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Johnny Regan, a U.S. citizen, goes to Mexico and takes up bullfighting as a lark, hoping to impress a Mexican beauty, Anita de la Vega. His lighthearted studying, under the tutelage of aging matador Manolo Estrada, leads to tragedy. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
The scenes of Robert Stack showing Gilbert Roland how to skeet shoot parallel true life. In collage Stack was not interested in team sports, so he took up skeet shooting. In 1935, he came in 2nd in the National Skeet Shooting Championship (held in Cleveland), and in 1936 his 5-man team broke the standing record at the National Skeet Championships (held in St. Louis). In 1937, Robert Stack was the U.S. 20-gauge champion skeet marksman, and held the record for more than 350 consecutive hits. He also served as a gunnery officer in the U.S. Navy for more than three years during World War II and among other decorations, was awarded the 'Expert Rifle Ribbon', and 'Expert Pistol Ribbon'. See more »
This is a beautiful, compelling and honest film. It is imbued with the good kind of machismo--notions of honor, sacrifice, and the nobility of effort. Instead of cluttering up the film with lots of story and complications, Boetticher has delved inside the heart and mind of this (to us gringos) strange sport.
My only addition to the other comments is the photography is remarkable for its era, almost an outdoor film noir, a romantic realism in black and white. (And note that in a number of shots it is clearly Robert Stack doing his own bullfighting!) I note that the film was produced by John Wayne for Republic, obviously mostly in Mexico; just one year later Republic permitted John Ford to make THE QUIET MAN in Ireland; early examples of American filmmaking in an international context.
Don't hesitate to see this extraordinary film.
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