Blood and Sand DVD
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Directed by Rouben Mamoulian
Produced in 1941
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - American film
Rita Hayworth, Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell star in this sumptuous bullfighting drama. It's a scandal director Rouben Mamoulian made only three more films, writes David Parkinson.
Such is the critical emphasis on story and performance that it’s too often forgotten that cinema is a visual medium. This Technicolor adaptation of a classic bullfighting novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez is a case in point.
The 1922 silent monochrome version of Blood and Sand had reinforced Rudolph Valentino’s reputation; what matters most in Rouben Mamoulian’s remake of the melodrama are the lustrous visuals and the exquisite care taken to achieve them. Ernest Palmer and Ray Rennahan would win the Academy Award for their colour cinematography, and the lustre of three-strip Technicolor has never seemed so rich and shimmering.
The screenplay by Jo Swerling ably charts the rise and fall of a Seville matador and shows how true love is more important than faux fame and glory. Similarly, the ensemble does well to convey the Spanish passion for the cruellest of sports and the stereotypically Hispanic hot-bloodedness that would persuade Tyrone Power to stray from the devoted Linda Darnell into the arms of temptress Rita Hayworth. Yet the key to this predominantly studio-bound picture evoking the authentic Castilian spirit was the Oscar-nominated art direction of Richard Day and Joseph C. Wright, who worked closely with Mamoulian to ensure that each set reflected the style of such renowned Spanish artists as El Greco, Goya and Velázquez.
Editor Robert Bischoff also plays a crucial role in generating suspense during the bullfighting sequences, which mixed location footage shot in Mexico City with carefully blocked cape moves that were designed by the renowned torero Miguel ‘Armillita’ Espinosa and future director Budd Boetticher. Boetticher’s first screen credit also included a collaboration with Geneva Sawyer in choreographing the tango that signals Hayworth’s shift of lust from Tyrone Power to his erstwhile compañero and now bitter rival, Anthony Quinn.
Mamoulian’s artistry sets Blood and Sand apart and it’s a scandal that a combination of self-promoting hubris and studio philistinism meant that the first director of a Technicolor feature (Becky Sharp, 1935) only completed three more pictures.
David Parkinson on 18th July 2012
Author of 191 reviews
An Oscar winner for its unforgettably lush Technicolor cinematography, Blood and Sand tells the story of a man who rises to become Spain's greatest matador, only to fall victim to his inability to handle love and power. Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell and Rita Hayworth star in this passionate melodrama.
To save his mother and little sister from a life of poverty in the slums of Seville, Juan Gallardo (Tyrone Power) seeks fame and fortune in the brutal bullring as a matador. He marries his childhood sweetheart (Linda Darnell) and fights his way to glory as Spain’s greatest bullfighter.
Gallardo’s fame, however, attracts the attention of a stunningly beautiful, hot-blooded aristocrat (Rita Hayworth). She decides she wants him – and now Gallardo faces both death in the bullring and self-destruction in the arms of a fickle temptress.
Publisher: Odeon Entertainment
Length: 121 mins
Aspect ratio: 4:3
Cat No: ODNF347
Format: DVD Colour
- Digitally Remastered Picture and Sound
- Audio Commentary by director of Photography Richard Crudo
- Stills Gallery
- Collector's Booklet.
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