Blood and Sand (1941)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama, Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - May 22, 1941 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 123 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Falling into the "they don't make them like this anymore" category, Blood and Sand is a very good melodrama with the romantic backdrop of Spanish bullfighting. Power desires to be the greatest matador of all time and in his quest for that title he is trapped between two powerful females, his wife Carmen and socialite Dona Sol. Linda Darnell plays Carmen with a very low-key manner, capturing the essence of a simple woman matched with a complicated man. Unfortunately for her, she's blown off the screen by Rita Hayworth as Dona Sol. Anyone who wonders where the Hayworth legend comes from should see this film. Even though her character is not one to root for, you can't take your eyes off her except in the token song performance in which her voice is dubbed anyway. Also of note is the performance of John Carradine as Power's sidekick. His is the voice of reality as Power's fame and ego begin to skyrocket and, as in most melodramas, he is the one who will end up showing Power the folly of his ways through tragic means. Legendary director Rouben Mamoulianshows a good touch with the bullfighting sequences and some of the love scenes, but the opening sequences that provide the backstory seem stiff. Then again, many of the characters seem secondary to the opulent surroundings and large crowd scenes. Filmed in the then relatively new Technicolor process, the film manages to avoid the washed out saturation that many other color films from the era suffer from today.