Cinema’s Legacy

CARMEN JONES

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  • Directed by the legendary Otto Preminger and adapted from a 1943 Broadway musical of the same name, CARMEN JONES stars Dorothy Dandridge in the title role that made her the first African-American woman to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar®. In this award-winning cinematic treasure, Dandridge plays an enchanting seductress who digs her heels into a handsome, soon-to-be-married soldier. Upon his refusal of her blatant advances, Carmen becomes that much more determined to ensnare him in her web and enlist his assistance in escaping mandatory jail time. When Joe finally succumbs to his urges, they flee to Chicago, where temporary bliss is jarringly interrupted by a new love interest leaving heartache and eventually murder in the wake of their doomed romance. An all-star cast led by Harry Belafonte with Pearl Bailey and Diahann Carroll round out this rousing tale of love gone awry, with mesmerizing performances and elaborately choreographed musical numbers. — Yvonne Williams

  • Austrian-American filmmaker Otto Preminger (1905–1986) made more than 35 films spanning a five-decade career. Many are considered classics across an array of genres: film noir LAURA (1944); courtroom procedural ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959); drug-addiction drama THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955); historical epic EXODUS (1960); and musical CARMEN JONES (1954). 

    Dorothy Dandridge (1922–1965) rose to prominence alongside her sister Vivian and jazz singer Etta Jones as part of the song-and-dance trio the Dandridge Sisters, before becoming a solo artist who starred in Hollywood musicals. With CARMEN JONES (1954), she became the first African-American to receive an Academy Award® nomination for Best Actress.

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