The Bullfighters


1h 1m 1945

Brief Synopsis

The boys are detectives working in Mexico. Laurel happens to resemble a famous matador who has disappeared, and he is enlisted to replace him in the bullring.

Film Details

Release Date
May 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: 11 May 1945
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 1m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,479ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

Private detectives Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel travel from their home in Peoria, Illinois, to Mexico City in pursuit of criminal Hattie Blake, who is more commonly known as "Larceny Nell." They arrive at the Hotel El Matador, where Hattie is staying, and while waiting for her, the boys become involved in a water fight with a conventioneer. Meanwhile, across town, American sports promoter Richard K. Muldoon welcomes agent "Hot Shot" Coleman and his assistant, Mr. Gump, into his office to discuss the upcoming fight featuring Coleman's new client, famed Spanish bullfighter Don Sebastian. Muldoon is flabbergasted when he sees Don Sebastian's photograph, as the bullfighter is a double for Stan, who once sent Muldoon to jail with erroneous testimony. Five years into his sentence Muldoon was released after the guilty man confessed, but lost his wife and job, and has since vowed to skin Stan and Ollie alive if he ever sees them again. Coleman assures Muldoon that Don Sebastian has never before left Spain, and the men look forward to the fight. Back at the hotel, Stan and Ollie are puzzled by the attention paid to them by fawning women, who have mistaken Stan for Don Sebastian. They spot Hattie and attempt to arrest her, but she snatches away the extradition papers and pelts the detectives with eggs. Coleman and Gump, who are also staying at the hotel, receive a telegram that Don Sebastian's passport negotiations have been held up and his arrival delayed, but Coleman sees an opportunity to stall Muldoon when he spots Stan. Realizing who Stan is, Coleman threatens to reveal his presence in Mexico to Muldoon if he does not impersonate Don Sebastian for a publicity visit to a nightclub, and Stan reluctantly agrees. Ollie and Stan spend a chaotic evening at the club while Ollie tries to elude Muldoon and Stan attempts to act like a Spanish-speaking matador. Matters become even more complicated the next morning when Coleman learns that Don Sebastian will not be arriving in Mexico at all. Fearing that Muldoon will demand the advance money, which Coleman has already spent, the agent orders Stan to continue his impersonation and fight a bull. Stan and Ollie have a miserable time trying to choose a bull at a nearby farm, and soon the day of the fight arrives. Ollie tries to pacify the terrified Stan as he waits in his dressing room, and when Ollie steps out, Stan resorts to alcohol and gets drunk. As Stan is wandering around, the real Don Sebastian arrives, and Ollie, mistaking him for his friend, hurries him into the ring. Don Sebastian is performing marvelously, much to the astonishment of Ollie, when Stan appears at the ringside and a bewildered Ollie thrusts him into the fray. Confusion ensues as Muldoon realizes that his nemesis Stan is in the ring, and more bulls are loosed upon the crowd. Stan and Ollie disguise themselves with shawls and escape to their hotel, but as they are packing, Muldoon appears and gets out his knife. Later, Stan and Ollie, minus their skins, journey back to Peoria, where they belong.

Film Details

Release Date
May 1945
Premiere Information
New York opening: 11 May 1945
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 1m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,479ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

As noted in Hollywood Reporter news items, this film was originally intended to be shot partially on location in Mexico, but was instead filmed on the studio lot. An April 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item had also reported that "because of the popularity of the comics [Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy] in Latin American countries, much of the dialogue will be spoken in Spanish." Although a December 1944 studio press release announced that Stan Laurel's teenage daughter Lois would be making her screen debut in the picture, her appearance in The Bullfighters has not been confirmed. She had previously appeared in the 1938 film Swiss Miss, which starred her father and Oliver Hardy (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4445).
       Modern sources add Henry Russell to the cast and note that some of the bullfighting footage was taken from the 1941 Twentieth Century-Fox film Blood and Sand. The Bullfighters was the last film made by Laurel and Hardy for Twentieth Century-Fox and was also their last American film. The final picture in which the comics appeared together, Atoll K, was produced in France in 1950-51, but was not released in the United States until several years later.