Cast & Crew
Just before they are to graduate from college, Eddie Williams and his friend Ricardo are expelled after Ricardo places a drunk Eddie in the girls' dormitory as a practical joke. Ricardo then convinces Eddie to journey with him to his native Mexico to meet his beloved Anita Gomez. While Eddie waits for Ricardo at the bank, however, he is shanghaied as a getaway driver by bank robbers. Eddie tries to escape, but is taken to the gang's hideout, where they decide to send him to Mexico instead of killing him. While Eddie waits at the border, Ricardo visits Anita, and is told by her father Alonzo that she is betrothed to Pancho, a rich matador who saved Anita's late mother from a gang of notorious bandits. Alonzo convinces Ricardo that Pancho is a better match for Anita, and Ricardo agrees to leave for her sake. Ricardo then finds Eddie after he has crossed the border and helps him disguise himself from Crawford, an American detective following him. Ricardo tells Crawford that Eddie is the famous bullfighter Don Sebastian II and is there for an important fight to be held the following Sunday. Crawford is wise to the charade, however, especially when he sees Eddie's well-known hysterical reaction to whistles, and he promises to attend the fight. Ricardo, once again determined to win Anita, returns to the Gomez house with Eddie, whom he introduces to Alonzo. Alonzo, who was friends with Don Sebastian I, supposedly Eddie's father, is delighted to meet him, but warns Ricardo to stay away from Anita. Ricardo and Eddie then fight with Pancho and his friend Pedro, who is the boyfriend of Anita's friend Rosalie, and the two friends are arrested. Eddie is bailed out by Alonzo, then goes to the house to steal Anita away for Ricardo. Because Eddie has never met Anita, however, he takes Rosalie instead. Rosalie flirts with Eddie during their drive, and jealous Pedro captures him and gives him to the bandits, who are secretly led by Pancho. Eddie escapes from the bandits and finds Ricardo the next day, and the two prepare for the bullfight, which Eddie must go through with to deceive Crawford. Ricardo arranges for Eddie to fight "Max," a trained bull who halts upon hearing the word "Popocatépetl," but on the day of the event, Pancho and Pedro switch Max with "Diablo," a killer bull. The great American bullfighter Sidney Franklin opens the games, then Eddie confronts Diablo. It does not take Eddie long to realize that Diablo is not Max, but thanks to his quick feet and some chloroform, Eddie bests the ferocious animal. Later, Crawford reveals that Eddie was never a suspect in the robbery, but he did not tell him because he wanted to see him fight. That night, Alonzo throws a party and gives his blessing to Ricardo and Anita, and Eddie proposes to Rosalie.
J. Carrol Naish
Robert E. O'connor
Harry C. Bradley
Theresa Maxwell Conover
Ben Hendricks Jr.
Donna Mae Roberts
Arthur Hornblow Jr.
William Anthony Mcguire
The Kid from Spain - The Kid From Spain
Born in 1892, the energetic Cantor, a kid from Lower East Side New York, had crafted his musical comedy act from his early days on Coney Island as a teenage singing waiter to the vaudeville stage where he became famous for both his song interpretations in traditional blackface and his own unique brand of ethnic comedy which delighted New York City audiences. He was soon snapped up by impresario Florenz Ziegfeld and eventually featured in the legendary Ziegfeld Follies alongside stars like Will Rogers, Bert Williams and W.C. Fields. Cantor had his first solo Broadway hit in 1923 with Kid Boots, and after his 1928 show Whoopee! became a big hit, Samuel Goldwyn brought him to Hollywood to make the movie adaptation of Whoopee! (1930, filmed in 2-strip Technicolor), his first feature film (he had previously appeared in some movie shorts). When the film made a tidy profit, Goldwyn wanted to start on another Cantor movie immediately.
Eddie Cantor already had a story in mind for his second film. He loved the idea of basing a movie around the real-life exploits of his childhood friend Sidney Franklin, an artist from Brooklyn who had gone to Mexico to paint and study history but ended up learning to bullfight. Franklin eventually became one of the top bullfighters in the world, headlining in corridas in Spain and Mexico, and making friends with fellow bullfighting aficionado Ernest Hemingway who would write about him in Death in the Afternoon, the writer's non-fiction study of the sport. Cantor could already envision a slapstick ending to his proposed movie, a madcap bullring scene with Eddie's consummate coward character meeting a bull face-to-face.
Goldwyn wasn't convinced and told Eddie that he wasn't sure the public wanted a Spanish-themed musical comedy. Even though Cantor tried to sell him on the universality of the comic bullfighting pantomime that would appeal to audiences anywhere -- including the lucrative European market -- Goldwyn chose instead to star Eddie in Palmy Days (1931), a frantic comedy hit which eventually made over a million dollars at the box office. After sewing up Cantor's services with a multi-picture contract, the producer reconsidered and purchased the bullfighter story. He engaged songwriters Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar, composers of hits like "Three Little Words" and the songs for Marx Brothers' films such as Animal Crackers (1930) and Horse Feathers (1932), as screenwriters. He also hired scenarist William Anthony McGuire who had written Whoopee! and Kid Boots for Cantor. Ruby and Kalmar, along with Cantor and musical director Alfred Newman, took a shortened version of the script and score to San Francisco, where Eddie tried out the material at a theatre over multiple daily shows for a week's engagement, getting audience reactions and honing the jokes.
Back in Hollywood with a crowd-tested script and songs, Eddie and the gang were paired up with director Leo McCarey, a Hal Roach Studio veteran writer/director of Our Gang, Charley Chase and Laurel & Hardy comedy shorts who had graduated into features. The Kid from Spain would be photographed by Gregg Toland, one of the youngest and most innovative cinematographers in Hollywood, who worked extensively for Goldwyn during the 1930s. He would later go on to pioneer the deep focus technique as seen in Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941). Choreographer and dance director Busby Berkeley was brought on to stage the elaborate musical sequences, a job he had already performed on previous Cantor hits Whoopee! and Palmy Day.
Actress Lyda Roberti was cast as Cantor's female co-star. Roberti was a show business veteran; her father was a famous German clown, and her mother a circus bareback rider from Poland. Lyda began her career under the tent, traveling all over Europe and Asia with her parents' troupe, and ended up stranded in Shanghai when the circus went bankrupt. Roberti literally sang and danced for her supper, eventually saving up enough money to sail to San Francisco and start her performing career there on the vaudeville stage. After continuing on to Los Angeles where her performing career prospered, Lyda eventually caught the eye of stage comedian Lou Holtz who offered her a job in his next show if she'd come to New York. She did, and wowed the Broadway audiences with her blonde beauty and charming, unique accent. She returned to the West Coast to star in movies; The Kid from Spain was her fourth, coming directly after her female lead in the W.C. Field's comedy Million Dollar Legs (1932). Unfortunately, the talented Roberti was plagued by health problems and died of a heart attack in 1938 at the age of 31.
The rest of the cast of The Kid from Spain was filled with both new faces and veteran screen and stage performers. Robert Young was improbably cast but competent as Ricardo, Eddie's Mexican friend and the picture's male romantic lead. Offscreen Young was an introvert who was encouraged to become an actor by his future wife who introduced him to the Pasadena Playhouse in Los Angeles. Actress Ruth Hall, who had appeared onscreen with the Marx Brothers in Monkey Business (1931), played Young's girlfriend Rosalie. John Miljan, one-time silent leading man who transitioned into playing villains (after surmising that his matinee idol days were behind him), co-starred as Pancho, Ricardo's suave bullfighter rival for Rosalie's hand. Noah Beery, who had been in movies since 1913 and was the brother of Wallace Beery, played Rosalie's father. J. Carrol Naish appeared as Pedro, Pancho's evil henchman, who was instrumental in setting up the movie's final and riotous sequence, the comedy bullfight with Eddie mistaking a savage bull for a promised harmless opponent.
As with all of his musicals, Samuel Goldwyn was proud of the dazzling line-up of chorus girls, known as the Goldwyn Girls, who appeared in the elaborate song and dance sequences of The Kid from Spain. Nearly thirty beautiful young actresses labored in their uncredited roles in the movie, including young Jane Wyman, Paulette Goddard, Toby Wing and Betty Grable, all platinum blondes at the time. Busby Berkeley put the lovelies through their paces in two characteristically elaborate musical sequences, the first a swimming pool-set number with the scantily clad Goldwyn Girls going about their duties wearing high heels. They were also featured in a fantastical sequence set inside a Mexican nightclub.
Bullfighter Sidney Franklin, Eddie's inspiration for The Kid from Spain, even made a brief appearance as himself in the movie; in fact, on the day of the filming of the big bullfight finale, the location was packed with some of Hollywood's biggest names. Goldwyn had invited his pals to watch the sequence; disguised under huge sombreros, Harpo Marx, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Douglas Fairbanks enjoyed watching Eddie Cantor go through his comic paces. And of course there was at least one choice "Goldwynism" connected with The Kid from Spain (the producer was famous for his malapropisms). Frustrated with a string of bad weather days that held up filming, Goldwyn railed at director Leo McCarey: "Tomorrow we shoot, whether it rains, whether it snows, whether it stinks."
Goldwyn needn't have worried too much about making his money back on The Kid from Spain. Eddie Cantor's hilarious comedy antics won over audiences, and many critics as well. Mordaunt Hall in The New York Times called it "an astutely arranged combination of fun and beauty, with such effective groupings of dancing girls that these scenes themselves aroused applause." The Los Angeles Express called it "one of the funniest, most exciting, most eye-filling comedies yet offered on the screen."
Although The Kid from Spain didn't match the box office success of Palmy Days, it was still a great success for Goldwyn and Eddie Cantor. And the film's star, revealing his lower East Side roots, had something to say about Goldwyn's ambitious New York City ticket price at the lush Palace Theater. Commenting in a letter to Variety he revealed, "I'd be much happier if The Kid from Spain were playing at the Rivoli for 75 cents."
Producer: Samuel Goldwyn
Director: Leo McCarey
Screenplay: Bert Kalmar, William Anthony McGuire, Harry Ruby
Cinematography: Gregg Toland
Art Direction: Richard Day
Music: Harry Ruby
Film Editing: Stuart Heisler
Cast: Eddie Cantor (Eddie Williams aka Don Sebastian II), Lyda Roberti (Rosalie), Robert Young (Ricardo), Ruth Hall (Anita Gomez), John Miljan (Pancho), Noah Beery (Alonzo Gomez), J. Carrol Naish (Pedro), Robert Emmett O'Connor (Det. Crawford), Stanley Fields (Jose), Paul Porcassi (Gonzales), Sidney Franklin (himself, the American Matador).
by Lisa Mateas
The Kid from Spain - The Kid From Spain
Actor Paul Porcasi's credit was misspelled onscreen as "Paul Porcassi." According to the picture's pressbook and a Los Angeles Examiner article, two years before production began, Eddie Cantor discussed with producer Samuel Goldwyn the idea for a film in which he would portray a "pop-eyed Jewish brat from Brooklyn who grew up to become the world's greatest bullfighter." Cantor loosely based the idea on the life of his friend, Sidney Franklin (not to be confused with director Sidney Franklin), who was the only prominent American bullfighter at the time. Franklin appears in the film as himself in the bullfighting sequences.
According to an unidentified but contemporary news item in the production file for the film at the AMPAS Library, Al Rogell was scheduled to direct The Kid from Spain but quit just before shooting began due to disagreements over the story lines with Goldwyn. The news item noted that Edward F. Cline and A. Edward Sutherland were being considered as possible replacements. Another unidentified but contemporary news item reported that toreadors Eduardo Castro and Francisco Alonso were to be in the film. Alonso, who was the father of actor Gilbert Roland, is incorrectly identified in the news item as Roland's brother. Their participation in the completed picture, however, has not been confirmed.
A October 7, 1931 Film Daily news item stated that Lily Damita was being considered as the leading lady opposite Cantor. A later Film Daily news item reported that Diane Sinclair had been signed as the feminine lead opposite Cantor, and a Variety news item noted that Goldwyn changed his mind and returned her to M-G-M, from which she had been borrowed. Hollywood Reporter news items noted that Sidney Toler was to be in the film, but was prevented from doing so due to contract disputes with Paramount. He is included in one Hollywood Reporter production chart, however. According to a Film Daily news item, Vivian Mathews and Betty Bassett were to be in the film, but their participation in the completed picture has not been confirmed. Popocatépetl, which is the word "Eddie" is supposed to tell the trained bull, "Max," is the name of a volcano in Mexico.
A Hollywood Reporter news item and the Variety review reported that Goldwyn was handling distribution for the roadshow and New York run himself, and that United Artists would distribute the film during its general release. According to a September 30, 1933 Motion Picture Herald article, Goldwyn sent a specially equipped train to tour the South and exhibit Whoopee (1930) and The Kid from Spain in cities where there were either no projection facilities or where no rental agreement could be reached with the local exhibitors. Goldwyn also intended to roadshow Roman Scandals in this manner (see below). A Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Goldwyn sent sixteen chorus girls to present a live prologue to the film in selected theaters. According to the Variety and Hollywood Reporter reviews, the picture cost over one million dollars to produce. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, the Los Angeles roadshow engagement was called off because audiences refused to pay the $1.50 ticket prices. The Variety reviewer noted that tickets for the New York roadshow were priced at $2.20. In a September 30, 1933 Motion Picture Herald article on Sergei Eisenstein's film Thunder Over Mexico (see below), it was stated that novelist Upton Sinclair, who financed Eisenstein's film, had been accused of selling "parts of certain bull-fight episodes" shot for Thunder Over Mexico to Goldwyn for use in this picture. Sinclair denied the charge and stated "neither Eisenstein nor Eddie Cantor had any labels on their bulls."
According to modern sources, before filming began, Goldwyn sent Cantor, his songwriters and musical director Alfred Newman to San Francisco for a week to try out ideas for the script in front of a live theater audience. Goldwyn borrowed one million dollars to produce the film, which was the first seven-figure loan given by Bank of America for a motion picture. Modern sources also assert that Fred Zinnemann assisted Busby Berkeley with the dance direction, and note that after viewing The Kid from Spain, the Marx Brothers asked for Leo McCarey to direct their next film, Duck Soup. Modern sources include the following actors in the cast: Edgar Connor (Bull handler); Leo Willis (Thief); Harry Gribbon (Traffic Cop); Eddie Foster (Patron); and Patricia Farnum, Betty Grable and Ruth Hale (Goldwyn girls). Although modern sources also include Virginia Bruce in the cast as a "Goldwyn Girl," her appearance in the released picture is unlikely, as she was filming the M-G-M production Konga, in which she had a co-starring role, simultaneously to the production of The Kid from Spain.
Released in United States 1932
Released in United States March 1977
Paulette Goddard had a bit part.
Released in United States 1932
Released in United States March 1977 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (The Mighty Musical Movie Marathon) March 9-27, 1977.)