The rags-to-riches tale of a matador, September 23, 2005
"Blood and Sand," stars Tyrone Power as Juan Gallardo, the son of a matador who died in the arena. Juan vows to be even better than his father, and gradually does become the most honored bullfighter in Sevilla. Along the way he marries his childhood sweetheart, Carmen (Linda Darnell), and falls under the spell of a wealthy and heartless socialite (Rita Hayworth).
When this was made in 1941, movies focused on vibrant Technicolor, dramatic stories, stirring music, and beautiful stars, sometimes to the exclusion of subtlety or accuracy in the script. Such is the case with "Blood and Sand." It is glamour all the way, with sumptuous costumes and lead actors that are startlingly handsome. Power is charming as the swaggering matador, Darnell is the picture of devotion, and Hayworth is drop-dead gorgeous as the playgirl who uses men. None of them look, speak, or seem particularly Spanish, however, nor do the supporting actors such as John Carridine and George Reeves (TV's Superman). The dialogue tends to be cliché and melodramatic and the few Spanish words are mispronounced, but the point of the movie is to enjoy the visual spectacle, and that is very easy to do. The bullfighting scenes are stock footage, filmed at a distance, so there is no gore. Overall, this is a very pleasant film about pride, love, and ambition.