Bullfighter and the Lady (1951)

87 mins | Drama | 15 May 1951

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HISTORY

The working titles of the film were Torero and Death in the Sands . The film opened in Mexico City on 7 Jun 1951 as Tarde de Toros . The above credits and summary reflect the 87 minute, 1951 released version of the film. In 1986, the UCLA Film and Television Archive, with the assistance of director Oscar "Budd" Boetticher and actor Robert Stack, restored the film to the 127 minute length originally cut by Boetticher. Final onscreen credits, seen only in the restored print, note that the "sculptoric group" of statues that appear behind the credits and throughout the film was the property of Plaza Mexico.
       Modern sources indicate that director John Ford admired Boetticher's work and edited forty minutes from the material to improve the film's commercial viability after Republic executives balked at its length. Scenes removed in 1951, but restored in 1986, included those of children, the bullfighters performing as themselves, and much of the love story. A character played by Paul Fix was also cut from the 1951 release. Modern sources note that Boetticher had never intended to include a shot of Stack running away from the bullring to be included in the final film, but it was in the restoration.
       The story of Bullfighter and the Lady was partially based on Boetticher's personal experiences as an American novice bullfighter. According to a LADN article, Boetticher hoped that the film would provide American audiences with a better understanding of the art of bullfighting. An Apr 1950 LAT item stated that John Wayne, who produced the picture and who modern sources state urged Republic ... More Less

The working titles of the film were Torero and Death in the Sands . The film opened in Mexico City on 7 Jun 1951 as Tarde de Toros . The above credits and summary reflect the 87 minute, 1951 released version of the film. In 1986, the UCLA Film and Television Archive, with the assistance of director Oscar "Budd" Boetticher and actor Robert Stack, restored the film to the 127 minute length originally cut by Boetticher. Final onscreen credits, seen only in the restored print, note that the "sculptoric group" of statues that appear behind the credits and throughout the film was the property of Plaza Mexico.
       Modern sources indicate that director John Ford admired Boetticher's work and edited forty minutes from the material to improve the film's commercial viability after Republic executives balked at its length. Scenes removed in 1951, but restored in 1986, included those of children, the bullfighters performing as themselves, and much of the love story. A character played by Paul Fix was also cut from the 1951 release. Modern sources note that Boetticher had never intended to include a shot of Stack running away from the bullring to be included in the final film, but it was in the restoration.
       The story of Bullfighter and the Lady was partially based on Boetticher's personal experiences as an American novice bullfighter. According to a LADN article, Boetticher hoped that the film would provide American audiences with a better understanding of the art of bullfighting. An Apr 1950 LAT item stated that John Wayne, who produced the picture and who modern sources state urged Republic to film the story, considered playing the lead, but felt he was too husky to be a convincing bullfighter, so Stack was cast instead. Although Stack's character is listed in CBCS and reviews as "Chuck," he is called "Johnny" in the film.
       The other male lead, Gilbert Roland, was the son of the matador, the "Great Paquilo." As noted by onscreen credits and a news item, eight of Mexico's famous matadors performed in the picture. According to an Oct 1950 NYT new item, brothers Luis and Felix Briones doubled for Stack and Roland in the bullfight scenes. As late as Feb 1950, Pedro Armendáriz and Norma De Landa were mentioned in LAT as the film's probable leads. HR reported that another actress considered for a role as was Ariadne Christian, sister of Linda Christian, but her appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Eduardo Cansino, Jr., brother of Rita Hayworth, was signed on as a Spanish dancer, according to a May 1950 HR news item, but he does not appear in the film. Mexican actress Katy Jurado made her American motion picture debut in the film.
       The film was shot, cut and scored in and around Mexico City, mostly at Churubusco Studios. Modern sources indicate that filming took place in Querétaro, that the bullring scenes were filmed in the village of Xayai, and that during production, one man was killed and another wounded. The matador Armellita, who served as the film's technical advisor, was Boetticher's mentor, according to contemporary sources. Contemporary sources also mention that the skeet shooting scene was added to highlight Stack's real-life championship achievements. Victor Young used Latin tunes in his score, and the music heard over the opening credits is "La Virgen de la Macarena," the official arena tune traditionally played during the paseo. Although the film did not explicitly show the killing of bulls, an Oct 1951 Var news item states that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other British organizations protested the film's release in Britain. Boetticher and Ray Nazarro won an Oscar nomination for their story. Bullfighter and the Lady marked the first film in which Boetticher was credited onscreen as "Budd." More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
5 May 1951.
---
Daily Variety
1 Nov 1950.
---
Daily Variety
25 Apr 51
p. 3.
Film Daily
3 May 51
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Mar 1950
p. 40.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 1950
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Apr 1950
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1950
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
26 May 1950
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 1950
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Apr 51
p. 3.
Los Angeles Daily News
29 Sep 1950.
---
Los Angeles Times
4 Apr 1950.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Apr 1951.
---
Los Angeles Times
26 Apr 1951.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 Jan 1986.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
5 May 51
pp. 825-26.
New York Times
15 Oct 1950.
---
New York Times
27 Apr 51
p. 19.
Newsweek
23 Apr 1951.
---
Times
23 Apr 1951.
---
Variety
1 Nov 1950.
---
Variety
10 Jan 1951.
---
Variety
2 May 51
p. 6
Variety
24 Oct 1951.
---
Village Voice
19 Sep 2000
p. 115.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A John Wayne Production
A JohnWayne Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Delegado actores
Prod mgr
Mexican coordinator
Unit mgr
Dial dir
Scr supv
Scr supv
STAND INS
Stand-in
Stand-in
SOURCES
MUSIC
"La Virgen de la Macarena" by B. B. Monterde and A. O. Calero.
SONGS
"Luto en el alma," music and lyrics by Claudio Estrada.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Death in the Sands
Tarde de toros
Torero
Release Date:
15 May 1951
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 26 April 1951
Production Date:
29 May--15 July 1950 at Estudios Churubusco, Mexico City
Copyright Claimant:
Republic Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 March 1951
Copyright Number:
LP758
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
87
Length(in reels):
9
Countries:
Mexico, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15066
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

While vacationing in Mexico City, Broadway producer and sportsman Johnny Regan goes to a bullfight at the Plaza Mexico with his friends, Barney and Lisbeth Flood. As they watch, the great Manolo Estrada conquers an aggressive bull while carrying out difficult passes, including one in which he kneels near the animal. That evening in a nightclub, Johnny introduces himself to Manolo and shows extra attention to a young woman in Manolo's party, Anita de la Vega. Anita is preoccupied with worry for her friend, Antonio Gomez, who was wounded during the bullfight that day and resists his attention. When Manolo realizes Johnny is a champion skeet shooter, he asks for lessons, explaining that he needs a hobby for when he retires from the ring, a promise he made to his pregnant wife Chelo. Johnny agrees but, hoping to impress Anita, asks to be taught bullfighting in return. The next day Manolo and Johnny watch toreros practice and Manolo mysteriously refers to one, Pepe Mora, as a "tragic case." To help Johnny learn basic passes, a young boy, Panchito, plays the charging bull. Later, Johnny and Manolo visit Antonio at the hospital, and Anita finally warms to Johnny's overtures of friendship. During the following days, Johnny continues his lessons. His prankish enthusiasm concerns Barney, who does not understand his interest in the dangerous sport. Anita invites everyone to her ranch for a tienta , during which breeding cows are tested for "bravery." As Manolo has sprained his right hand, he cannot personally participate, but he encourages Johnny to try basic "Veronica" passes with the cows. The over-enthusiastic Johnny tries more difficult ... +


While vacationing in Mexico City, Broadway producer and sportsman Johnny Regan goes to a bullfight at the Plaza Mexico with his friends, Barney and Lisbeth Flood. As they watch, the great Manolo Estrada conquers an aggressive bull while carrying out difficult passes, including one in which he kneels near the animal. That evening in a nightclub, Johnny introduces himself to Manolo and shows extra attention to a young woman in Manolo's party, Anita de la Vega. Anita is preoccupied with worry for her friend, Antonio Gomez, who was wounded during the bullfight that day and resists his attention. When Manolo realizes Johnny is a champion skeet shooter, he asks for lessons, explaining that he needs a hobby for when he retires from the ring, a promise he made to his pregnant wife Chelo. Johnny agrees but, hoping to impress Anita, asks to be taught bullfighting in return. The next day Manolo and Johnny watch toreros practice and Manolo mysteriously refers to one, Pepe Mora, as a "tragic case." To help Johnny learn basic passes, a young boy, Panchito, plays the charging bull. Later, Johnny and Manolo visit Antonio at the hospital, and Anita finally warms to Johnny's overtures of friendship. During the following days, Johnny continues his lessons. His prankish enthusiasm concerns Barney, who does not understand his interest in the dangerous sport. Anita invites everyone to her ranch for a tienta , during which breeding cows are tested for "bravery." As Manolo has sprained his right hand, he cannot personally participate, but he encourages Johnny to try basic "Veronica" passes with the cows. The over-enthusiastic Johnny tries more difficult stunts and barely escapes injury. Despite his recent wounds, Antonio also participates. When rowdy spectators accuse Manolo of cowardice for not joining in, Manolo enters the ring and to the delight of all, manages left-hand passes with a "fresh" bull, and even works in his kneeling trick. He walks off with dignity, but Chelo confronts the challengers with an impassioned speech. Johnny is impressed, and Anita tells him that in Mexico they say "she has stature." Anita also admits she is proud of Johnny, but when he sees her telling her long-time friend Antonio that she loves Johnny, he assumes they are ridiculing him. Enraged, he hits Antonio and Anita tells him to leave. Advised by Manolo to give Anita time, Johnny asks to continue his lessons with Manolo. His apology to Antonio is accepted and he is graciously invited to be in next month's corrida . Johnny also learns that the "tragic" Pepe Mora accidentally caused the death of his brother during a bullfight. On the day of the bullfight in which Johnny is to participate, Johnny gets nervous. Manolo understands, but foresees trouble. When Johnny gets the opportunity to work with a bull, the crowd taunts him at first. He does well, however, and wins their acceptance. His confidence soars and he attempts Manolo's kneeling trick. The bull charges, and Manolo jumps in to assist, but is fatally gored. When Anita finds him much later, Johnny is pacing the Plaza in the rain. She urges him to flee Mexico before irate fans try to kill him. Instead Johnny petitions Dr. Sierra, the promotor of the bullfights, to be included the following Sunday. Fearing that Johnny will be killed by the crowd, Dr. Sierra refuses, but later relents. Barney tries to dissuade Johnny, but Lisbeth understands Johnny's need to face the situation and mentions that the proceeds will go to Chelo. On Sunday, just before the corrida , Chelo gives Manolo's cape to Johnny, and says that Manolo will guide him. When it is Johnny's turn, the audience pelts him with objects. In spite of this, his performance goes well, and he kills the bull. While it is dragged away, he thanks the crowd for allowing this last appearance, noting that the man with his bull today was Manolo Estrada. Watching from the stands, Anita is told that her "man has stature." Johnny leaves with the toreros and gives Panchito his hat. When Anita catches up with him, they kiss and leave the Plaza together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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