Cast & Crew
Young Juan Gallardo sneaks out of his room to survey the Seville nightlife and goes to a cantina, where noted bullfight critic Natalio Curro is praising Garabato, the current favorite of the ring. When Curro disparages Juan's father, a matador who died fighting, the youngster hits him over the head with a bottle and starts a brawl. Escaping the cantina, Juan goes to the ranch owned by Don Jose Alvarez, where he practices fighting one of the bulls. Don Jose is impressed by the boy's courage, but his servant, Pedro Espinosa, is angry, having warned Juan before about tiring the bulls. Juan accepts Don Jose's praise, then goes to see Pedro's daughter Carmen. Juan tells his sweetheart that he is leaving the next day for Madrid with his friends, Manolo de Palma, Pablo Gomez, Luis Potaje and Sebastian, to learn to be a matador. Juan promises to return to marry Carmen, and the next day, takes leave of his mother, Señora Augustias, who denounces Juan's dangerous aspirations. Juan and his friends travel to Madrid, where they spend the next ten years training as bullfighters. On the train returning to Seville, Sebastian, who is now known as Nacional, bemoans the fact that he and his friends are illiterate and uneducated, while Manolo jealously declares that Juan has taken most of the glory and money for himself. After a fiesta celebrating his return, Juan is approached by Garabato, who is now destitute. Juan hires Garabato as a servant, then finds Carmen and gives her a wedding dress. The couple are married, and during the next two years, Juan becomes a great matador. On the day Juan makes his first formal appearance in Seville, the audience contains a beautiful and infamous temptress, Doña Sol de Muira, about whom Curro declares: If bullfighting "is death in the afternoon, she is death in the evening." The doña is excited by Juan's style, and he is so captivated by her that he throws her his mantera. The next evening, Juan dines at Doña Sol's house, and Captain Pierre Lauren, her current favorite, realizes that he has been replaced in her affections and returns her ring. Juan spends the night with the doña, and the next morning, when he gives Carmen a necklace and tells her that she is "the only true one in the world," he is wearing the doña's ring. Soon it becomes obvious to everyone that Juan has fallen under Doña Sol's spell as he neglects Carmen and his training. Although Carmen defends her husband against his detractors, she leaves him after she visits the doña to discuss the situation and sees Juan kissing her. Soon Juan's dissipation increases and he loses both Garabato, who goes to work for Manolo, and Don Jose, who quits as his manager. Nacional sticks by his boyhood friend even though he says that Doña Sol has stolen his killer instinct, and at Juan's next fight, his incompetence results in Nacional's death. As Juan's fortunes decline, Manolo's star rises, and one day, Juan and the doña see him in the cantina. Doña Sol, attracted by Manolo's brutish charm, dances with him, and Juan angrily throws away her ring, realizing that he has lost her. Just before his next fight, Juan sees Carmen praying in the arena chapel. The devoted wife tells Juan that she has never stopped loving him, and only left to wait for his sickness to pass. Re-energized by Carmen's love, Juan promises that this will be his last fight and that the two of them will then settle down on a ranch. Juan fights with his old fire, and the crowd shouts its approval. He removes his attention from the bull too soon, however, and is gored. Carmen waits in the chapel as Juan is brought in and comforts him as he dies, then tells the priest that Juan's courage will always be with her. In the arena, the crowd has already forgotten Juan and is wildly cheering Manolo, who takes his bows near a stain of Juan's blood in the sand.
J. Carrol Naish
Pedro De Cordoba
Cora Sue Collins
Oscar Boetticher Jr.
W. D. Flick
Robert T. Kane
Jose Dolores Perez
Joseph C. Wright
Darryl F. Zanuck
Best Art Direction
Blood and Sand (1941)
The situation isn't quite so simple, however. In the next few minutes we learn while Juan is certainly handsome, he's also illiterate. And he has a badly inflated idea of his talents, which are so meager that he's just received a scathingly bad review from a big-deal bullfighting critic. Since he can't read the review, he doesn't know how bad it really is, but he starts getting the picture when his train pulls into the station. Far from a triumphant welcome, hardly anyone notices that he's arrived except Senora Augustias (Nazimova), his loyal mom.
Things perk up when Juan tosses flashy gifts to old friends at a neighborhood party, and it's clear that his desire to succeed burns as brightly as ever. Can he energize his career so it's headed to victory instead of a dead end? He solves this problem by marrying Carmen (Linda Darnell), his childhood sweetheart. Sure enough, her love and encouragement turn him into a brilliant bullfighter with dexterity to spare. But then another woman - the sultry Dona Sol (Rita Hayworth) - turns a burning gaze on him in the arena, and distraction is a luxury no torero can afford. Therein lies the rest of the dramatic tale, which also involves a disgruntled assistant named Nacional (John Carradine) and a rival named Manolo (Anthony Quinn) as well as the bullfighting critic, Curro (Laird Cregar), who reappears at key moments in Juan's troubled career.
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, this is the third film based on Sangre y arena, a 1908 novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, who made the first movie version himself in his native Spain in 1917. The previous Hollywood adaptation was Fred Niblo's silent movie Blood and Sand, a 1922 release starring Rudolph Valentino as the matador, Lila Lee as his longsuffering wife, and Nita Naldi as the vamp who brings him to ruin. The acting, camerawork, and décor in Niblo's version are first rate throughout, and while Niblo shows only fleeting glimpses of what happens to bulls in the arena once the fancy cape-work is over, he gives a more candid sense of blood-sport violence than Mamoulian does.
Mamoulian is working from a different agenda, though, and his Blood and Sand is magnificent on its own terms, thanks to his visual brilliance plus the cinematography by Ernest Palmer and Ray Rennahan, who deserved every inch of the Academy Award they received. (Art directors Richard Day and Joseph C. Wright also got Oscar® nominations, and should have won.) Mamoulian had been a highly respected Hollywood filmmaker since his debut picture, the 1929 musical Applause, widely hailed for its mobile camera and on-location shooting at the beginning of the talkie era. Later he had major productions like the 1931 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Greta Garbo's 1933 romance Queen Christina to his credit. But his most historic contribution came in 1935 with Becky Sharp, the first film shot - with Rennahan behind the camera - using the three-strip Technicolor process that made color cinematography more captivating than ever before.
The same vitality is on full display in Blood and Sand, and while its pictorial values may disappoint viewers looking for gritty realism, they're a thrill for people who give a high priority to aesthetics. The colors, shadows, lighting patterns, and compositions are so elegantly arranged that they weave a sort of aura around many scenes, lending the film an ethereal beauty that verges on spirituality at moments when religious imagery - a solemn chapel, a sacred statue - figures prominently in the film's quintessentially Spanish look. Scenes of comedy, carousing, and bullfighting are more naturalistic, of course, but even they benefit from Mamoulian's meticulous attention to light and hue, and some tense moments are punctuated with bars of shadow that add a subtle film-noir effect. Even the coming-attractions trailer was in Technicolor, a first for Twentieth Century Fox.
Mamoulian doesn't resist the temptation to overdo some visual elements, especially in the symbolism department - when Nacional lies dying after being gored, for instance, it's a bit much that his arms are arranged to mirror the large crucifix hanging behind his bed. And some quiet, static moments risk stopping the movie's momentum, as when people at church are positioned in unmoving tableaus. To my eyes, however, these shots have a meditative calm that makes them enthralling instead of dull. Like the visual scheme as a whole, they reflect Hollywood artistry at its spellbinding best.
Although the acting doesn't reach such lofty levels, it gets high marks nonetheless. Power makes Juan as supple and sympathetic as he is flawed and ultimately pitiful. Darnell is sufficiently adorable as the faithful and forgiving Carmen, and Hayworth - who got to play Dona Sol after glamorous Jane Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Maria Montez, and Gene Tierney were eliminated - couldn't be much sultrier. Nazimova rarely stands out as Joan's aging mother, but she is very moving at the crucial moment when she tells anxiety-ridden Carmen that she regularly prays for her son to be gored just badly enough to be forced out of bullfighting for good. Carradine is excellent, Quinn brings Manolo fully alive in a short amount of screen time, and Cregar is splendid as the self-important corrida critic. The supporting cast also includes reliable J. Carrol Naish and ill-starred George Reeves, later to play the eponymous superhero in television's Adventures of Superman (1952-1958).
Blood and Sand was made long before the American Humane Association started monitoring animal action and assuring us that no animals were harmed. Some bullfighting footage was shot in Mexico City - where future director and bullfight enthusiast Budd Boetticher helped Power master his toreador moves - and some bulls must have met unhappy fates during this time. Still, the shots containing both matador and bull are photographed at extremely long distances (thereby covering body doubles) and edited so tactfully that few eyes will be offended. I've seen just enough bullfighting in Spain to know that I have no use for the sport, if it is a sport at all, but Blood and Sand captivated me with its artistry despite its subject. In later years, poorly chosen projects and McCarthy-era blacklisting put an early end to Mamoulian's career, but he was a tremendous talent in his way, and this colorful melodrama is a heartening reminder.
Producer: Darryl F. Zanuck
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Screenplay: Jo Swerling; based on the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez
Cinematographers: Ernest Palmer, Ray Rennahan
Film Editing: Robert Bischoff
Art Direction: Richard Day, Joseph C. Wright
Set Decorations: Thomas Little
Costumes: Travis Banton
Music: Alfred Newman
Cast: Tyrone Power (Juan), Linda Darnell (Carmen Espinosa), Rita Hayworth (Dona Sol), Nazimova (Senora Augustias), Anthony Quinn (Manolo de Palma), J. Carrol Naish (Garabato), John Carradine (Nacional), Lynn Bari (Encarnacion), Laird Cregar (Natalio Curro), William Montague (Antonio Lopez), Vicente Gomez (Guitarist), George Reeves (Captain Pierre Lauren), Pedro de Cordoba (Don Jose Alvarez), Fortunio Bonanova (Pedro Espinosa), Victor Kilian (Priest), Michael Morris (La Pulga), Charles Stevens (Pablo Gomez), Ann Todd (Carmen as a child), Cora Sue Collins (Encarnacion as a child), Russell Hicks (Marquis), Maurice Cass (El Milquetoast), Rex Downing (Juan as a child), John Wallace (Francisco), Jacqueline Dalya (Gachi), Cullen Johnson (Manolo as a child), Larry Harris (Pablo as a child), Ted Frye (La Pulga as a child), Schuyler Standish (Nacional as a child).
by David Sterritt
Blood and Sand (1941)
Blood and Sand (1922)
The 1941 Blood and Sand would not only have sound but color as well and to get the very best look, Zanuck hired Rouben Mamoulian, the director of the first three-strip Technicolor movie Becky Sharp (1935). Mamoulian had not had a chance to work with color since and was anxious to use this opportunity to push color photography to a new level. Each sequence in the movie would be modeled after the look of a great painter; the bullring scenes in the manner of Goya, the matador's dressing room after Titian, etc. If the set did not feature the right colors, Mamoulian kept a paint-filled spray can nearby for touch-ups. As Mamoulian recalled about a hospital scene, "I thought if El Greco had painted it, it wouldn't look white, it would look green and gray, so I sprayed all the sheets and painted shadows on the walls. It looked absolutely appalling to the eye, and it really shook me because I thought I'd really ruined the set, but it came out beautifully." For his efforts Blood and Sand took the 1942 Academy Award for Best Color Cinematography.
Color also had an effect on casting and accidentally created a new star. Zanuck wanted to cast Carole Landis, star of the prehistoric adventure movie One Million B.C. (1940), as Dona Sol, the temptress that leads the matador astray. Mamoulian, however, was insisting that Dona Sol's hair be red to represent her lustfulness. Landis, fearing a dye job would ruin her reputation as a blonde bombshell, refused the part and, after the testing of many actresses, the part went to 22-year old Rita Hayworth. Best known then for a supporting role in The Strawberry Blonde (1941), Hayworth got the role for her dancing skills, an important detail as a sexy tango was a central part of the film. She seemed shy off screen, but on screen in this new vamp role, her sexuality made her electrifying. As choreographer Hermes Pan recalled, "At the time I thought it would be Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell's movie, because he was the star and Linda was under contract to Fox, but when Rita came on she was just dynamite. You couldn't believe the excitement when we saw the rushes."
For her partner in the tango, Hayworth was paired with a fellow character actor rising to stardom, Anthony Quinn, who before this had primarily played small roles as thugs and criminals. In his autobiography, One Man Tango, the actor recalled that "Blood and Sand was a breakthrough mostly in that it released me from the dark-skinned gangster characters that had become my routine...As the rival matador, I was left to wait in the wings for the bulk of the picture, and my first and best chance to show what I could do came in a memorable dance scene with Rita Hayworth. I had always been able to maneuver around a dance floor, and Miss Hayworth was a facile partner. She rode my hip like it was an extension of her own body. Together we moved like lovers - which, in fact, we were, by the time we wrapped the picture."
While shooting scenes in Mexico City, Mamoulian made another discovery, a young American training to be a matador, and brought him into the production both to choreograph an authentic tango and to teach Power how to convincingly battle a bull in an arena. The young man, Budd Boetticher, would later direct several Randolph Scott Westerns which are considered superior examples of the genre (Seven Men From Now (1956), Comanche Station, 1960). Boetticher said, "I showed Tyrone Power how to do the capework but he never actually got near a bull! He wanted to but the studio wouldn't let him. They said he was too valuable a property." Unlike all these newcomers on their way up, one member of the cast was on her way out. Alla Nazimova, who had starred opposite Valentino in a version of Camille (1921), played one of her last roles in the small part of the matador's peasant mother.
Blood and Sand went on to become one of 20th Century-Fox's biggest hits of 1941 but Mamoulian later got a recognition he did not expect. "I had never been to Spain and although we actually did some filming in Mexico City, I was never really sure I had captured a true Spanish authenticity until I actually went to Spain many years later. I was most pleased to discover it looked exactly the way the Spanish masters had painted it and that it was as I had imagined it would be. People in Spain who had seen and loved the film did not believe I had never visited the country before making the film."
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Producer: Darryl F. Zanuck
Screenplay: Jo Swerling based on the novel Sangre y arena by Vicente Blasco Ibanez
Cinematography: Ernest Palmer, Ray Rennahan
Art Direction: Richard Day, Joseph C. Wright
Music: Alfred Newman
Editing: Robert Bischoff
Cast: Tyrone Power (Juan Gallardo), Linda Darnell (Carmen Espinosa), Rita Hayworth (Dona Sol), Nazimova (Senora Augustias Gallardo), Anthony Quinn (Manola de Palma), J. Carrol Naish (Garabato).
by Brian Cady
Blood and Sand (1922)
Blood and Sand (1941) - Tyrone Power in the 1941 Remake of BLOOD AND SAND on DVD
The glamour quotient of this movie can also be seen in its supporting cast. Stunning Linda Darnell plays Power's wife, while Rita Hayworth plays the sultry vixen who seduces him away. (Hayworth may have been the only actress in Hollywood - certainly the only one at Fox - who could have made a character believably stray from Linda Darnell...) Cast aside, Blood and Sand is memorable for its color, pageantry, lavish sets (especially Hayworth's home), sensual music, and so forth.
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian, Blood and Sand drew special fame for its use of color. Mamoulian had directed the first three-strip Technicolor feature, Becky Sharp (1935), and with this film he pushed the known limits of how color could be used expressively, framing and lighting scenes to imitate the look of paintings by Old Masters like Goya and El Greco. "I consider that color on the screen must be used as an emotion," he later said. "If you use it directly as the emotional expression of what you're trying to do in the scene, it takes care of its own aesthetics." In other words, Mamoulian was much more concerned with emotional impact than with naturalism or "realism."
This extended to all sorts of decisions he made on this film, much to the consternation of his young technical adviser, Budd Boetticher, who had learned to bullfight while in Mexico. Later a famous director in his own right, Boetticher landed this job after demonstrating various bullfighting passes in Darryl Zanuck's office. "In fifteen minutes I had Mr. Zanuck trying to make passes with the cape, and later playing the part of the bull for my own demonstrations," Boetticher later recalled. "Suddenly every girl in the world was about to become jealous of me, because my first job was to teach Tyrone Power how to look and move like a bullfighter."
Things were not so smooth on the set. Mamoulian, Boetticher recounted, had a little bell attached to the armrest of his director's chair. If he rang it once, the assistant director was to come running. If he rang twice, Boetticher was being summoned, and he had to stand at attention directly in front of Mamoulian, not off to the side. Boetticher would give his advice, be it about a bullfight pass or a costume or the order in which officials entered the ring, and Mamoulian would disregard them all. "He was the cruelest no-good son of a bitch in the whole world," Boetticher said. "If we had been making a baseball picture, I would probably have suggested that, following a well-hit ball, the runner should race to first base instead of third." (Years later, Boetticher and Mamoulian became good friends.) Regardless, Mamoulian was smart enough to know that making his audience feel a certain emotion was more important than showing them 100% accuracy.
Boetticher also helped choreograph the paso doble dance between Rita Hayworth and Anthony Quinn, one of the most memorable scenes in the picture. It's a dance in which the man dances the part of a matador while the lady, her arms outspread, plays the part of the bull. The scene, among others here, did a lot to cement Hayworth in the public consciousness as a major new star.
Power exudes tremendous magnetism in this movie. Though he is doubled in the bullfighting sequences by Fermin "Armillita" Espinosa, one of the greatest Mexican bullfighters of the era, he seems believable as a bullfighter because he plays the arrogance, the cockiness, so well. "The cow hasn't been born yet, that can give birth to the bull that can hurt me!" he declares. He is also excellent in many touching and tender scenes, like the one where he greets his mother (Alla Nazimova) for the first time in ten years as he steps off a train. (Admittedly, it helps that she plays the scene so well). Also memorable is the wordless sequence as he reunites with Linda Darnell and a band serenades her, in a bit of staging which echoes their previous farewell scene as children.
The strong supporting cast includes Laird Cregar as an overbearing newspaper critic, the afore-mentioned Anthony Quinn as a rival bullfighter, Alla Nazimova (superb as Power's mother), John Carradine, Lynn Bari, J. Carroll Naish, Ann E. Todd (great as a 10-year-old version of Linda Darnell) and an almost unrecognizable George Reeves as Hayworth's boyfriend - until she gets a look at Tyrone Power, that is.
Fittingly for a movie that won an Oscar for color cinematography, the DVD has a commentary by Richard Crudo, who was president of the American Society of Cinematographers guild from 2003-2006. His spiel is entirely about the history of the craft and its technique on this picture, but it's accessible, articulate and quite interesting. He gets at least one fact wrong, however. He says that Ray Rennahan, one of the two cameramen on Blood and Sand, never shot a black-and-white movie in his life. That seemed pretty amazing to this viewer, and while a check on IMDB revealed that virtually all of his features were indeed in some form of color, here's one that wasn't: Terror in a Texas Town(1958).
Blood and Sand is available by itself and as part of Fox Home Entertainment's Tyrone Power Collection, which also includes Son of Fury (1942), Captain From Castile (1947), Prince of Foxes (1949) and The Black Rose (1950). The collection abounds in commentaries, stills, trailers, short documentaries, newsreels, isolated score tracks, lobby card reproductions and a small booklet. The films vary in quality but altogether give a very entertaining sense of this swashbuckling star, making this a collection well worth seeing.
For more information about Blood and Sand, visit Fox Home Entertainment. To order Blood and Sand, go to TCM Shopping.
by Jeremy Arnold
Blood and Sand (1941) - Tyrone Power in the 1941 Remake of BLOOD AND SAND on DVD
CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE, PRINCE OF FOXES and Others are Featured in the "Tyrone Power: Swashbuckler Box Set" on DVD
The set includes Captain from Castile, a superb epic ripe for rediscovery.
1941's Blood and Sandis a bullfighting film, not a swashbuckler per se. Vicente Blasco Ibáñez' novel is something of a Spanish national epic with its story of the rise and precipitous fall of Juan Gallardo, a famous matador. It has everything: an ambitious poor boy who wants to win back his father's good name; a faithful wife (Linda Darnell), a faithless lover (Rita Hayworth) and a worn old mother (Nazimova) who foresees that her son will meet the same cruel fate as his father.
Blood and Sandis an old story exceedingly well written for the screen by Jo Swerling. Juan seeks fame and honor but never learns to read or write. His faithful retainers (John Carradine, J. Carrol Naish, Pedro de Cordoba) eventually desert him as he becomes more arrogant and irresponsible. As the debts mount, freeloading relatives like Juan's sister Encarnacíon (Lynn Bari) attack his good name. It's even lonelier at the top thanks to the pompous, predatory critic Natalio Curio (Laird Cregar). Curio feeds off the young matador's fame and then pretends that Juan's success is his doing. It's a rather accurate picture of the dishonest critic.
Tyrone Power shows in Blood and Sandthat he can handle serious dramatic roles. Linda Darnell is fresh from The Mark of Zorro and Rita Hayworth is perfect as the Spanish temptress Doña Sol des Muire. She's quite a sight when dancing with Anthony Quinn, who plays a competitor in the bullring. But Ray Rennahan's artful Technicolor cinematography probably distracted viewers from the performances. Director Rouben Mamoulian was always a pioneer in technical matters, and Blood and Sandis a showcase of interesting effects in the 3-strip process. Carmen's white wedding dress contrasts strongly with Doña Sol's alluring gowns. Mamoulian has Hayworth open a dark wrap, exposing a bright dress that lights up the screen like a matador's cape -- a trick used later by Vicente Minnelli in The Band Wagon. Under the Technicolor lights, Power's ornate matador outfits also take on magical hues.
[Spoiler] Blood and Sandretains Ibáñez' fixation on bullfighting as Fate, with the measure of a man determined by how he faces the possibility of death in the afternoon. Mamoulian stages two impressive scenes in the arena but leaves Juan's final confrontation mostly off-screen. By that time Juan has lost all of his friends, even John Carradine's Nacional, a socialist forever swearing to quit the corrupt blood sport. The old matador played by J. Carroll Naish curses not the bulls, but the bloodlust of the crowd that gathers for the ritual slaughter.
Fox's Blood and Sand has received a lucky break from the gods of video restoration. The clear image closely approximates the look of original Technicolor prints, with contrast ranging from inky blacks to the bright gleam in Rita Hayworth's eyes. Perhaps this Oscar winner for Cinematography received special treatment when labs were converting Tech films to normal Eastmancolor. The soundtrack features Alfred Newman's standard score and some great flamenco music. I presume that Ms. Hayworth's singing voice is dubbed, but she sounds very good.
Besides a photo gallery the main extra on Blood and Sand is a commentary by a director of photography, Richard Crudo. He devotes his track to camera-related issues, talks a bit about the Technicolor process and tends to drift onto tangential topics. The way to really learn about Technicolor on DVD is still Turner's fine documentary Glorious Technicolor, included on the special edition disc of The Adventures of Robin Hood. Blood and Sandis considered a textbook film when studying what Technicolor can and cannot do.
Made right at the outbreak of WW2, Son of Fury, the Story of Benjamin Blake is a fine example of Power as the archtype conceived by Darryl Zanuck: a disinherited nobleman fighting to regain his good name and fortune. The surprise is that Philip Dunne's good writing and John Cromwell's assured direction make this formula seem fresh once again.
Young Benjamin Blake (Master Roddy McDowall as a child) is the unrecognized son of the Blake family. Unscrupulous uncle Sir Arthur (George Sanders) takes Ben on as a bonded stable boy to ensure that he can never claim his noble title. As an adult, Benjamin woos Sir Arthur's daughter Isabel (Frances Farmer) and is accused of assault by his uncle, a hanging offense. With the help of a bar girl (Elsa Lanchester) Benjamin escapes to the South Seas, jumps ship with another bitter convict (John Carradine) and lives happily among the Polynesians, harvesting pearls and romancing an island girl that he names Eve (Gene Tierney). Benjamin returns to London with a fortune in pearls and engages lawyer Bartholomew Pratt (Dudley Digges) to recover his title and clear up his legal problem, so he can marry Isabel. Blake is instead arrested; when asked, Pratt disavows any knowledge of him.
The unpretentious Son of Fury is another undeservedly ignored gem. Unlike most swashbuckling heroes, Blake is not invincible. He loses several fistfights and is clubbed for talking back to the Captain of a sailing ship, who goes right on calmly giving instructions to his crew. Blake consistently puts his trust in others, a policy that pays off only 50% of the time.
Darryl Zanuck assembles a quality cast. Elsa Lanchester's good time girl is overjoyed at being treated like a lady by Blake's thoughtful gentleman. John Carradine is a terrific hardened criminal who finds peace and happiness in a South Seas paradise. As Carradine frequently plays villains, Son of Fury seems like a personal reprieve -- it's a joy to see him smile. The high-profile barrister Dudley Digges gets two entire scenes almost to himself. Harry Davenport is Blake's maternal grandfather, who is thrown into prison when Benjamin flees the country.
George Sanders must have loved playing S.O.B.'s, because his dastardly aristocrat is a real stinker. The marvelous Frances Farmer (Come and Get It) dresses up the first part of the picture with her wonderful smile and ambiguous affection for Blake. Also making sparks with Power is Gene Tierney as a Hollywood Polynesian complete with the full Max Factor treatment. She's a vision, and a major impetus for Blake to find a higher value than simply taking his uncle's place in the House of Lords. Son of Fury generates a good feeling about its characters and ends with a romantic reunion on the beach that leaves us feeling exhilarated. When Powers kissed 'em, they apparently stayed kissed.
Son of Fury is in fine shape, giving us John Cromwell's classy masked ball and the studio-bound Polynesian beaches in their original B&W glory. The Alfred Newman score has been isolated, the kind of extra that studios can give us any time, with thanks. The new featurette is an overview of the middle section of Tyrone Power's career, and is the best of the group of short subjects on these discs. Still & advertising galleries and a trailer are included as well.
1948's Captain from Castile is this collection's real dazzler. I wouldn't be surprised if the handlers and agents of Hollywood's top ten male stars see this disc in the next few weeks and propose a remake as a perfect vehicle for their clients. Castile makes Power the central character in nothing less than the Conquest of Mexico and paints a refreshingly non- PC view of La Conquista. Driven from his home by The Inquisition, Pedro de Vargas (Power) heads for Santo Domingo with rogue friends Lee J. Cobb and Jean Peters (in her first movie). There he hooks up with the near-piratical gold-hungry expedition of Hernán Cortez. This is probably the best role ever played by Cesar Romero; his Cortez hijacks the expedition from its lawful leaders and by charisma alone aims straight for Moctezuma's fabled City of Gold. Aztec interpreter Doñ Marina gives Cortez a linguistic advantage over Montezuma's advance guards and ambassadors, enabling him to bluff, bribe and smile his way toward the capitol. Curiously, the expected armed conflicts take place mostly off screen while we concentrate on Pedro's romance with Catana, the Jean Peters character. In what looks like some compromised restructuring, Pedro is gravely wounded in two redundant incidents, while we never see the battles with Moctezuma's armies.
This is perhaps the only film to capture the full spirit of the Spanish conquest. The Conquistadores may be ruthless opportunists but they also have the sheer guts to risk all in a wild quest. Life is short and death can come from almost anything, even a bellyache. Why not go for the big prizes of honor and riches as well as the blessings of God and country? Cortez laughs as he burns his own ships, forcing his men to trust in his grandiose promises of glory. One man's personality motivates an entire army.
The film provides a complex look at class differences and the role of Spain's corrupt Inquisitors. The handling of the Inquisition raises parallels with the American blacklist, but Captain from Castile is a couple of years too soon to have been inspired by the happenings at HUAC. Some viewers may also be surprised that the show does not portray the Aztecs as innocent victims. Cortez successfully conquered a nation that could easily have annihilated him, had it not been intimidated by his horses and his utter self-confidence.
The film benefits from terrific Mexican location work that evokes both Spain and the New World. The costumes and sets are superb; all that is lacking for the modern viewer are elaborate battle scenes. The ending will surprise some, as the story reaches its climax just as the wonders of victory lie before the conquerors, in a vision of a city floating on a lake. A real volcano is seen erupting behind many grand shots of marching armies -- no mattes, no fakery.
Finally, Alfred Newman's score is one of the best Hollywood ever turned out. A weird theme accompanies the Jean Peters character, a choice that's difficult to understand. The exultant Spanish march cue makes one want to jump in the saddle and cabalgar alongside Power and Romero; in 1954 the USC marching band adopted it as the school's official tune.
John Sutton is the hissable villain, Antonio Moreno is Pablo's noble father and Barbara Lawrence (Kronos) is Luisa, a high-toned Castilian girlfriend. When Pablo is sought by the inquisition, Luisa's reaction is to fret that she might be implicated should her handkerchief be found on him. Other notable faces include Alan Mowbray, Thomas Gomez, Marc Lawrence, Jay Silverheels, Chris-Pin Martin and Estela Inda as Doña Marina, Cortez's interpreter and paramour.
Captain from Castile's very good transfer almost captures the original's Technicolor luster. It has no real flaws but the colors in some scenes are on the weak side. A chatty commentary combines critic Rudy Behlmer and music expert Jon Burlingame with moderator Nick Redman; they discuss all of the actors as well as the film's status as one of the biggest productions of its day. The entire Alfred Newman score is provided on its own track, synchronized with cue IDs and conductor comments intact. Audio tracks in French and Spanish are provided but the Spanish track sampled appeared to make use of a different music score. An interview featurette gathers Patricia Neal, Colleen Gray, Terry Moore and Jayne Meadows to comment about their co-star, but soon bogs down in repetitious talk of how handsome and nice Power was. A B&W trailer and still & art galleries finish the package.
Prince of Foxes is yet another intelligent costume drama, one almost too intelligent for American audiences of the time. Power begins the show as Andrea Orsini, an unscrupulous opportunist doing dirty jobs for Cesare Borgia (Orson Welles, in fine form and perhaps at a decent weight for the last time). As an emissary, Orsini paves the way for Borgia to annex a neighboring petty kingdom, using flattery and well-timed bribes. Then Cesare dispatches Andrea to murder Count Verano (Felix Aylmer), woo his wife Camila (Wanda Hendrix, yet another interesting romantic foil for Power) and take their city fortress Cittá del Monte. Orsini is instead redeemed by Camila's fidelity to her husband, and changes sides to defy Borgia's mercenary armies. His only ally is Mario Belli (Everett Sloane), an assassin with the unmistakable face of a complete knave.
The big twist is that Andrea is actually a complete imposter; his mother is a poor peasant named Costanza (Katina Paxinou). Orsini's conversion to the side of goodness is well motivated. His defenders at Cittá del Monte can hold out against Borgia's armies only for so long, leaving him with the bitter choice is to flee or die defending a woman he's never possessed.
The utter ruthlessness of Welles' Borgia is a major delight; when Cesare and Belli chortle over each other's craven villainy, we can't help but be moved. Everett Sloane gets what may be 1949's most sadistic scene: at a fancy dinner, the assassin Belii offers to gouge a man's eyes out with his thumbs, and Camila is forced to watch.
Contributing heavily to director Henry King's success are the authentic locations in Italy. When we see a castle on a hill in this movie, it's the real deal. Most of the castle interiors also look authentic, enhancing the film's special atmosphere. The majority of the supporting characters are Italians but familiar Italian-American Eduardo Ciannelii has a nice bit, along with Mexican looker Ariadna Welter, later of The Brainiac and The Devil's Hand, which starred Tyrone Powers' second wife, Linda Christian. As many viewers have said, if Prince of Foxeswere in color, it would probably be considered a classic.
The print of Prince of Foxes is in great shape, showing off Leon Shamroy's fine B&W cinematography. Alfred Newman's music score is isolated on a second audio track. Besides the expected trailer and photo galleries, the disc offers a Movietone newsreel of Tyrone Power and Linda Christian's Italian wedding ceremony, which took place right after the completion of filming.
The newest picture in the package is 1950's The Black Rose from Thomas B. Costain, the author of The Silver Chalice. This costume picture ranges from England to China during the Crusades and was photographed in Technicolor by the great Jack Cardiff. Power is fine as Walter of Gurnie, a de-classed Saxon who prefers to seek his fortune in the Orient rather than serve a Norman king. Henry Hathaway directs, well enough to surmount some odd script transitions.
The rousing story engages a lively cast. James Robertson Justice is a man of letters, Finlay Currie is Walter's gruff grandfather and a young Laurence Harvey is Walter's mean-spirited half-brother. Michael Rennie is the fair-minded King Edward; this may be the role that landed Rennie the career-altering part of Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still. But the film's brightest supporting performance is by Jack Hawkins as Tristram Griffin, a longbow-wielding sidekick who earns equal status with Power in all but the romance department.
On the way to the Far East the adventurers meet a wild mix of character actors. From The Treasure of the Sierra Madre are Alfonso Bedoya as a caravan boss and Robert "Bobby" Blake as a servant boy. Peter Sellers reportedly dubbed a rather weird voice for Bedoya. The presence of these two actors makes us think that The Black Rose's Persian and Chinese desert vistas may have been filmed in Southern California. Herbert Lom is the caravan's owner; but his angles may have been filmed in England separate from the surrounding material.
The film manages a charming love story. The pixie-ish Cécile Aubrey, fresh from H.G. Clouzot's Manon is Maryam, a half-Persian half-English waif being shipped by Caravan as a concubine for the Kubla Khan. Maryam masquerades as a second helper boy. She slowly wins Walter over to her girlish dream -- of marrying a handsome English knight and returning with him to England. It's all handled charmingly.
Meanwhile, Walter and Tris have to contend with an imposing Persian general, Bayan of the Hundred Eyes. Orson Welles plays this barbarian with his usual bombast and hauteur and befriends the two adventurers. Welles is already much heavier than in his previous year's Prince of Foxes. When Tristram shows his skill his longbow "Sarah", Walter decides not to tell the archer that if he misses, Bayan will have his head bashed in. The two friends break up in Cathay after becoming disillusioned by Bayan's war strategy: the general orders his troops to murder thousands of Chinese. Walter and Tris are then captured by the Dowager Empress and locked in a lavish pavilion; she believes that they're magic bird-gods sent from heaven to cast a spell of peace blocking Bayan's onslaught. When the war continues, the future doesn't look good for our heroes and Maryam. But Tris still has his longbow and Walter has been learning about the Chinese secret weapon called gunpowder.
The Black Rose is a fine movie but the disc looks drab compared to old Technicolor prints that sported the magical color contrasts of other films by cameraman Jack Cardiff, like Black Narcissus. It's nobody's fault, unless one expects Fox to commit a multi-million dollar restoration to a film with few commercial prospects. On small monitors the image will look fine, but on a projection TV the show is muddy and colors aren't as attractive as they might be. The film's many matte shots also fare poorly; the entire trip from Arabia to the Great Wall of China seems to be accomplished in front of a painter's canvas, with a little smoke thrown in. Luckily, the close-ups of Power and Cécile Aubrey look fine, and in this adventure the characters carry the story.
The Black Rose has a featurette called Tyrone Power: Family Reunion that gathers relatives like Tyrone Power IV, Taryn Power and Linda Christian on a sofa to discuss the actor's career. It's slow going once we've figured out who's who. An interactive pressbook is rather complicated to access; a still gallery and trailer are also present.
The Tyrone Power: Swashbuckler Box Set celebrates an enormously popular star never afforded much industry respect for his superior acting. Fox has transferred the films as carefully as possible, with only The Black Rose verging on inadequate in the image department. Each slim-cased disc contains an envelope with little collectable postcard - sized stills. The slipcover is a bit on the flimsy side but displays great artwork, as do the individual discs.
For more information about Tyrone Power: Swashbuckler Box Set, visit Fox Home Entertainment. To order Tyrone Power: Swashbuckler Box Set, go to TCM Shopping.
by Glenn Erickson
CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE, PRINCE OF FOXES and Others are Featured in the "Tyrone Power: Swashbuckler Box Set" on DVD
The tailor, Jose Dolores Perez, made exact copies of two of famed bullfighter Francisco Gomez Delgado's (Armallita) matador suits to be worn by 'Power, Tyrone' .
This movie's trailer was the first to be produced in Technicolor.
Rita Hayworth's first Technicolor film.
Director Rouben Mamoulian based many of the film's color schemes and designs on the works of great Spanish painters such as El Greco and Velasquez.
According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, Hedy Lamarr was considered for the part of "Doña Sol." A January 20, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that after M-G-M refused to loan Lamarr to Twentieth Century-Fox for the role, Mona Maris was tested for it. On January 29, 1941, Hollywood Reporter announced that Lynn Bari, who appears in the finished film as "Encarnacion," was assigned "to the role for which the studio tried to borrow" Lamarr. Modern sources note that Carole Landis, Jane Russell, Gene Tierney, Dorothy Lamour and Maria Montez were also considered for the part, for which Rita Hayworth was borrowed from Columbia. In February 1941, Hollywood Reporter news items noted that Patricia Morison, a Paramount contract player, was being tested for "one of the top roles," and that Sigrid Gurie was also tested for the film. Neither actress appears in the completed picture, however. According to a November 27, 1940 Hollywood Reporter news item, Cesar Romero was set for a role in the picture and was to receive co-star billing with Tyrone Power. Although Hollywood Reporter production charts include Alan Curtis in the cast, he was not in the released film. According to studio publicity and information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, also located at UCLA, renowned bullfighter Armillita instructed Power and other cast members in bullfighting techniques, as well as serving as Power's double in some of the bullfighting sequences shot on location. The legal records note that tailor Jose Dolores Perez made exact copies of two of Armillita's matador suits to be worn as costumes by Power. Contemporary sources indicate that the bullfighting sequences and other background material were shot on location in Mexico City, although Power was the only cast member involved in the location shooting. Although a March 3, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that a "Spanish bullring yarn" by Fortunio Bonanova, entitled La vida y milagros, was purchased by Twentieth Century-Fox "as a protective vehicle for possible follow-up with same cast if Blood and Sand proves a smash," Bonanova's novel was not produced as a film. An April 11, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Bonanova wrote two Spanish songs entitled "Spanish Gypsy Song" and "Flamenco," which were to be sung by him in the picture, but studio records credit Bonanova with contributing only one song, "Tu no te llamas," to the completed picture. According to an April 1941 Hollywood Reporter news items, the trailer for the picture was to be the first Technicolor trailer produced by the studio. On May 1, 1941, Hollywood Reporter announced Zanuck's decision to release the film at its "present length" of 125 minutes, rather than following the original plan to cut it to 90 minutes. The news item also stated that the picture was scheduled "for a sneak preview below the border, probably in Hermosillo, Sonora, to get the reaction of Latin Americans to the film." According to a letter in the film's file in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Twentieth Century-Fox intended to prepare "a special edition" of the picture for "circulation in South American countries." The purpose of the alternate version was to "include certain bullfighting scenes, which while they would not be acceptable in the American version, will, nevertheless, be accepted in countries where bullfighting is permitted." No other information about an alternate version of the film has been found. Blood and Sand received an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (color) and nominations for Best Art Direction and Interior Decoration. Blood and Sand marked the first film work of technical advisor Oscar "Budd" Boetticher, Jr., who began directing films in the mid-1940s, several of which dealt with bullfighting. According to contemporary sources, Boetticher was in Mexico at the time of filming studying the techniques of bullfighting, which he taught to Power. Along with dance director Geneva Sawyer, Boetticher helped to stage the "El Torero" dance between Hayworth and Anthony Quinn. The picture also marked the return to Hollywood of actor/director Monty Banks, who is billed onscreen as William Montague. Although Banks had appeared as an actor in several English productions during the 1930s, his last appearance in an American film had been in the 1928 picture A Perfect Gentleman. Modern sources note that Hayworth's singing voice was dubbed by Graciela Párranga. Vicente Blasco Ibáñez' novel was dramatized by Tom Cushing in a play entitled Blood and Sand (New York, 20 September 1921). Although Twentieth Century-Fox purchased the rights to Cushing's play, as well as to the novel, studio records indicate that no material from the play was used in the 1941 film. Blasco Ibáñez' novel was first filmed in a five-reel, Spanish-made version, which was distributed in the United States by Cosmos-Kinema in May 1917. In 1922, Fred Niblo directed Valentino, Nita Naldi and Lila Lee in a Paramount production of the novel (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0478). According to studio records, Twentieth Century-Fox contemplated filming the novel again in 1957, with Sophia Loren in the role of "Doña Sol," but did not due to difficulties in clearing the rights. A Lux Radio Theatre version of the story, starring Power and his real-life wife Annabella as "Carmen," was broadcast on October 20, 1941.
Released in United States Spring May 1941
Released in United States Spring May 1941