ri;a7;e1F;;;;;"-.-iy on Films CARMEN JONES ODEON, MARBLE ARCH: CERTIFICATE A DIRECTOR: O`ITO PREMINGER 0 SCA R Hammerstein, so brilliantly associated with Mr., Rogers in the must blies eessful musicals of the century " South Pacific," " The King and I " and others — has anticipated attacks from people who consider opera to he sacrosanct (among whom I number myself) by putting up a defence of this assault and battery on Georges Bizet's " Carmen."
Fitrsl. produced in 1943 as a stage show. the characters have been changed from Spaniards of the early 19th century to America's coloured folk during the second World War. Mr. Hammerstein has written his lyrics in the current idiom, but has kepi Bizet's music, so that the Habanero goes something like If I love you
Then you're taboo.
and the toreador's song: Stand up and fight Until you hear the hell.
Escamillo. the bullfighter. becomes a champion boxer; Carmen, a worker in a parachute factory. She sings the. Habancra while collecting her lunch in the self-service canteen. Jose becomes a U.S. corporal and after Carmen's fight with one of the girls, he takes her Olt to prison in a jeep.
In place of the gypsies and their romantic half-lit caves, the redcapped brigauds and the graceful Spanish shawls. we have garish cheap satins anti phoney diamonds. coloured girls drinking " doubles on rocks " (rye on ice), and somehow it becomes rather tawdry.
So, you see, the folk who will enjoy this roost are those who either haven't loved and grown up with the opera or who don't care about opera, anyway.
Having said so much, I must add that "Carmen Jones " is a gaudy, bright, slick entertainment with a quite sensational performance by Dorothy Danbrioge in the title role. Here is an actress who can convey allure, joy, fear with her remarkable eyes, and 1 dOubt if any operatic Carmen could better the drama of the number in which she sets death in the cards. (Mariynn Home's is the voice you hear).
couldn't wait to see Escamillol mean Husky Lee the boxer. In the person of Joe Adams he turns out to be a sort of dusky Clark Gable and every bit as exciting,
Dorothy Danbridge as Carmen Jones in the film "Carmen Jones" Harry Belafonte has the always thankless part of Jose (Joe) with Le Vern Hutcherson singing his Flower Song for him.
And what about poor little Micaela? She is sweetly played by a plain little girl called Olga James, and in her song I detected the only glaring liberty taken with the musical score.
Well, there you have "Carmen Jones-"—a brash, hybrid, showy piece which will shock some and delight others—all according.
Pearl Bailey gets one of Carmen's songs to sing and puts over the clever " broad " comedy performance which has made her prominent among coloured artistes.
The murder at the end is by strangultion—in full view of the camera—and neither so blood-chilling nor so cleanly dramatic as Don Jose's knife.
LILACS IN THE SPRING LONDON PAVILION: CERTIFICATE Li PRODUCER: HERBERT WILCOX PRESS-shown just too late to get into the Christmas review—and crowded out because of the annual review the following week. I don't want to omit all notice of this gentle British musical written around and for Anna Magic and adapted from the stage show.
Anna Neagle is what used in the old days to be called a trouper— than which there is no higher praise. She has a kind ot indostructible technigue and is as happy °close the cameras as she is behind the footights.
I think we all had a bit of a shock when we heard that the man chosen to play opposite her in the film was Errol Flynn. And yet he fits with ease into the London sceoe, in which the whole story is laid. And when you come to think of it, he, too, is a trouper to whom everything in the acting line seems to come naturally.
Miss Neagle, as an ENSA artist, is stunned by a 1/1. and while unconsicious dreams she is Nell Gwynn, Queen Victoria and her own mother (a famous musical comedy actress). In one of the episodes Errol Flynn is her father! And he is even allowed a comic crack about Burma.
CHARLES LAUGHTON'S is a
success story which no one would have dared to predict of the fat young man who had been educated at Stonyhurst and whom his parents tried to make into an hotelier.
People told him his looks were against him. But as everyone knows now. he succeeded in spite of them. In fact. he knew success earlier than most, and is now reputed to be in or at least very near the millionaire class.
Kurt Singer has told his story. using the several canvases of theatre film studio. recital hall and finally television. His last and, oddly enough. his most spectoculai success has been the Bible readings he has given up and down the !Jelled States and on TV—a project begun with completely altruistic motives and yet which proved one of the biggest money-spinners 01(11cm all
"The Charles Laughton Story." In Kurt Singer (Robert Hale, 15s.).
Three children from St. WuIstane School. Fleetwood, Lancs., took leading parts in an Epiphany servics held in the church on Sunda Dressed in Easlein type COSILDnes they took the part of the I hrec Kings, and carried gifts of gold. myrrh aud frankincense to the crib.