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Dorothy Dandrige as Carmen Jones: 5 Quotes About Iconic Role

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 01:29 PM

Dorothy Dandridge had a brief but successful career as a Hollywood actress at a time when being a person of color made it hard to get starring roles. Dandridge made history in "Carmen Jones," starring as title character in the film and earning the first-ever Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for a person of color.

Here's what critics had to say about Dandridge's performance in the iconic role of Carmen:

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1. "The best reason to revisit Carmen Jones lies in Dorothy Dandridge's electrifying performance, which saw her become the first African-American to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. In a series of strikingly colored outfits, she brings a sensual physicality to the role, bringing to mind that description of Jeanne Moreau's Catherine in Jules Jim, 'she wasn't a woman, she was a force of nature,'" wrote Tom Dawson, BBC.

2. "Impeccably liberal in its time, the film has not aged gracefully, although Dorothy Dandridge's performance in the lead remains a testimony to a black cinema that might have been," wrote David Kehr for the Chicago Reader (2007).

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3. "There are numerous great moments in the film and a standout performance from the legendary Dorothy Dandridge (even if her vocals are dubbed by Marilyn Horne). The overdubbing of operatic voices damages the film somewhat, though both Dandridge and (especially) Belafonte do a good job of appearing as though they're actually singing, rather than merely lip-synching," wrote Ken Hanke for the Mountain Xpress.

4. "Progressive in its time, Carmen Jones' all-black context and dialect-heavy dialogue now evoke a bygone era, so the movie today can't help but be a period piece, albeit an important one. More than 50 years later Dandridge and Belafonte are still gorgeous and appealing. Dandridge is not just a sexy femme fatale, she's beautiful and electric," wrote Mark Bourne for DVDJournal.com (2006).

5. "Preminger directs with a deft touch, blending the comedy and tragedy easily and building his scenes to some suspenseful heights. He gets fine performances from the cast toppers, notably Dorothy Dandridge, a sultry Carmen whose performance maintains the right hedonistic note throughout," said Variety (1953).

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Dorothy Dandridge had a brief but successful career as a Hollywood actress at a time when being a person of color made it hard to get starring roles.
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Wednesday, 13 May 2015 01:29 PM
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