A Real Bright Road For a Beautiful Butterfly

Otto Preminger was familiar with Dorothy Dandridge but felt she was incapable of exuding the sultry sex appeal the role of Carmen demanded, particularly after having seen Dandridge’s performance as a demure schoolteacher opposite Harry Belafonte in Bright Road (Gerald Mayer, 1953). Her agent’s office was in the same building where Preminger’s brother Ingo worked, and he asked Ingo to intercede on his client’s behalf.

At his first meeting with <Dandridge, Preminger told her she was "lovely" and looked like a "model" or "a beautiful butterfly," but not Carmen, and suggested she audition for the role of Cindy Lou. Dandridge took the script and left, and when she returned she was dressed and behaved exactly as Preminger envisioned Carmen.The director was impressed enough to schedule a screen test for mid-May, after Dandridge completed a singing engagement in St. Louis. In the interim he cast Juilliard School graduate Olga James as Cindy Lou.

On May 21, Preminger announced Dandridge had been cast as Carmen. Initially thrilled by the prospect of playing one of the best film roles ever offered an African American female, Dandridge quickly began to doubt her ability to do it justice. After several days, she told her agent to advise Preminger she was backing out of the project. The director drove to her apartment to reassure her and assuage her fears, and the two unexpectedly began a passionate affair.

 
 

Dandridge was the first African American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her leading role in the 1954 movie Carmen Jones (Otto Preminger, 1954)

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Sad Dove

Theatrical poster

 
 

Cucurrucucú paloma is a Mexican Huapango song written by Tomás Méndez in 1954 and introduced by Lola Beltrán in the film Cucurrucucú Paloma (Miguel Delgado, 1965). The song also appeared in other movies, such as Escuela de vagabundos (Rogelio A. González, 1955), considered one of the finest comedies of Mexican cinema, later adapted from the screenplay for the MGM movie Merrily We Live (Norman Z. McLeod, 1938); The Last Sunset (Robert Aldrich, 1961); Happy Together (Wong Kar-wai 1997); Talk to Her (Pedro Almodóvar, 2002);  My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (Werner Herzog, 2009); and The Five-Year Engagement (Nicholas Stoller, 2012). It has also been recorded by popular singers such as Luis Miguel, Rocío Dúrcal, Pedro Infante, Perry Como, Caetano Veloso, Miguel Aceves Mejía, Harry Belafonte, Nana Mouskouri, Julio Iglesias, Shirley Kwan, Lila Downs, Joan Baez (on her album Gracias a la Vida), Rosemary Clooney, and The Del Rubio Triplets.

It was played as a regular huapango song until Harry Belafonte sang it in Carnegie Hall like an <a title="Art song". Lola Beltrán's original rendering is considered by Mexicans to be the most powerful and faithful to the spirit of the song.

 
 

 
 

Original Spanish Lyrics:

“Dicen que por las noches
no mas se le iba en puro llorar,
dicen que no comía
no mas se le iba en puro tomar;
juran que el mismo cielo
se estremecía al oír su llanto
Cómo sufrió por ella,
que hasta en la muerte la fué llamando:

Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay, cantaba,
ay, ay, ay, ay, gemía,
ay, ay, ay, ay, lloraba,
de pasión mortal moría.

Que una paloma triste
muy de mañana le va a cantar
a la casita sola
con las puertitas de par en par;
juran que esa paloma
no es otra cosa mas que su alma,
que todavía la espera
a que regrese la desdichada.

Cucurrucucú, paloma,
cucurrucucú, no llores.
Las piedras jamás, paloma
qué van a saber de amores.

Cucurrucucú, cucurrucucú,
cucurrucucú, paloma ya no le llores.”

 
 

 
 

English Translation:

They say that every night
he was wholly overtaken by tears;
They say he never ate, but only drank
They swear that even the heavens
trembled to hear his wail,
he suffered for her so,
that even in death, he never stopped calling for her:

“Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay,” he sang,
“Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay,” he howled,
“Ay, ay, ay, ay, ay,” he sang,
from a deadly passion, he died

They say that in early morning a sad dove sings to the little empty house
with its wide open little doors.
They swear that the dove
is none other than his spirit,
hoping still for the return, of the ill-fated woman.

Cucucrrucucu, dove
cucucrrucucu, don´t cry
What will these stones ever know, little dove, about love?

cucurrucucu, cucurrucucu
cucurrucucu, dove don´t cry anymore…)

 
 

Arielle Dombasle performed the song during Jean Paul Gaultier Spring Summer 2010 Haute Couture show. By the way, she descends from French-American immigrants in Mexico under her grandfather’s diplomatic tenure

Together Through Life

The thirty-third studio album by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on April 28, 2009 by Columbia Records.

 
 

This image from Brooklyn Gang series  by Bruce Davidson was used as the cover for Together Through Life

 
 

Bob Dylan wrote all but one of the album’s songs with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, with whom he had previously co-written two songs on his 1988 album Down in the Groove. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Dylan commented on the collaboration: “Hunter is an old buddy, we could probably write a hundred songs together if we thought it was important or the right reasons were there… He’s got a way with words and I do too. We both write a different type of song than what passes today for songwriting.”

Dylan produced the record under his pseudonym of Jack Frost, which he used for his previous two studio albums, Love and Theft and Modern Times. The album was rumored to contain “struggling love songs” and have little similarity to Modern Times.

 
 

My Own Love Song (Olivier Dahan, 2010) theatrical poster

 
 

In a conversation with music journalist Bill Flanagan, published on Bob Dylan’s official website, Flanagan suggested a similarity of the new record to the sound of Chess Records and Sun Records, which Dylan acknowledged as an effect of “the way the instruments were played.” He said that the genesis of the record was when French film director Olivier Dahan asked him to supply a song for his road movie, My Own Love Song, which became Life is Hard – indeed, ‘according to Dylan, Dahan was keen to get a whole soundtrack’s worth of songs from the man’ – and “then the record sort of took its own direction.”

As with some of Dylan’s albums before Together Through Life, Dylan has adapted lyrics from other songs and incorporated them into his own lyrics—if with perhaps a ‘slightly diminished use of the light-fingered lift’, compared with ‘Dylan’s lyrical approach from recent albums’. The phrase “If you ever go to Houston, you better walk right” is taken from the folk song Midnight Special : Dylan played harmonica on Harry Belafonte‘s 1962 recording of the song. ‘The one time he overtly used someone else’s song as a springboard for his own – Billy Joe Shaver‘s  Ain’t No God in Mexico, a clear template for I Feel a Change Comin’ On – he openly acknowledged the debt to historian Douglas Brinkley’. Beyond Here Lies Nothin’ is the opening track of this album. The title is a quote from the Ancient Roman poet Ovid: “Beyond here lies nothing but chillness, hostility, frozen waves of an ice-hard sea.” (Poems from Exile). It bears a very significant resemblance to the original 1958 song All Your Love (I Miss Loving) by Otis Rush.