Silent Feature: Carmen


Studio: Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company
Premiered: October 1, 1915 (Boston)

Featured Cast: Geraldine Farrar, Wallace Reid, Pedro de Cordoba, Jeanie Macpherson

Producer: Jesse L. Lasky
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Screenwriter: William C. de Mille
Source: the Prosper Mérimeé story
Art director: Wilfred Buckland
Cinematographer: Alvin Wyckoff


A Gypsy girl working in a cigarette factory ruins the men she entices.

Production Quotes

“The filming of Carmen with Geraldine Farrar, the noted grand opera prima donna, was taken up this week at the Lasky studio. A great many of the scenes will be completed at the grand ranch in San Fernando Valley. The bullfight scenes will be made at the Los Angeles stadium.”

– J.C. Jessen, “In and Out of Los Angeles Studios,” Motion Picture News, Vol. 12, No. 2 (July 17, 1915)


“Carmen is a picture of finesse, encompassing the sincere efforts of a great player—even to the point of a very rough treatment accorded the expensive person of a prima donna—and of a great director. It is not a Sunday School play, this picture of the classic heart bandit. There’s a plentiful showing of emotions as they are, but it is done without the wearisome tediousness of directors less artistic than Cecil DeMille.”

– Kitty Kelly, The Chicago Tribune

Artist Comment

“My biggest fighting moment was a vigorous quarrel in the tobacco factory where the amiable Jeanie Macpherson, Mr. DeMille’s right-hand scenarist and an actress of no mean ability, loaned herself to my assault in a battle that made screen history.”

– Geraldine Farrar, Such Sweet Compulsion


Carmen cost $23,429.97 and grossed $147,599.81.
(These figures have not been adjusted for inflation nor do they include the considerable profits realized from reissues, television syndication, and home entertainment formats.)