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Film / Carmen Jones

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Adapted from the Broadway musical of the same name and released in 1954, this modern-dress, all-black version of Bizet's classic opera Carmen was directed by Otto Preminger and stars Pearl Bailey, Harry Belafonte, and Dorothy Dandridge as the sultry Carmen Jones.


Carmen Jones shows the following tropes:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Carmen cannot stand to be chased by anyone.
  • Betty and Veronica: Cindy Lou and Carmen fit this to a tee.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Cindy Lou is clad in sweet looking white and pink, while Carmen wears fiery reds and black.
  • Compensated Dating: This is how Carmen supports herself and Joe once he deserts.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Carmen is often portrayed this way in art and promotional photos.
  • Femme Fatale: Carmen drives men to murder.
  • The Hedonist: Carmen fully gives in to those tendencies when she learns that her days are counted.
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  • Hot Witch: Carmen reads cards and believes in spirits.
  • Man Eater In Love: Carmen attracts many, but gives of herself only to those she loves.
  • Madonna–Whore Complex: Implied to be the reason Carmen cannot get married. "You Talk Jus' Like My Maw" discusses how men tend to settle down with women who remind them of their mothers. Carmen refuses many men on screen, she cooks for Joe and waxes his shoes, but her independence places her in the "whore" side of the dichotomy. Her refusal to assimilate makes her unmarriable.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Carmen attempts this on Joe with Sergeant Brown, with unfortunate consequences.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Carmen abandons Joe when the cards predict her death, which leads to him killing her.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Although pursuing one she doesn't love is originally against Carmen's principles, Frankie and her friends pressure her to date Husky Miller for his money.
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  • Through His Stomach: Although Joe is already under Carmen's spell when she cooks him a meal.
  • Undying Loyalty: Cindy Lou returns to Joe regardless of his cheating and that he's a wanted deserter.
  • Wild Card: Carmen comes and goes as she wishes, and values freedom for everyone.

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