Rita and Glenn Ford The Loves of Carmen

A Beckworth Corporation Production
Released by Columbia Pictures (1948)

Produced and Directed by Charles Vidor

Screenplay: Helen Deutsch,
from story, Carmen by Prosper Mérimée

Rita Hayworth as Carmen
Glenn Ford as Don José
Victor Jory as Garcia
Luther Adler as Dancairé
Arnold Moss as Colonel

Songs: by Morris Stoloff and Fred Karger:
"The Love of a Gypsy"

Miss Hayworth's song vocals: Anita Ellis
Dances staged by Robert Sidney and Eduardo Cansino
Costumes by Jean Louis

Color, 99 mins. running time

The Loves of Carmen was based upon the story of "Carmen" by Prosper Merimee. It was the first movie produced by Rita's own production company, Beckworth. As founder of the company, she had her favorite leading man, Glenn Ford, play opposite her, her father Eduardo as assistant choreographer, her uncle Jose as a dancer and her brother Vernon in a small part as a Dragoon soldier. The Loves of Carmen began filming on November 17, 1947 and was shot on location in the hills Lone Pine, California where it was very cold during the day and temperatures dropped below freezing at night. Almost the entire cast, including Rita, caught a cold at one time or another during filming. The story is set in early 19th century Spain.

Don Jose Lizarabengoa (Glenn Ford), a soldier in the Dragoons, has just arrived in Seville from Nevara. Soon after his arrival, he takes a walk to familiarize himself with the city and meets Carmen (Rita Hayworth), an embittered, beautiful gypsy. He quickly falls under her spell and is infatuated. What he doesn't know is that Carmen is a notorious charmer and has a husband, Garcia (Victor Jory), who is presently in jail.

Soon after their meeting, Carmen gets into a fight with one of the townswomen. Jose is instructed to escort her to jail. On the way, she convinces him to let her escape. He's punished for this foolish action, but he can't stay angry with Carmen long. Once she sets her sights on a man he's hers. Later, Carmen gets her fortune told by another gypsy and is told that "one love emerges from all the rest," and that it will eventually lead to her death. She tries to deny her feelings, but soon Carmen is in love with Jose.

Another of Carmen's paramours is Jose's commanding officer, a colonel. When he finds out he has competition from Jose, he challenges him to a dual. After a short battle, Jose accidentally kills the colonel. Now a wanted man, he runs away with Carmen and her band of gypsy thieves up into the mountains. Soon Garcia is released from prison. Jose can't stand to see Carmen with another man. Inevitably, the two men battle it out and Jose comes out on top.

Carmen and Jose are then united in a gypsy wedding. Within a short time, life as a gypsy begins to change Jose. They steal and kill for a living, and it comes to bother him less and less. Eventually however, his conscience catches up with him. His brooding angers Carmen. She runs away to Cordoba and finds a new lover, Lucas (John Baragrey), the matador.

Soon after, one of Jose's fellow bandits finds out that there is a large reward being offered for Jose's capture. He decides to turn him in. When Jose goes to Cordoba to win Carmen back, the gypsy informs the authorities of his whereabouts. Jose confronts Carmen and demands she return to him. She refuses, yelling "NO! NO! NO!". Engulfed by rage, Jose pulls out a knife and kills her. Just then, a soldier shoots Jose. The ill-fated lovers fall to the ground and die in each other's arms.

The Loves of Carmen's sets, costumes and especially Rita, are exquisite. She does some of her greatest dancing and displays her proficiency with the castanets. Her performance as "Carmen" is undoubtedly one of her best. Rita was said to have been particularly proud of it. If you watch the film you'll see why. On a side note, I strongly recommend the DVD edition of this movie. It's vibrant color, clarity and sound are a sight to be seen.

a scene from 'The Loves of Carmen'

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