"Black Orpheus" Is Released
Black Orpheus (Portuguese: Orfeu Negro) is a 1959 film made in Brazil by French director Marcel Camus.
It is based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de Moraes, which is an adaptation of the Greek legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, setting it in the modern context of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during the Carnaval. The film was an international co-production between production companies in Brazil, France and Italy.
Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) is literally what its title suggests: a retelling of the "Orpheus and Eurydice" legend enacted by black performers. This time the setting is the annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Orpheus (Breno Mello) is a streetcar conductor; Eurydice (Marpessa Dawn) has just jilted her lover and is attempting to escape his wrath. Orpheus himself falls in love with Eurydice, whereupon her ex-lover, disguised as the Angel of Death shows up and kills Eurydice. To reclaim his lost love, Orpheus enters "Hell" (the Rio morgue) and uses supernatural methods to revive the dead girl. A multi-award winner on the international film scene, Black Orpheus features a samba musical score by Luiz Bonfa and Antonio Carlos Jobim. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide