Gipsy Blood (aka Carmen)
Vogueing her way through 19th century Seville like some duplicitous Maddona-esque boot girl, Marguerite Namara's Carmen steals every scene she's in. This may be a black and white film, but her performance throughout is definitely full colour - sporting a callous and total disregard for the feelings of any man she consumes, never did a character need murdering more than she.
A combination of both the subject matter and the film medium's then-recent emergence from the Silent era ensures that the men are Valentinoed with make-up and extensively prettified, though it doesn't always work - especially in the case of the marvellous Dennis Wyndham, who chews his scenes with reliable gusto. Ex mounted policeman, in-demand character actor and erstwhile nemesis of Will Hay in several of his films, Wyndham possesses the build and presence of Ray Winstone and looks exactly as one would expect under two inches of Max Factor.
Gipsy Blood is directed with a true sense of dash by Cecil Lewis, Great War flying ace and one of the founders of the BBC. Having brought culture to the airwaves he'd obviously set his sights on doing the same with the silver screen, though the inherent artiness of the piece makes concessions to populist entertainment with various horseback chase sequences, shot mute and post-synched with music. Then at the height of his pomp, Malcolm Sargent's arrangements still shine through the limitations of the rudimentary audio recording techniques of 1931 and, remarkably for a film of this vintage, this release includes ten minutes of scenes and music not used in the final theatrical cut.
In 1931, Sir Malcolm Sargent – then a rising young conductor – acted as musical director for this first filmed musical version of Prosper Mérimée’s classic story of passion and fatal jealousy, Carmen. Gipsy Blood is presented here in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements.
With a score based on Bizet’s opera, Gipsy Blood features celebrated American soprano Marguerite Namara as the capricious gypsy girl from the cigarette factory; her co-performers include Thomas Burke as Carmen’s tormented lover, Don José, and New Zealand-born baritone Lance Fairfax as his rival, the toreador Escamillo.
 Ten minutes of deleted scenes
 Image gallery
- Number of Discs
- 1.33:1 / Black and White
- Mono / English
- 2 / PAL
- 75 mins approx