Columbia has a distinctive, offbeat picture in this treatment of Tom Lea’s bestseller novel. There’s nothing routine in the way it has been filmed, producer-director Robert Rossen apparently preferring to sacrifice some commercial values in favor of an adult handling of the story of a Mexican matador and life and death in the bull arena.
The bullfight sequences have a shocker quality that will repel while fascinating. Script deals with a matador who rose to the fleeting status of public idol from a peasant beginning. At the top of his popularity he encounters mental confusion and fear because he doubts his real ability and believes his success comes from the mentoring of his manager-friend.
Rossen’s direction and the camera work by Floyd Crosby and James Wong Howe are alive with the real flavor of Mexico, its bright, hard lights and shadows. Mel Ferrer seems the perfect choice to portray the very human matador. He has practically all of the footage and story emphasis, and dominates every bit of it.