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It is "Silly" and the music supports the "Symphony" part

Author: Robert Reynolds ( from Tucson AZ
17 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is the second Silly Symphony short released by Disney. There will be spoilers ahead:

I was disappointed by this cartoon. It disappoints me each time I watch it and I have seen it at least half a dozen times. It looks reasonably good visually and there are a few good gags. But it reminds me of work being done in the early 1930s by Paul Terry or the Van Buren studio. There's nothing terribly special about this short apart from the music. It has a fill in the blanks feel to it more than anything else.

I freely admit that this disappoints me because it was done by Disney-and that's hardly fair to the short. But even with that admission, it still wouldn't rise to much more than average even for a Terry short. It sort of starts falling apart when they repeat the same visuals three times when the villain is trying to eat in the cantina very early in the short and never seems to recover. The villain is basically wasted.

The bullfighting sequence starts off with one tone and then abruptly shifts from silly to semi-serious for no discernible reason. When the toreador and the bull come skipping out into the ring holding hands, a playful mood is set which seems to be the intended tone of the rest of the short, only to have it veer into a more serious contest and then it lurches headlong into silly with the bull skipping and prancing around the ring seeming for all the world to b playing a bizarre game of "tag" with the toreador. Then it goes serious again It's quite strange, to say the least.

This is available on the Disney Treasures More Silly Symphonies DVD release. The set is worth getting and this is a curio worth watching at least once.

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Not good, but certainly not the abomination everyone else is describing

Author: MissSimonetta from United States
19 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Honestly, if this cartoon has committed a sin, it's that it's not as imaginative or impressive as its predecessor, The Skeleton Dance (1929). One would think that this cartoon came out before that one, because in comparison, El terrible toreador is underwhelming and not that well animated. It also borrows from the Mickey Mouse silent, Gallopin' Gaucho (1928), in which outlaw Mickey romances and rescues dancing waitress Minnie.

The structure is very disjointed. The first half involves the titular toreador rescuing a sexy waitress from the unwanted advances of an officer. he proceeds to humiliate his rival, and then we get to the second half where the toreador engages in a comical bull fight. It is loosely connected to the first part only by the presence of the waitress and officer in the audience. The gags are occasionally funny and the animation is average. The last bit where the toreador pulls the bull's insides out is rather gruesome and will no doubt bother some viewers.

Basically, the cartoon is average and unremarkable. Unless you're an animation nerd or you're trying to watch all the Silly Symphonies, you can skip this one without missing a thing.

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Bullpies!!! Very likely the worst Silly Symphony of them all.

Author: Foreverisacastironmess from ukwitchcountry
27 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I did not enjoy this short. It's old. And it's ugly. In fact, if you squint your eyes, it kinda looks like the surface of the moon. I thought the strange spaghetti arms and springy neck stuff was just grotesque. Also the sound was just brutal and crude. And I found it completely boring, the only thing I reacted to was what happens to the bull at the end. Yikes! Some of the old time Disney animators had a bit of a twisted streak! After seeing the jolly dead rise from their graves in the creepy yet awesome The Skeleton Dance, it seems that there is at least one similarity between the first and second Silly Symphonies-grisly imagery! And it's funny, it's not like I disliked Terrible Toreador because I felt that it was stupid or only good for little babies-the fact is, I nothinged it. It was a complete blank, a grey wall, flavourless ice-cream! You know how in giant supermarkets they have those dead cheap brands of food that are all white and have the plain bar code design? Well that's what this was to me, a "no frills" cartoon! There's not much worth saying, as it's just a horrific second entry in a mainly timeless series. There were far better things to come...

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Not One Of The Best Silly Symphonies.

Author: Dawalk-1 from Hialeah, Florida
26 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In the intro on one of the discs of Walt Disney Treasures: More Silly Symphonies DVD set, film critic Leonard Maltin mentioned that not all the SS (Silly Symphony) shorts were great or successes, or something like that along those lines. And I think that I just may have found (and can see) this as being one of them. This is the SS featurette (if not one of them) that's definitely just at the bottom of the barrel, having seen it and judging from what reviewers at the Disney shorts site wrote about it. There are probably many others who'd choose and name this their least favorite or one of their least favorites out of the series. One reviewer claimed that the animation isn't quite up to par, even by late '20s standards. I hadn't really noticed that or, as much as I'm an animation fan/lover, I'm not quite enough of an expert to tell the difference between the illustrations in this and, say, those other SS and Disney cartoons in general. I just don't see it and have failed to do so, maybe I should watch again and closely this time eventually, just to see what the commentator was really writing about exactly.

Anyway, I found it to be a so-so short, nothing truly special nor spectacular, there are better I've seen. One toreador challenges another to a bull-fighting contest after the latter toreador tries to steal away his girlfriend, a waitress, basically. Even though I find it average and not top-notch, I was okay with it anyway until near the end, when the first toreador turns the bull inside out, by reaching inside his mouth and pulls his innards outward. Now that was just way too freaky, repugnant and even cringe-inducing. That was the worst, if not only really bad part about it I found. That was a big what-the-blank surpriser or shocker of a moment right there that no one would've seen coming (I know I didn't), unless he/she were clairvoyant. If anybody is still curious and wishes to view, be my guest and check it out anyway, but you'll be repulsed by the twisted ending like I and a few others I know of were. You'll, too, be wondering just what the writers/animators were thinking, why the conception of that scene was green-lit and why (if this was actually the intent) thought it might get big laughs. That isn't even the slightest amusing. I give it half the highest star rating.

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Disney Gives Us A Bizet Burlesque

Author: Ron Oliver ( from Forest Ranch, CA
1 November 2000

A Walt Disney SILLY SYMPHONY Cartoon Short.

A vile officer takes liberties with a barmaid, who is the girlfriend of EL TERRIBLE TOREADOR. The bullfighter then proceeds to proudly show-off his skills in the bullring.

An interesting & somewhat violent little black & white cartoon, with a great many of Disney's obligatory posterior gags. Most of the music, appropriately, is from Bizet's Carmen. The surprisingly gynandrous bull could almost be seen as a precursor of the celebrated Ferdinand.

The SILLY SYMPHONIES, which Walt Disney produced for a ten year period beginning in 1929, are among the most fascinating of all animated series. Unlike the Mickey Mouse cartoons in which action was paramount, with the Symphonies the action was made to fit the music. There was little plot in the early Symphonies, which featured lively inanimate objects and anthropomorphic plants & animals, all moving frantically to the soundtrack. Gradually, however, the Symphonies became the school where Walt's animators learned to work with color and began to experiment with plot, characterization & photographic special effects. The pages of Fable & Fairy Tale, Myth & Mother Goose were all mined to provide story lines and even Hollywood's musicals & celebrities were effectively spoofed. It was from this rich soil that Disney's feature-length animation was to spring. In 1939, with SNOW WHITE successfully behind him and PINOCCHIO & FANTASIA on the near horizon, Walt phased out the SILLY SYMPHONIES; they had run their course & served their purpose.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Has great music, but other than that El Terrible Toreador lives up to its name

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
24 May 2012

It is not as if I hate Disney, I don't. As a matter of fact, I am a huge fan, and watch their films, cartoons and shows a lot. It's just that El Terrible Toreador never sat well with me, it is my least favourite Disney Silly Symphony and the only one of a cartoon series that contains many solid cartoons and a lot of gems that I disliked. Is there is a redeeming quality. Yes, and it is a big one. The music, which is sprightly and energetic and the Carmen snippets are done with so much zest and authenticity it is musically a delight. I just wish the rest of the cartoon was as good, sadly it is not and mostly lives up to its name.

I appreciate that it tried to do something new story-wise, but the story in both parts really doesn't come together, lacking in character and some of it especially in the second half is baffling. Carmen's dancing is not characterful at all, I read somewhere that it is very rubber hose-style and that is a very apt description, the bullfight sequence is severely undermined by lack of any true tension and characterisation plus the only likable character is a caricature in this scene, and the ending is maybe interesting for seeing what gross-out gags at that time were like but as well as being confusing that's all it is, a very unsubtle gross-out.

I didn't like the characters either, the only one who shines in any way is the Toreador and that is to do with the swagger and style and that in the first half(especially when he steals the man's beer) there is an attempt to give him some character. Carmen is nowhere near flirtatious enough sadly, pretty much the most exciting thing she does here is kick a tray, that's it. I wish I could say the same about the animation as I did the music, but I can't. It is very lacking in any kind of fluidity, and the character designs are the stiffest of any Disney Silly Symphony.

The sound is also crude, and the cartoon is never funny, even the most potentially interesting gag of the entire cartoon failed due to how it was executed and the fact it may offend people. Overall, the music is outstanding and the Toreador, apart from being reduced to a caricature in the second half, is not a bad character. Other than that, right from a story that never feels right and an ending that will leave people gasping with shock or disgust than laughing, El Terrible Toreador sadly does live up to its dubious name. 4/10 Bethany Cox

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0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

This one left me confused.

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
18 August 2011

Before you can get to see "Cannibal Capers" and a few other 'special' cartoons on the "Walt Disney Treasures: More Silly Symphonies" DVD set, you are forced to watch an introduction by Leonard Maltin. He talks about the times in which they were made and how politically incorrect the films are. I am not against this, but hate how once you view it, you must ALWAYS view Maltin's speech again if you come back to any of the offensive cartoons. The same thing happens in some of the other Treasures DVDS--such as the second Donald Duck set.

As far as "El Terrible Toreador" goes, I was rather at a loss to understand why it was placed among the infamous shorts introduced by Maltin. Now I am not Hispanic nor am I a bull--if I were, I might feel otherwise. Perhaps someone took offense at the way the folks were depicted or the idea of showing a bullfight--though it was very non-violent. Perhaps someone thought the bull was gay or the cartoon offended bald folks--I'm just grasping at straws trying to figure out what's 'incorrect' about this rather charming cartoon.

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