Carmen AKA Gypsy Blood

Live Musical Accompaniment by Robert Humphreville
Screening on Film
Directed by Ernst Lubitsch.
With Pola Negri, Harry Liedtke, Leopold von Ledebur.
Germany, 1918, 35mm, black & white, silent, 80 min.
German intertitles with English subtitles.
Print source: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung

Lubitsch's straightforward—if risqué—adaptation of the nineteenth-century Prosper Mérimée story was his second Grossfilm, this one meant as a vehicle for Pola Negri. Starring as the spectacularly wanton Carmen, Negri ignites what remains an extraordinary role for a woman on the silent screen. Luring Don José Navarro—played by Lubitsch regular Harry Liedtke—into dishonor and finally bringing about her own death, Carmen did succeed in launching the bewitching Negri into stardom. A wildly popular, unprecedented hit in Germany, the film was finally released in the US in 1921 under the title Gypsy Blood, whereupon it became Lubitsch’s first worldwide success. 

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