Carmen (1915) DVD

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Carmen 91915)


 Cecil B. DeMille


 Prosper Mérimée (novel), William C. de Mille (photoplay)


 Geraldine Farrar, Wallace Reid, Pedro de Cordoba, Horace B. Carpenter, William Elmer, Jeanie Macpherson
The Paramount version of Carmen had Cecil B. DeMille directing, prima donna Geraldine Farrar in her film debut, recreating a role she had already excelled at on stage -- and, as a bonus, the handsome Wallace Reid as Carmen's lover, Don Jose. How could the Fox version starring Theda Bara (which was released the same week) compete? Because of its star, DeMille's Carmen stuck closer to the Bizet opera than to the Prosper Merimee novel -- after a nasty fight with another girl at the cigarette factory, Carmen is handed over to officer Don Jose. But he falls in love with her and she convinces him to let her go. She runs off with a band of Gypsies, followed by Don Jose, who has been disgraced. But Carmen couldn't care less -- she finds a new lover in matador Escamillo (Pedro deCordoba). In a fit of jealous passion, Don Jose fatally stabs the unrepentant Carmen at the bullring. Farrar was a natural in front of the camera and with this picture, she made a broad leap from opera star to film star. Both this film and Fox's Carmen received glowing reviews, but the overall consensus was that Farrar's performance beat out Bara's.

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