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HISTORY

This film was shown to a select crowd in Hollywood in Aug 1915. Geraldine Farrar, who made her motion picture debut in the film (although Maria Rosa was shot earlier), appeared in the New York Metropolitan Opera's presentation of Georges Bizet's opera Carmen and requested that the public premiere of the film be held in her hometown of Boston. The film had its premiere at the Boston Symphony Hall on 1 Oct 1915 to a capacity crowd. This was the first time that a motion picture had been exhibited at the hall. A telephone connection was established between the hall and the Lasky studio in Hollywood, where Lasky and director DeMille listened to audience reaction as they screened the film simultaneously with the Boston screening.
       For the bullfight scene, an arena was built in Los Angeles under the supervision of the Los Angeles municipal building and amusement bureaus. Matadors from Mexico were used in these scenes, which were photographed by ten cameramen, according to a news item. Many celebrities, including a number of Paramount stars, appeared in the stands. The shooting was done with the cooperation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. According to a news item, pianist Melville Ellis was hired to play music during rehearsals and shooting of all scenes. The piano was transported to all locations on a truck.
       The film was re-released on 29 Sep 1918. According to modern sources, Cecil B. DeMille edited the film, in addition to directing and producing it. DeMille, in his autobiography, states that because the copyright owners of the opera Carmen ... More Less

This film was shown to a select crowd in Hollywood in Aug 1915. Geraldine Farrar, who made her motion picture debut in the film (although Maria Rosa was shot earlier), appeared in the New York Metropolitan Opera's presentation of Georges Bizet's opera Carmen and requested that the public premiere of the film be held in her hometown of Boston. The film had its premiere at the Boston Symphony Hall on 1 Oct 1915 to a capacity crowd. This was the first time that a motion picture had been exhibited at the hall. A telephone connection was established between the hall and the Lasky studio in Hollywood, where Lasky and director DeMille listened to audience reaction as they screened the film simultaneously with the Boston screening.
       For the bullfight scene, an arena was built in Los Angeles under the supervision of the Los Angeles municipal building and amusement bureaus. Matadors from Mexico were used in these scenes, which were photographed by ten cameramen, according to a news item. Many celebrities, including a number of Paramount stars, appeared in the stands. The shooting was done with the cooperation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. According to a news item, pianist Melville Ellis was hired to play music during rehearsals and shooting of all scenes. The piano was transported to all locations on a truck.
       The film was re-released on 29 Sep 1918. According to modern sources, Cecil B. DeMille edited the film, in addition to directing and producing it. DeMille, in his autobiography, states that because the copyright owners of the opera Carmen wanted too much money for the rights to base his film on it, he had his brother use the novel by Mérimée as his source.
       Many films have been taken from or inspired by the story and opera of Carmen , including two 1913 three reel versions, one with Marion Leonard made by the Monopol Film Co., the other with Marguerite Snow, made by the Thanhouser Corp.; a 1915 Fox Film Corp. production, directed by Raoul Walsh (see below); Charlie Chaplin's Burlesque on "Carmen," produced in 1915 by Essanay Film Mfg. Co. (see below); Gypsy Blood , directed in 1918 in Germany by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Pola Negri; Loves of Carmen , produced by Fox Film Corp. in 1927, directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Dolores del Rio (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.3270); The Loves of Carmen , produced by Columbia in 1948, directed by Charles Vidor and starring Rita Hayworth; Carmen Jones , produced by Fox in 1954, directed by Otto Preminger and starring Dorothy Dandridge; a 1983 film produced in Spain entitled Carmen , directed by Carlos Saura; a 1983 France/Switzerland production entitled Prenom Carmen , directed by Jean-Luc Godard; and Bizet's Carmen , a 1984 France/Italy production, directed by Francesco Rosi. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
4 Nov 1915.
---
Motog
21 Aug 15
p. 350
Motog
2 Oct 15
p. 667.
MPN
17 Jul 15
p. 97.
MPN
1 May 15
p. 66.
MPN
31 Jul 15
p. 52.
MPN
4 Sep 15
p. 40.
MPN
16 Oct 15
pp. 43-44.
MPN
13 Nov 15
pp. 84-85.
MPW
24 Jul 15
p. 660.
MPW
16 Oct 15
pp. 420-21, 471
MPW
23 Oct 15
pp. 602-03, 642
MPW
6 Nov 15
p. 1116.
MPW
12 Oct 18
p. 273, 278
New York Times
1 Nov 15
p. 11.
NYDM
6 Nov 15
p. 28.
Variety
5 Nov 15
p. 22.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Pres
by arrangement with Morris Gest
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
MUSIC
Mus accompaniment prepared under the supervision o
Mus accompaniment conducted by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novella Carmen by Prosper Mérimée in La revue des deux mondes (Paris, 15 Oct 1845).
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 November 1915
Copyright Claimant:
Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co.
Copyright Date:
4 October 1915
Copyright Number:
LU6539
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Don Jose, a new officer in a Spanish coastal city, refuses to take a bribe from smugglers who live in the mountains that would allow them to bring illegal goods into the city, Carmen, a tempestuous gypsy who lives with them, is sent to seduce Don Jose. She gets work in a tobacco factory and dances at night in a tavern, where Morales, an officer, and Escamillo, a toreador, unsuccessfully woo her. Don Jose becomes infatuated with Carmen and is enticed to leave his position by the wall, thus allowing the smugglers entrance. The next day, Carmen cuts Frasquita, a factory girl who loves Don Jose, during a fight and is arrested by Don Jose. After he allows her to stop at the tavern, the drunken Morales insults Don Jose, they fight, and Morales is killed. Carmen and Don Jose flee to the smugglers in the mountains. After Carmen, contending that she belongs to no man, leaves with Escamillo for Seville, Don Jose follows. At the arena gate during Escamillo's bullfight, Carmen tells Don Jose that they are through. He stabs her and she dies as the crowd cheers the victorious ... +


When Don Jose, a new officer in a Spanish coastal city, refuses to take a bribe from smugglers who live in the mountains that would allow them to bring illegal goods into the city, Carmen, a tempestuous gypsy who lives with them, is sent to seduce Don Jose. She gets work in a tobacco factory and dances at night in a tavern, where Morales, an officer, and Escamillo, a toreador, unsuccessfully woo her. Don Jose becomes infatuated with Carmen and is enticed to leave his position by the wall, thus allowing the smugglers entrance. The next day, Carmen cuts Frasquita, a factory girl who loves Don Jose, during a fight and is arrested by Don Jose. After he allows her to stop at the tavern, the drunken Morales insults Don Jose, they fight, and Morales is killed. Carmen and Don Jose flee to the smugglers in the mountains. After Carmen, contending that she belongs to no man, leaves with Escamillo for Seville, Don Jose follows. At the arena gate during Escamillo's bullfight, Carmen tells Don Jose that they are through. He stabs her and she dies as the crowd cheers the victorious Escamillo. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.