Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
February 08
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.


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The Virgin Spring February 8, 1960
The Virgin Spring opens in Sweden

In Sweden on this day in 1960, audiences got to see Ingmar Bergman’s provocative religious parable The Virgin Spring for the first time.

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James Dean February 8, 1931
James Dean born

James Dean was born on February 8, 1931. The son of an Indiana dental technician, Dean’s first acting job was in a Pepsi commercial followed by bit parts on TV game shows and dramas.

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Planet of the Apes February 8, 1968
Planet of the Apes released

Planet of the Apes told the story of three astronauts who land on a planet populated by intelligent apes and where humans are considered the animals.

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