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The Brave Bulls

The Brave Bulls(1951)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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In the small village of Cuenca, Mexico, bull ring owner Eladio Gómez, desperate over his faltering business, lies to the townspeople that he has secured a contract with renowned matador Luís Bello. While Eladio wonders how to raise the money necessary to bring Luís to the village, the matador undergoes a crisis in confidence when he is gored while in the ring, as his manager and best friend, Raul Fuentes, watches. Although not seriously injured, Luís demands the rest of his national tour be canceled and retires to his country home. There, Luís recovers quickly, although he is plagued by nightmares and frustration at being the sole support for his family and a multitude of servants. Luís' younger brother Pepe, a rising toreador, asks Luís to have Raul get him a bullfighting contract and Luís promises to try. Growing restless with his self-enforced sabbatical, Luís decides to resume his tour in Mexico City. After Luís and Raul leave in their expensive car, Pepe and his friends start off on foot to the city to watch Luís' fight and to push Raul for a contract. In Mexico City, Raul notices Luís' tension, which heightens when they learn of the fatal goring of a star matador. Luís' "cuadrilla," who assist and protect him in the ring, also notice his anxiety, but overlook it and make encouraging remarks. That evening, Luís picks a fight with Raul, criticizing his acquaintance with the wealthy and demanding to know how his winnings are spent. Later at a local bar, Luís drinks heavily and is surprised when Raul and several socialites, including the beautiful Linda de Calderon, arrive. The next day outside the bull ring Eladio pleads with Raul to talk Luís into fighting at Cuenca. Raul suggests that if Pepe be allowed on the bill he might consider it. Raul later casually mentions to Luís fighting at Cuenca, but the matador dismisses the possibility, recalling the rough conditions and poor class of bulls used in village rings. When Eladio stops by, however, Luís relents, but insists that he will only agree if the very best Santa Marca bulls are used and Pepe be allowed to fill the lower half of the bill. Despite the enormous personal cost to him, Eladio agrees. Luís asks Raul about Linda and she invited to accompany them as Luís goes through the pre-fight ceremonies. That evening, Eladio goes to Santin, where the finest ranch of Santa Marca bulls is found, but can only afford three animals. The owner offers to throw in Brujo, a powerful bull he cannot sell because he has whiskers and no tail. The following day, the national radio broadcasts Luís' return to the ring, which is filled to capacity. The crowd is stunned and then angered when the great Bello responds with fear and trepidation in the ring, sacrificing his trademark style to remain out of range of the bull's horns. Luís is then booed heartily when the picadors tire the bull excessively before the kill, which he botches. The next matador rouses the crowd, but is gored to death, which disturbs Luís further. When the crowd jeers him upon leaving the building, Luís attacks several in the crowd until Raul subdues him. That evening meeting with reporters, Raul tries to downplay the fight and its aftermath, but Luís bitterly remarks on the hardness of the public. Later, Luís seeks solace with Linda and recounts his poor childhood and the effect bullfighting had upon him as a young boy. When Luís declares he owes everything to Raul, however, Linda is skeptical. The next morning Raul finds Linda still at Luís' hotel and reminds her of their date. When she informs him that she is growing serious about Luís, Raul cautions her to leave the bullfighter alone and Linda accuses the manager of being a manipulator. Raul firmly tells Linda that she will always belong to him. A couple of days later in Guadalajara, Pepe approaches a moody Luís before the next fight with the news that Raul was killed in an auto accident on the way to meet them. When Pepe admits that Linda was with Raul and also killed, Luís flees, ending up in a small cantina where he goes on a wild, drunken binge. Pepe fields inquiries from reporters curious about why Luís missed his fight, and assures Eladio over the phone that Luís will make the Cuenca contest scheduled for the coming weekend. After a couple of days, Pepe and the "cuadrilla" finally locate Luís and prepare him for the fight in Cuenca. Luís, Pepe and the men arrive in the village to great acclaim and celebration, but the boisterous night-long activities make it difficult for Luís to relax. The next day, during the first round of the one-on-one contest with Pepe, Luís is nervous and fearful, and when knocked down by the bull, retreats in panic behind the wooden barrier as the crowd hoots their derision. Luís eventually kills the bull through constant jeers. Pepe then takes the ring and stirs the fans with his flair, but when he is gored in the thigh before the kill, the crowd boos when Lúis returns to make Pepe's kill. Learning that Pepe is only mildly injured, Luís then faces Brujo and abruptly realizes that if he allows himself to continue to be dominated by his fears, he is throwing away his life. He salutes Brujo and gradually displays the style and bravado that made his reputation. Although grazed and tossed by Brujo, Luís makes a clean kill, and he and Pepe hobble from the ring to the crowd's roaring approval