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GYPSY BLOOD (aka: CARMEN) (director: Ernst Lubitsch; screenwriters: Grete Diercks/Norbert Falk/Hans Kraly/from the novel Carmen by Prosper Merimee; cinematographer: Alfred Hansen; editor: Ernst Lubitsch; cast: Pola Negri (Carmen), Harry Liedtke (Don Jose Navarro), Leopold von Ledebur (Garcia), Grete Diercke (Dolores), Wilhelm Diegelmann (Prison Guard), Paul Conradi (Don Cairo); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Paul Davidson; Grapevine Video; 1918-silent Germany-in German)
How much you like the film is in how credible you find the lead performers.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

German filmmaker Ernst Lubitsch (“Ninotchka”/”Heaven Can Wait”/”Monte Carlo”) directs this far from sophisticated broad farce. It’s based on the novel Carmen by Prosper Merimee and is written by Grete Diercks, Norbert Falk and Hans Kraly. It stars Polish actress Pola Negri, who forged her name after Italian poet Ada Negri. Pola moved to Germany during WW One, where Lubitsch signed her to a contract at UFA. The duo ended up making 8 films together, with this one their second.

It’s a tragic story of the honorable cavalryman from the Spanish provincesDon Jose Navarro (Harry Liedtke), who is engaged to his childhood sweetheart Dolores (Grete Diercke). Stationed in Seville, Don Jose comes under the curse of the cigarette girl, a sexy smuggler named Carmen (Pola Negri), and though she treats him with both love and contempt as she seduces the soldier who casts aside his honor, his promising career, his family and nice fiancee for the gypsy’s tragic love. It’s a classic biblical tale about a respectable man’s downfall to an attractive but rotten temptress woman like Eve.

How much you like the film is in how credible you find the lead performers. I found both leads unremarkable, but credible.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”