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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. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on October 20, 1941 with Tyrone Power reprising his film role. See more »
During the scene when Doña Sol des Muire sings to Juan Gallardo on his first visit to her home, she accompanies herself on the guitar, but while she strums the fingers of her other hand never move to change chords as she plays. See more »
At last Seville has a matador, the greatest matador of all history, a saint, the first man of the world! The day he was born, there was salt in the air! A great quantity of salt!
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Although its integrity as a narrative is not to be questioned - a morality tale about the corruption and manipulation of innocence and talent by the fickle public and the fatal lure of fame and riches, the original silent with Valentino was the better film. The screenplay in this rich remake is far too long and does not make salient dramatic points, as it needed to in order to make the grade as a moral statement.
The film is an overlong romantic triangle with only two assets - the Technicolor and Nazimova's performance. Nazimova's silent films present her as a tiny wisp of a thing with big hair, emoting in an exaggerated and histrionic style. As an older woman, here and in SINCE YOU WENT AWAY, she proves herself a subtle and powerful character actress. She has only nine scenes in BLOOD AND SAND and each time she appears she single handedly brings the film back to its dramatic core. She is the only dramatic reason for seeing the film.
The TECHNICOLOR is a mix of absolutely stunning uses of rich blue and vibrant yellow and some garish combinations as well. It deservedly won the Color Cinematography Oscar, based on the dominance of the former. A nod for Color Art Direction was also deservedly achieved.
The knockout scenes are: Darnell in her manta and Power kissing beneath a wall mounting of a bull's head; the dressing room scene with the press- stunning use of red and yellow; the rich blues of the altar and crucifix at the bullring; Hayworth at the bull ring in a stunning close-up with a blue veil (note that in mid shot she is wearing a lavender dress, but in close-up it too becomes blue); Hayworth's gardens at night- again a rich blue; the composition in the garden of Hayworth on the left, Power on the right and the fountain gushing water in the middle in front of a red and yellow chess set; Hayworth playing her guitar -again rich compositions for red, blue and yellow; Carradine's death bed with his raised arms echoing the raised arms of the crucifix behind him; the dance in the tavern between Hayworth and Quinn - red and green against blue; and finally, the death scene composition with Darnell's blues diagonally splitting the screen, she on top and Power below.
Certainly the attention to color composition and design is exceptional in this film. Mamoulian's leisurely direction is quite unlike his early film work where cinematography (movement, angle and composition) and editing created unforgettable dramatic moments. He does a competent job, but it is nothing out of the ordinary and his particular stamp is nowhere present.
BLOOD AND SAND remains an overlong, but enjoyable film, visually quite stunning and a fit memoriam for Nazimova's fine performance.
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