Friday, February 15, 2013

31 Days of Oscar: Blood and Sand (1941). An oil painting that looks like it came to life.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon, hosted by Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken and Freckled and Paula’s Cinema Club. It runs Feb. 1 – Mar. 3, in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies’ 31 Days of Oscar. Please click on envelope on the side bar to learn more.

Blood and Sand (1941). is a Technicolor film produced by 20th Century Fox, directed by Rouben Mamoulian. Cast: Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Rita Hayworth, and Alla Nazimova. It is based on the Spanish 1909 novel Blood and Sand by Vicente Blasco Ibanez.

The film won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography. The following breathtaking scenes are what in my opinion helped win the award:

The scenes where Juan's with his group of friends/matadors are sitting in the church while Juan is praying at the altar.

The powerful scene of Nacional laying in bed under a crucifix dying.

Dona Sol, dancing a very sexy dance with matador Manolo, in the Cantina.

Juan turning from the bull as he drags his cape behind him...

The bullfighting scenes are beautifully done...

Also, the last scene in the church..(Don't want to give the ending away)

It was also nominated for Best Art Direction (Richard Day, Joseph C. Wright and Thomas Little).

There are two earlier versions of Blood and Sand: A 1922 version produced by Paramount Pictures, and starring Rudolph Valentino and a 1916 version filmed by Blasco Ibanez, with the help of Max Andre.

This is a story about a young boy Juan Gallardo, who wants to become a bullfighter and follow in his dead father's footsteps.

As a young boy, Juan lying in bed looking up at his fathers poster.

Late one night, Juan, sneaks out of his room to go to the Cantina, wanting to go listen to the bullfighters stories of bravery. He gets into an argument and breaks a bottle of wine over critic Natalio Curro's head, after he talks about his father's lack of talent in the bullring.

Running away with an inch of his life, he swims across the river, dressed only his underwear, to try his skills fighting a bull under the night sky. With his childhood sweetheart Carmen, looking on from her balcony window. Her father steps in and ends the bull fight, but.. complements him on his style.

After causing trouble at the Cantina and with Carmen's father.. Juan, decides he must leave the village but, before he goes.. he promises Carmen, he will return and marry her.

Juan and his friends steal a horse and travel to Madrid, to follow their dreams of becoming a famous bullfighters. Along the way, the horse dies and Juan stops a train, with his bull fighting skills. They ride the train the rest of the way to Madrid.

Ten years later, Juan Gallardo now a matador, returns to Seville by train. Because, he and his friends can not read, they ask a fellow passenger, to read a newspaper article, about the up and coming matadors. It is not very flattering article, so the fellow passenger changes the story, so it sounds as if he received a good review.

Juan, uses his winnings to buy his mother a beautiful home. Now, she no longer has to work as a scrub-woman. He sets up his sister Encarnacion and her fiance Antonio, in their own business. He hires ex-bullfighter Garabato, who has become a beggar, as his manager. He hires a band to serenade his childhood love Carmen and presents her with a beautiful wedding dress. He then shows her the newspaper article and she reads it the way it was written. Angry, he vows that he is going to make the critic Curro eat his words.

Over the next two years, Juan becomes Spain's most famous matador. Even, the critic Curro, brags that he was the one who discovered Juan's talent. While Juan stands before his closet filled with beautiful matador costumes, being dressed by his friend Garabato. Nacional, comes in with a warning about the bulls they are to fight that day in the bull ring. Alone, with his friend Garabato, he admits to being afraid.

Later, Carmen, comes in to wish him luck and to tell him he looks like a king, but.. she is too scared to stay and watch the bullfight.

Next, we see the brave matadors with their capes and the bull, enter the arena...

Man killer Dona Sol de Muira, is sitting in the audience and Juan, blinded by Dona Sol's, beauty, she finds it easy to seduce him.

The next evening, Juan dines at Dona Sol's house and her flavor of the month Captain Pierre Lauren, realizes that he has been replaced and returns her ring.

After, Juan falls asleep on Dona Sol's patio. He wakes alone and decides to leave, but as he walks through her elaborate home, he opens a door, as luck would have it.. it's Dona Sol's bedroom, where she lays sleeping...

The next morning, with a guilty conscience Juan, gives Carmen a necklace and tells her that she is "the only true one in the world", while wearing Dona Sols ring.

Carmen, defends her husband against his family, but.. decides to leave him after she visits Dona to discuss her husband and sees Juan kissing her. Juan, follows his wife home only to find her necklace laying there on the bed.

Juan falls into a deep depression and begins drinking. Garabato, goes to work for Manolo and Don Jose, quits as his manager. Nacional, is the only one who sticks by his friend. Even though, he says that Dona Sol has stolen his killer instinct and at Juan's next bull fight, his mistake in the ring causes Nacional's death.

Dona Sol, also, looses interest in Juan and accepts the offer to dance a passionate Flamenco, with the new up and coming matador Manolo de Palma. Juan, angrily throws away her ring, realizing that he has lost her too.

He goes home to find his mother scrubbing floors of the house that they have been evicted from. Juan, then goes to Carmen to beg for forgiveness, she still loves him and takes him back. He tells her he must have one final bull fight to prove to himself.. that he is still a great matador. Will he prove himself or like his father before him.. die in the bull ring?


  1. Oh, Dawn, this is such a wonderful post about a really terrific movie. Blood and Sand is definitely a 4-star, "really like it" film for me.

    The costumes and scenery are stunning, the story is interesting and exciting, and Ty Power is completely magical with the cape---the way it twirled in front of the bull is beautiful. He looks spectacular in every costume he wears, and his acting is terrific.

    Linda Darnell is lovelier than I have ever seen her, and Rita Hayworth is completely gorgeous. While bullfighting may not be a popular sport anymore, this movie is still a must-see!

  2. What an excellent review of one of the most beautiful movies on film! That picture of Power at the top of the review has to be his best! I couldn't help but just hate Rita Hayworth's character in this movie, and that doesn't happen often with Rita! Wonderful tribute to a wonderful movie, Dawn!

  3. Dawn, I will never get enough of Tyrone Power in Technicolor, and "Blood and Sand" may be the most beautifully filmed of that beautiful man's color films. You chose an excellent "31 Days of Oscar" film to highlight. I recorded it when it aired - it's been a while since I've watched it. Only one reason: I hate bullfights! Thanks for a great post, Dawn.

    1. Eve, I don't know 1942's The Black Swan and 1943's Crash Dive both in Technicolor and Shot by Leon Shamroy look pretty darn good. Just think Ty was in back to back best color cinematography Oscar winners.BTW Crash Drive also won a special effects oscar.

    2. Oh Dawn and Eve, My wife Joann wants to point out that Crash Dive is one of her all time favorite films .Ty and Dana Andrews in Technicolor how can you lose?

    3. Paul, Please tell Joann, I will look for the classic movie, Crash Dive. If she likes it.. I'm sure I will too.

  4. Your review is very detailed even though this movie is already vintage. I'm not fan of old movies but this one captured my attention :)

    Lette's Haven

  5. Hi Dawn, I love your blog! My grandfather just watched Blood and Sand on TCM and keeps telling me that I have to see it. After reading your post, I'm even more eager to watch it. From what you write, it sounds like quite an exciting film! And the pictures you posted do a great job of highlighting what great actors Power and Hayworth were. Without having seen the movie, I already feel like I know what the scene is about by just looking at their facial expressions. Looking forward to more of your posts on the 31 Days of Oscar!

  6. Patti, Thank you. I'm really not into bullfighting, but this film is really exciting and beautiful. Not one dull moment.. and you really do not see anything too upsetting..

    Becky, Glad to see you back and thank you. I agree, with you about Rita Hayworth's part, but what an amazing dancer.. this is a must see film.

    Eve, I also, do not like bullfighting, but.. this is a beautiful film.. and is part of my DVD movie collection.

    Gillette, Thank you for stopping by. I think that you would be surprised at how many classic movies are really good. I hope that you get a chance to see the classic film, Blood and Sand. It just might be the film, that got you hooked onto "old movies".

    classyfilmlover, Thank you for stopping by. I hope that you get the opportunity to see the classic film, Blood and Sand, soon. I think that you will love it as much as I do. I absolutely love the dance scene the Anthony Quinn and Rita Hayworth.. one of the best..

    Please click on envelope located on the side bar to read others wonderful contributions to: 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon, hosted by Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken and Freckled and Paula’s Cinema Club. It runs Feb. 1 – Mar. 3, in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies’ 31 Days of Oscar. Thank you.

  7. Dawn. Excellent post on a excellent film. I still can't over the fact that Alfred Newman's score for this film is uncredited and according to IMBD Rita's singing was dubbed .

    1. Paul 2, Thank you.. I read that too. Rita, sure convinced me that she sang and played guitar in this film..

      This maybe.. the film, that got me to become a huge fan of the flamenco guitar.

  8. Dawn, I wanted to tell you something kind of comical. This afternoon, I started a new book. It's called "Letters from Home" and is a WWII era-novel, taking place in 1944.

    On page 4, there is this statement: "No doubt the dress was already Betty's favorite. From the exquisite sweetheart neckline to the elegant flow around her hips, every stitch perfectly flattered her hourglass curves. "Rita Hayworth?" Liz guessed at the inspiration.

    "Yep," Julia said proudly. "From the Gown in Blood and Sand. Except I shortened it to the knee, and improved on the sleeves."

    I thought that was ironic...we were just discussing this film yesterday...talking about how beautiful Rita was, and I read that in a book today. In days gone by (before I got into classic films), I would have read that statement and had zero clue what was being talked about. NOW, though, I know exactly what dress is being described.

  9. Patti, I love it.. when coincidences like that happen. Thank you for sharing your fun story with us.

    I would love to have Rita Hayworth's hot pink dress, from the film. Very glamorous.

  10. I only had a glimpse at this film another day, I couldn't watch it entirely. But for sure it is pretty impressive. I'd vote for any film that showed Tyrone Power's beauty through its cinematography!
    I plan to watch the silent version as well.
    Don't forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! :)

  11. Le, I will run over to check out your awesome blog.. I hope I can leave a comment.

  12. Great review! I still haven't had a chance to see this one and you have me even more excited tosee it :)


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