Blood and Sand, Bullfighter Juan Gallardo falls for socialite Dona Sol, turning from the faithful Carmen who nevertheless stands by her man as he continues to face real danger in the bullring.
Tyrone Power in the Valentino role…Hayworth as the siren…
Blood and Sand, 20th Century Fox gave Tyrone Power one of his most famous roles as the bullfighter torn between the love of a noble woman, his wife (Linda Darnell), and the tempestuous “other woman” (Rita Hayworth). A technicolor remake of the 1922 classic with Valentino, the studio spared no expense in making this a lavish, well-paced version of the tale depicting the rise and fall of a great bullfighter.
While establishing Power as a romantic hero of swashbuckling roles, it made a star of Rita Hayworth who, up until this time, was seen mostly in low-budget films. If anything, ‘Blood and Sand’ assured of the stardom she sought.
Especially interesting in one of his more flamboyant character roles is Laird Cregar as the critic of the art of bullfighting, alternately praising and damning the hero and eventually getting his comeuppance from Power.
Directed with great style by Rouben Mamoulian, it is still the best version of the story to date, photographed in the lush technicolor of the 1940s.
You may be interested in looking at my article on Laird Cregar that appeared in the March 2001 issue of CLASSIC IMAGES.
A wonderful movie – and for “other” reasons, too
Tyrone Power, as handsome as any star in history, with a magnetic screen presence is, however, about as believable in the role of a Spanish bullfighter as Oliver Hardy or Buster Keaton. Rita Hayworth gnaws the scenery like a horde of beavers, but she would be pleasurable to watch just eating a chicken wing. Linda Darnell is so long-suffering she’d depress Norman Bates. Finally Anthony Quinn (and not for the last time in his career), seems to have imbibed a gallon of coffee and taken a handful of downers at the same time, and is undergoing a battle as to which will prevail directing his demeanor.
Hayworth and Quinn’s paso doble is excellent to watch, yet so “over-the-top” at the same time – but neither of them ever were strangers to “over-the-top.”
But because, rather in spite of, these aspects, the film is thoroughly enjoyable, and the plot is true to the classic. All of these mannerisms from the cast are outstanding examples of earlier, overdrawn movie drama, from its inception into the 1950’s. They provide an added dimension when seeing again films such as this – providing a nostalgic view of this earlier genre, as well as the famous stars of the past.