Carmen Jones- All Black Musical

Carmen Jones (1954) was the first All Black Musical released by a major studio. It was based on Bizet’s opera Carmen  It was directed by Otto Preminger and starred Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte. There was controversy surrounding the film because Carmen Jones represented the Jezebel Stereotype of Black women, however after the NAACP approved and Dorothy Dandridge agreed to the movie, it went to the big screen.

Dorothy Dandridge received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of Carmen. She didn’t win, but she was the first Black actress to ever be nomainted for the category of Best Actress. In the film Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, Halle Berry portrays Dorothy Dandridge (one of Halle’s best films). Years later, Halle Berry would be the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Monster’s Ball.

Here is a clip of the movie, Pearl Bailey sings:

Beautiful Vintage Black Women

8 thoughts on “Carmen Jones- All Black Musical”

  1. I absolutely love this movie and am looking to add it to my movie collection. A great movie, even if you are not big on musicals this one is worth a watch.


  2. Major studio? I don’t know. But before there were major studios, just when talkies were getting started, there was a full length musical movie with an all black cast AND CREW! I’ve seen the movie, but I don’t remember the name of it. I’m dying to get my hands on a copy. It has some of the best basso profundo singing in existence.


      1. Hmmm That sounds about right. I’ll give that my usual massive google search (I love to play with google) and then ask for it for christmas. Thanks!


      2. Well, I did some research and found that it’s almost impossible to find out about black productions! Hallelujah isn’t the one I’m looking for. It doesn’t have the right plot. It must have had a white production staff.

        The movie I’m interested in is a child’s view of heaven. It has been several years since I last saw it so my details are very sketchy. There are clouds and angels and heavenly choirs; an old man with a white beard. Some second hand information I just got says that it played sometime in the thirties. Probably not one of the major studios.

        If you could even give me some key word I should try I would be happier than Santa on Dec. 26th!


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