Film Legends Of Yesteryear (2021): Rita Hayworth in… The Loves Of Carmen (1948)

It’s June 17, which means that it’s time for another entry of “Film Legends Of Yesteryear” featuring actress Rita Hayworth!  This time, it’s her 1948 film The Loves Of Carmen, also starring Glenn Ford!

Coming Up Shorts! with… Super Pink (1966)

(available on Blu-ray and DVD as part of The Pink Panther Cartoon Collection: Volume 2 (1966-1968) from Kino Lorber)

(Length: 5 minutes, 58 seconds)

After reading a superhero comic, the Pink Panther tries to be a superhero himself!  This is a fun one, as the Panther repeatedly attempts to help an old lady.  His intentions are there, but the way he does things is rather stupid (which is what makes this cartoon so funny).  The ending is particularly fun (and one that you wouldn’t see coming)!  I like this one, and find it worth returning to every now and then!

And Now For The Main Feature…

Upon arriving in Seville, young Spanish soldier Don José Lizarabengoa (Glenn Ford) explores the city.  He meets Carmen (Rita Hayworth), a beautiful gypsy woman, who ends up stealing his watch.  In spite of that, he falls for her (which is the start of a lot of trouble for him).  She soon gets in a fight with another woman, and he is forced to arrest her.  However, she manages to get away, and he fakes an injury to keep the other soldiers from going after her.  This angers his Colonel (Arnold Moss), who demotes him, puts him on guard duty, and confines him to barracks.  Of course, the Colonel also falls for her, but she invites José to her quarters.  Carmen is warned by a fortune teller that she will be killed by a man that truly loves her, which gives her a slight pause.  However, she still believes in doing what she wants to do, and keeps the date with José.  They run into trouble when the Colonel also arrives, and decides to duel with José to teach him a lesson.  The Colonel has poor luck, though, as Carmen trips him, causing him to fall on José’s sword and die instantly.  So, now José and Carmen are on the run.  They are joined in the desert by a band of thieving men that includes Garcia (Victor Jory), her husband.  The sparks of jealousy are ignited, eventually resulting in a fight between Garcia and José, with José again emerging victorious (although this time it is no accident).  So, now José is the leader of this band of thieves, and grows more and more jealous of Carmen as she continues to do what she wants (even after they are married).  Will José’s jealousy get the better of him (thus ensuring the fortune teller’s prophecy), or will Carmen be able to change her ways?

The Loves Of Carmen, which was based on the novella Carmen by Prosper Mérimée, was actually one of several films suggested by Orson Welles as a film for his then-wife, Rita Hayworth, but he ended up not handling it himself.  Columbia studio boss Harry Cohn decided to return to the idea, though, after Welles and Hayworth broke up.  After the failure of The Lady From Shanghai at the box office, Harry Cohn wanted to put together a big hit, preferably in something similar to Gilda.  While Harry Cohn had others in mind for the role of Don José, Rita Hayworth made a big push to have her Gilda co-star Glenn Ford cast, and have Gilda director Charles Vidor return as well (and, since it was to be done by her production company, Beckworth, she was able to get her way on that).  Some of her family was also involved, from her father Eduardo Cansino (assistant choreographer) to her brother (a soldier) and her uncle (flamenco dancer).  The film proved to be a success with audiences, and Harry Cohn had plans to cast her in Born Yesterday.  Those plans were upset when, during a much-needed vacation after filming wrapped, Rita met her next husband, Prince Aly Khan, and she ended up staying offscreen for a few years.

This is another movie that I’m coming off my first viewing of, and I will admit, my feelings are slightly mixed.  Mostly, I do like this movie.  I think the cast is fun, with the chemistry between Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford still evident.  I will admit, though, that I think the plot is a bit weaker, with the particular sore point being Glenn Ford’s character essentially becoming the leader of the group of thieves when Victor Jory’s Garcia dies. To me, it feels like there is no indication beforehand that that would even be likely, since I get the impression that he feels like an outsider in that group.  And while I’m thrilled to see Rita do some more dancing, I don’t particularly care for how her first dance is filmed, with barely anything seen.  I know it’s more or less being shown from the viewpoint of Glenn Ford’s character, who can’t really see it either, but, it’s Rita Hayworth!  We want to see her dance!  To a degree, you can see the ending coming ahead of time (not helped by the fortune-telling with the cards, and a few other things).  Again, I do very much enjoy this movie, and these are the only points I have against it.  Even with this film’s limitations, I would definitely say that this movie is well worth seeing (just don’t go comparing it against the far superior Gilda)!

What’s Old Is A New Release Again (2020) with… The Loves Of Carmen (1948)

This movie is available on Blu-ray as part of the twelve film Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate Collection from Mill Creek Entertainment.  Another film from this set originally done in Technicolor, and this one actually looks the best to me so far.  The color shows up quite nicely, and the film has been well cleaned up of dirt and debris.  I don’t think I could ask for better on this one!

Film Length: 1 hour, 37 minutes

My Rating: 8/10

List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections

The Lady From Shanghai (1948) – Rita Hayworth – Affair In Trinidad (1952)

Glenn Ford – Affair In Trinidad (1952)

The Lady From Shanghai (1948)Rita Hayworth: The Ultimate CollectionAffair In Trinidad (1952)

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