During the first week of November 1915, American moviegoers were treated to two different film adaptations of the popular Merimee novel and Bizet opera Carmen. Of these, only the Cecil B. DeMille version starring Geraldine Farrar survives; the Fox Studios version of Carmen, starring Theda Bara and directed by Herbert Brenon, has unfortunately vanished from the earth. From all contemporary accounts, Fox's Carmen was the most expensive and elaborate of the two, though it is likely that Bara's performance was not in the same league as Farrar's. The reviewer for the trade magazine Variety indicated as much, noting that the jealous intensity so necessary for the portrayal of Carmen was lacking in Bara's interpretation. For the record, the supporting cast included Einar Lundin as Don Jose, Carl Harbaugh as Escamillo and Elsie McLeod as Michaela -- a real no-star cast, indicating that most of the budget was expended upon the sets, the costumes, the director, and of course Ms. Bara.
by Hal Erickson synopsis