Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
May 05
October 5, 1954
Carmen Redux

Otto Preminger’s Carmen Jones premiered on 5 October 1954, bringing Oscar Hammerstein II’s 1943 musical to the screen. Taking a cue from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Hammerstein turned Bizet’s classic opera of a lusty gypsy who seduces a hapless soldier into an African-American melodrama set in the modern South. Preminger cast the relatively unknown Dorothy Dandridge as his lead with Harry Belafonte as her GI beau. And while both Dandridge and Belafonte were accomplished singers, Marilyn Horne and Leverne Hutchinson were brought in to dub their voices to keep the sound more operatic. The film proved a commercial and critical success, with Dandridge becoming the first African-American nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. The film was a hit everywhere but France; a suit brought by Bizet’s estate against the film’s modernization of the score made it impossible to show Carmen Jones there until 1981.


More Flashbacks
Jerzy Skolimowski May 5, 1938
Jerzy Skolimowski born

A colleague of key Polish directors such as Andrej Wajda and Roman Polanski, Jerzy Skolimowski, who has directed over 20 films, never attained their level of fame, but his intriguing films have never lost their relevance.

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May 5, 1972
Frank Tashlin dies

Though director Frank Tashlin, who died on this day in 1972, was heralded as an important figure by the French New Wave directors who came through the Cahiers Du Cinema, in his home country he remains a relatively ignored figure.

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