Following the plot of the opera, “Carmen,” this story follows the wild gypsy’s adventures as a siren and bandit. Carmen lures an innocent soldier to his ruin, getting him expelled from the army. He then turns to banditry, killing Carmen’s husband and others. All this makes for an unhappy ending with the innocent repenting his sins and dying for them.
User Reviews: It may be Composer-Screenwriter-Author Helen Deutsh was too captivated by studying the work of "Carmen" librettists Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy.
Back in 1873 this leading team penned a text for Georges Bizet’s opera, "Carmen" that would support an ultimately legendary work. But times have changed.
Without Bizet’s intoxicating score, this tale (from an 1845 novella by Prosper Merimee) now plays like something freshly removed from mothballs: stiled dialogue, cardboard characters and benign dramaturgy make for quite tepid viewing.
True, it’s a great role for Rita, but she must utter quite cliched lines, while posturing with "Carmen mannerisms" with no real heart or soul. Mr. Ford also looks most uncomfortable as the naive novice soldier, and behaves as though he’s stuck with some stagnant contractual obligation at Columbia Pictures.
Only when Ms. Hayworth is given an opportunity to dance does she truly come to life. Here she can really show off her vitality and the fruits of her long-term choreographic labours.
So, we have here Bizet’s opera without Bizet’s music.
The production design and costuming are most colorful as everyone struggles valiantly to breathe life into the proceedings.
Deutsch probably should have glanced at the libretto and novella, then gone on to write an original script–which should was capable of doing, based on her record of a half dozen successful musical and dramatic screenplays she penned over the years.
The recently released DVD on Columbia Classics should bring pleasure to film buffs in general and fans of Hayworth (and Ford) in particular.