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An American takes up bullfighting to impress the ladies but learns to respect the sport.
While vacationing in Mexico City, Broadway producer and sportsman Johnny Regan goes to a bullfight at the Plaza Mexico with his friends, Barney and Lisbeth Flood. As they watch, the great Manolo Estrada conquers an aggressive bull while carrying out difficult passes, including one in which he kneels near the animal. That evening in a nightclub, Johnny introduces himself to Manolo and shows extra attention to a young woman in Manolo's party, Anita de la Vega. Anita is preoccupied with worry for her friend, Antonio Gomez, who was wounded during the bullfight that day and resists his attention. When Manolo realizes Johnny is a champion skeet shooter, he asks for lessons, explaining that he needs a hobby for when he retires from the ring, a promise he made to his pregnant wife Chelo. Johnny agrees but, hoping to impress Anita, asks to be taught bullfighting in return. The next day Manolo and Johnny watch toreros practice and Manolo mysteriously refers to one, Pepe Mora, as a "tragic case." To help Johnny learn basic passes, a young boy, Panchito, plays the charging bull. Later, Johnny and Manolo visit Antonio at the hospital, and Anita finally warms to Johnny's overtures of friendship. During the following days, Johnny continues his lessons. His prankish enthusiasm concerns Barney, who does not understand his interest in the dangerous sport. Anita invites everyone to her ranch for a tienta , during which breeding cows are tested for "bravery." As Manolo has sprained his right hand, he cannot personally participate, but he encourages Johnny to try basic "Veronica" passes with the cows. The over-enthusiastic Johnny tries more difficult stunts and barely escapes injury. Despite his recent wounds, Antonio also participates. When rowdy spectators accuse Manolo of cowardice for not joining in, Manolo enters the ring and to the delight of all, manages left-hand passes with a "fresh" bull, and even works in his kneeling trick. He walks off with dignity, but Chelo confronts the challengers with an impassioned speech. Johnny is impressed, and Anita tells him that in Mexico they say "she has stature." Anita also admits she is proud of Johnny, but when he sees her telling her long-time friend Antonio that she loves Johnny, he assumes they are ridiculing him. Enraged, he hits Antonio and Anita tells him to leave. Advised by Manolo to give Anita time, Johnny asks to continue his lessons with Manolo. His apology to Antonio is accepted and he is graciously invited to be in next month's corrida . Johnny also learns that the "tragic" Pepe Mora accidentally caused the death of his brother during a bullfight. On the day of the bullfight in which Johnny is to participate, Johnny gets nervous. Manolo understands, but foresees trouble. When Johnny gets the opportunity to work with a bull, the crowd taunts him at first. He does well, however, and wins their acceptance. His confidence soars and he attempts Manolo's kneeling trick. The bull charges, and Manolo jumps in to assist, but is fatally gored. When Anita finds him much later, Johnny is pacing the Plaza in the rain. She urges him to flee Mexico before irate fans try to kill him. Instead Johnny petitions Dr. Sierra, the promotor of the bullfights, to be included the following Sunday. Fearing that Johnny will be killed by the crowd, Dr. Sierra refuses, but later relents. Barney tries to dissuade Johnny, but Lisbeth understands Johnny's need to face the situation and mentions that the proceeds will go to Chelo. On Sunday, just before the corrida , Chelo gives Manolo's cape to Johnny, and says that Manolo will guide him. When it is Johnny's turn, the audience pelts him with objects. In spite of this, his performance goes well, and he kills the bull. While it is dragged away, he thanks the crowd for allowing this last appearance, noting that the man with his bull today was Manolo Estrada. Watching from the stands, Anita is told that her "man has stature." Johnny leaves with the toreros and gives Panchito his hat. When Anita catches up with him, they kiss and leave the Plaza together.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||New York opening: 26 Apr 1951|
|Release Date:||1951||Production Date:||
A JohnWayne Production
AFI Library* ; EB
|Color/B&W:||Distributions Co:||Republic Pictures Corp.|
|Sound:||Production Co:||Republic Pictures Corp.|
|Duration(mins):||87||Country:||Mexico and United States|
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The Real Nexico
Beth Amonette 2009-03-18
In the Bullfighter and the Lady, we see the real Mexico reserved for only the Mexicans, incredible, gorgeous and unavailable for Gringos to purchase. ...
I want this movie - Ole!
carlos magana 2008-07-05
I crew up with the bullfights - this is authentic stuff.Ole!
R. Gordy de Necochea 2008-06-01
This is a classic bullfighting movie directed by an American bullfighter no less, the one and only Budd Boetticher of San Diego. The cast is superb and...