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The Loves of Carmen

The Loves of Carmen(1948)

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NOTES

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The film includes the following written prologue: "In the early 19th century, gypsies of Spain were a bitter and persecuted people who lived outside the law, scorning the standards of civilized society. Carmen was a product of that lawless and unhappy breed." Beckworth Pictures Corp., the company that produced this film, was owned by Rita Hayworth. The Loves of Carmen marked the first screen collaboration between Hayworth and her father, Eduardo Cansino, who worked as the associate choreographer on the film. According to a Columbia publicity item contained in the film's production files at the AMPAS Library, Cansino, a dance instructor who had coached his daughter since childhood, was a expert on Spanish folk dances. Hayworth's uncle, Jos Cansino, performed as a flamenco dancer in the film and her brother Vernon appeared as a soldier. Robert Sidney, the film's choreographer, was Hayworth's gypsy dancing partner in the flamenco sequence.
       Hollywood Reporter news items yield the following information about the production: A November 3, 1947 news item announced that Gar Moore, an Oklahoma born Italian stage and film star was being considered for the male lead. Just before the film went into production, screenwriter Helen Deutsch offered to buy back her original screenplay, according to a November 13, 1947 Hollywood Reporter news item. The film was shot on location at Lone Pine, CA and around Mt. Whitney, CA. Columbia publicity items add that the set representing the gypsy quarter in Seville was one of the largest built at the studio, covering two sound stages and standing 400 feet long. According to Columbia publicity, director Charles Vidor used a total of 1,226 bit and extra players for the fiesta dance sequence and asked that a whole new set of extras be called every day to assure that no one would appear in more than one sequence of the film. Vidor experimented with a new style of Technicolor photography that untilized low-key background lighting and a bright foreground to create a three-dimensional effect, according to a November 12, 1947 Hollywood Reporter news item. Hayworth, Vidor and Glenn Ford had previously worked together on the 1946 Columbia production Gilda. The Loves of Carmen was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Color Cinematography.
       According to a September 10, 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item, Marcello Girosi, who owned the American releasing rights to the 1946 French film Carmen starring Vivianne Romance, brought a plagiarism suit against Columbia and Beckworth, claiming that there were "twelve direct plagiarisms of action and characterization and bits taken from his picture and used in the Columbia version." The outcome of that suit is not known. In addition to Girosi's film, many other pictures have been based on or inspired by the story and opera of Carmen, including two 1913 three-reel versions, one with Marion Leonard, made by the Monopol Film Co., the other with Marguerite Snow, made by the Thanhouser Corp.; two 1915 film versions; a Fox Film production, directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Theda Bara; and a Jesse L. Lasky production, directed by Cecil B. De Mille and starring Geraldine Farrar, (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.0610 and F1.0611.) Other films inspired by the story of "Carmen" are the 1927 Fox Film Corp. Loves of Carmen, starring Dolores Del Rio and directed by Raoul Walsh (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.3270); the 1954 Twentieth Century-Fox production Carmen Jones, directed by Otto Preminger and starring Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte and a 1983 Spanish film entitled Carmen, directed by Carlos Saura.