the sexiest performances ever seen on the big screen, Carmen Jones seduces the handsome GI Joe (Harry Belafonte) away from his sweetheart Cindy Lou (Olga James), but after she tires of him and takes up with heavyweight prize-fighter Husky Miller (Joe Adams), she only succeeds in triggering Joe’s tragic revenge.
Carmen Jones makes its UK Blu-ray debut on 26th September 2016 by the BFI as part of its Black Star project at the RRP of £19.99.
Karen Alexander on Carmen Jones (2016, 8 mins): a newly filmed appreciation
New audio commentary by Adrian Martin
The Guardian Lecture: Harry Belafonte interviewed at the National Film Theatre (1996, 105 mins)
Stills and posters gallery
Original theatrical trailer
Illustrated booklet with new writing by Chris Fujiwara and full film credits