Prosper Mérimée's fine old tale of high passions and low morals gets re-upholstered Hollywood-style in Preminger's all-black musical. The cigarette-maker with a rose instead of a fag between her teeth is transformed into Dandridge's parachute factory worker, whose romance with GI Joe (Belafonte) is interrupted by Harlem's equivalent of the toreador - a boxer. Given such a lushly familiar score as Bizet's, the dis, dats and deys with which Oscar Hammerstein liberally sprinkles his lyrics seem oddly fey, even when handled by the competent voices of Marilyn Horne and Laverne Hutchinson. The somewhat heavy-handed direction and the ultimately two-dimensional characters leave you admiring the workmanship without plucking at the necessary emotional/romantic heart-strings.
Friday February 2 2007
Cast and crew