Bullfighter and the Lady (1951)

Bullfighter and the Lady (1951)
6.7
  • 505
  • Approved
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release year: 1951 ()
  • Running time: 87 min
  • Original Title: Bullfighter and the Lady
  • Voted: 505

Johnny Regan, a U.S. citizen, goes to Mexico and takes up bullfighting as a lark, hoping to impress a Mexican beauty, Anita de la Vega. His lighthearted studying, under the tutelage of aging matador Manolo Estrada, leads to tragedy.

#PersonCharacters
1Robert StackJohnny Regan
2Joy PageAnita de la Vega
3Gilbert RolandManolo Estrada
4Virginia GreyLisbeth Flood
  • See the 124 minute version! by 9

    I recently caught the 124 restored version of "Bullfighter and the Lady," and thought it was excellent. I believe the 87 minute version left out much of the actual bullfighting scenes which is a real tragedy. The bullfighting scenes are shockingly real--almost documentary-like and add quite a bit of texture and reality to the movie. Boetticher was a bullfighter and his knowledge and love of the sport shows through.

    I was also quite impressed with the cast, including Robert Stack who, I must admit, I never had really thought was much of an actor. Gilbert Roland, as Stack's mentor, is tremendous as is Joy Page and, especially, the wonderful Katy Jurado.

    There is an interesting use of sound also. Boetticher effectively uses thunder as an ominous counterpoint during two key scenes in the movie.

    Highly recommended in the 124 minute, restored version.

  • forgotten, but a model for any film about dangerous sports. by 9

    The Bullfighter and the Lady is a great film that is forgotten. One of the reasons I think is the name of the film, which makes you think of a Walt Disney cartoon. In the fifties you would hear about John Ford or Hitchcock or Hawks being great directors but no one would mention Budd Boetticher and as time is the greatest critic, we can now appreciate how good he was. This is a semi- autobiographical film since Budd was a bullfighter before becoming involved in movies. His first job in Hollywood was as technical adviser for the bullfighting scenes in "Blood and Sand". Robert Stack is an American who becomes friendly with a great matador Gilbert Roland. Stack teaches Roland how to shoot birds and Roland teaches him to bullfight. Stack also falls in love with a woman from Roland's group (Joy Page). Katy Jurado is Roland's wife. As the story flows we see great scenes of bullfighting. Even though I have seen a couple of bullfights in Mexico, I learned much more from seeing this film. The Bullfighter and the Lady should be a model for any film about a dangerous sport. As the film was produced by John Wayne, John Ford (Wayne's great friend) cut about 30 minutes. He told Budd that the reason for this was that the studio would not release the film if it would be any longer. Budd forgave him, but he had the great pleasure of seeing his film restored to the original version before he died. That is how it is shown nowadays

  • Robert Stack is a Light Blonde ! by 10

    This is a great film showing the horrors of bullfighting with excellent photography and directed by a former bullfighter himself, Budd Boetticher. John Wayne produced this picture but did not appear in this film and presented a film that was originally cut into pieces but has been restored to its original print, which is seen today. Robert Stack, (Johnny Regan) plays the role as a U.S. Citizen who has connections with Hollywood and has become interested in becoming a bullfighter and so he travels to Mexico to met a real famous matador. Johnny meets up with Manolo Estgrada, (Gilbert Roland) at a famous eating place and forces his attentions to Manolo in order to become friendly with him and to break into his inner circles of life. It it not very long before Johnny makes an arrangement with Manolo to teach him how to shoot birds in exchange for Matador lessons. This film goes into great detail about how to fight a bull and the dangers of the sport in Mexico. Johnny also meets up with a woman he falls in love with at first sight and just can't get her out of his mind both day in and day out, this woman is Anita De La Vega, (Joy Page) who does keep a distance from Johnny, but things do warm up between these two couples. Great film and a wonderful Classic Bullfighting film with great realism. Enjoy.

  • A neglected masterpiece by 10

    This is a beautiful, compelling and honest film. It is imbued with the good kind of machismo--notions of honor, sacrifice, and the nobility of effort. Instead of cluttering up the film with lots of story and complications, Boetticher has delved inside the heart and mind of this (to us gringos) strange sport.

    My only addition to the other comments is the photography is remarkable for its era, almost an outdoor film noir, a romantic realism in black and white. (And note that in a number of shots it is clearly Robert Stack doing his own bullfighting!) I note that the film was produced by John Wayne for Republic, obviously mostly in Mexico; just one year later Republic permitted John Ford to make THE QUIET MAN in Ireland; early examples of American filmmaking in an international context.

    Don't hesitate to see this extraordinary film.

  • Good on the Corrida by 8

    I was surprised by this one. It is an excellent introduction to La Fiesta Brava, showing, for example, many versions of the Veronica as performed by the best Mexican matadors of the late 40s. Luis Procuna, Alfredo Leal, Silverio Perez and the great Carlos Arruza are absentees. Stack, apparently, mastered enough of the technique to perform ably with a heifer -- and that itself is not easy. The background of the corrida -- particularly the tienta (or testing) -- is well documented and the vast Plaza Mexico appears with dramatic effect -- both filled and totally empty. Some of the b/w sequences in the bullring are breathtaking. The problem with the film is Stack's character, who behaves very badly very consistently and really does not seem to learn from his vivid errors. Furthermore, he makes no effort to master even the rudiments of Spanish. Otherwise, the film is compelling. I also recommend the Azteca film of about the same period, "Torero," a documentary about Luis Procuna, starring Procuna. He does not need a stand-in. As an introduction to bullfighting that does not show much of the picing or the actual kill, I recommend "Bullfighter/Lady."

#PersonCrew
1Jack Drapercinematographer
2Victor Youngcomposer
3Budd Boetticherdirector
4John Wayneproducer
5James Edward Grantwriter
6Ray Nazarrowriter