Prosper Merimee's 19th-century novel Carmen must hold some sort of record for film and stage adaptations. This 1949 version was lensed in Spain, where, of course, the story takes place. The story is as ever: Carmen, a sultry, sexy cigarette-factory worker, casts her seductive spell over Army officer Don Jose. Giving up his commission, his sweetheart and his honor for Carmen's sake, Don Jose is thrown into a homicidal frenzy when the promiscuous heroine throws him over for bullfighter Escamillo. It isn't all Carmen's fault, of course--after all, her fate has been predestined by a draw of the cards. Imperio Argentina plays the title role, with Rafael Riveres as the luckless Don Jose. Despite competition from Columbia's The Loves of Carmen (1948), this Spanish adaptation secured an American release--though the film had to be severely trimmed to conform with then-prevailing censorship standards.
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