The celebrated story of Carmen, as told by two of the greatest film-makers of all time, Cecil B. DeMille and Charles Chaplin, each with their own unique take on the classic story. This very popular program shows both films together, serving as a counterpoint in great silent-film craftsmanship in both dramatic storytelling and comedy in the inimitable Chaplin style.

Carmen (1915, Hugo Riesenfeld’s original compilation score restored in 1995)

Directed by: Cecil B. DeMille
Writing credits: Prosper Mérimée (novel), William C. de Mille
Starring: Geraldine Farrar, Wallace Reid, Pedro de Cordoba, Horace B. Carpenter
Genre: drama
Country: U.S.
Running Time: 60 mins.


Famous for his grand-scale and epic films, Cecil B. DeMille (Cleopatra, Greatest Story Ever Told, The Ten Commandments) directs this early feature starring the Metropolitan Opera star Geraldine Farrar, in her 1915 film debut. Carmen, inspired by the Bizet opera, tells the story of the Gypsy girl who, with her great seductive powers, manipulates border officer Don José into facilitating her people's smuggling efforts, and who himself turns to violence in order to keep her affections. The film is a newly restored color-tinted print, and the original Bizet-based score by Hugo Riesenfeld was restored by Timothy Brock in 1995 (see article here).


Carmen (DeMille)

2 Clarinets (B-flat, A)
2 Cornets

2 percussion (incl. Timp)


Strings: max: 8,6,4,3,2


Burlesque on Carmen (1915, score 2013)

Directed by: Charles Chaplin;
Starring: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, John Rand, Leo White, Jack Henderson;
Genre: Comedy;
Country: USA
Running time: 33 minutes.


Following the great success of the DeMille Carmen, Chaplin produced a brilliant parody of the film, creating almost identical sets and props, to hilarious effect. This classic comedy stars Chaplin himself as the border officer Darn Hosiery, Edna Purviance as Carmen, with John Rand as the plump Escamillo. The score, commissioned by the Teatro de la Zarzuela de Madrid from Mr. Brock, is also based on the same DeMille formula, and is a true Chaplinesque parody of the original Bizet. The Burlesque on Carmen becomes one of Chaplin's funniest comedy shorts (see article here).


Burlesque on Carmen (Chaplin)

1 Flute (dbl. picc.)

1 Clarinet (dbl. b-clt.)

Alto Saxophone I (dbl. Baritone sax)

Alto Saxophone II
Tenor Saxophone

2 Cornets

Percussion (2 players)
Piano (dbl. celesta)

Banjo (4-string Tenor, required)

Strings: 2,2,2,2,1


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