This is a glance of Hollywood poking fun at its own history - going from the silent era to sound. The Reality-Illusion motif is played for gags throughout the movie. Lina, the main satiric object of the film, makes this character the opposite of the character that she plays on screen. Lina is a vacuous beauty, petty, self-serving, and talentless. The cacophony of her nasal toned voice leads the studio to hire Kathy to lend her voice as a substitute for Lina's; however, the public is unaware of that fact. The film's satire aims broadly at the Hollywood method of creating cinematic illusion on the basis of very little substance in reality. It also reveals how devastating "sound" was to the movie industry.
Oscar Hammerstein Jr. took Georges Bizet's opera Carmen, rewrote the lyrics, changed the characters from 19th century Spaniards to World War II-era African-Americans, switched the locale to a Southern military base, and the result was Carmen Jones. Dorothy Dandridge stars as Carmen Jones, tempestuous employee of a parachute factory. Harry Belafonte plays Joe (originally José), a young military officer engaged to marry virginal Cindy Lou (Olga James). When Carmen gets into a fight with another girl, she is placed under arrest and put in Joe's charge. Succumbing to her attractiveness, Joe accompanies Carmen to her old neighborhood, where, after killing a sergeant sent to retrieve him, he deserts the army. Carmen tries to be faithful, but fortune-telling Frankie (Pearl Bailey) warns her that she and her soldier are doomed. Enter Joe Adams in the role of boxer Husky Miller (a play on Carmen's bullfighter Escamillo), who sweeps Carmen off her feet, ultimately with tragic consequences.
Oklahoma, Starring Shirley Jones and Gordon Mac Rae
Westside Story With Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris