Famous matador Antonio Morales's disappointment turns to joy when his wife's pregnancy yields twins, and the second child is the hoped for boy. Morales names his twins Maria and Mario, and as soon as he is old enough, begins to train Mario for the bull-fighting ring. However, Mario's interests lie more in music, while his sister Maria is fascinated with the ring. Eventually, Mario is angered by the high demands of his father and leaves town for a chance to study with a famous composer. Mario abandoning the bullring brings disgrace to the family name, but Maria has a plan... Written by
Montalban/Charisse Dance and Green's Scoring highlight routine film.
Esther Williams is totally miscast in this attempt to take her out of the swimming pool (though there is one brief sequence at the "old swimming hole"). Twins born to a former matador - the boy wants to be a composer, not a matador. It's the girl who wants to be the matador. Dad pushes the boy, ignores the daughter. We've seen it before. It's all well-handled here, though nothing out of the ordinary. Montalban is fine in his first film. There is an outstanding dance he shares with an almost unrecognizable Cyd Charisse (in an early role) about 45 minutes into the film that brings the whole project to life for about five minutes - magical moment in film charisma and vitality. The star of the film however is the deservedly Oscar-nominated scoring of Johnny Green including an adaptation of Copland's EL SALON MEXICO into a fantasia for piano and orchestra (shades of what he'd do four years later in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS and win a deserved Oscar for it). It's Green's musical underscoring of the film that enlivens the scenes, which are filmed in a very unspectacular Technicolor - all the earth tones make it look dirty. This is NOT a musical as some reviewers think it. It has no songs and only two dances. The fantasia is presented as a composer performing a work of his own. Worth a look, especially for the wonderful Charisse/Montalban Mexican dance.
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