Producer Jose Frade has claimed his Blood and Sand is the first truly Spanish film version of Vicente Blasco Ibanez’ famous novel. Frade’s claim turns out to be empty. His picture is about as Spanish as Coke spiked with Fundador brandy.
The new version was shot with English (American) dialogue and an American-Spanish cast in and around the bullrings of Madrid, Jerez and Sevilla. The bullfighting shown is cleansed of all blood except that shed by a couple of humans.
What is left to tell of Blasco Ibanez’ novel is told with plodding care and brief sex scenes between Christopher Rydell’s Juan Gallardo and Sharon Stone’s Dona Sol. Stone appears to be not much more than a pudgy-faced teenager with a body that one might say strips well.
The beauty, symmetry and finely tuned dance of death of a bullfight at its best is sensed only via an introductory b&w newsreel clip. The rest of this Blood and Sand is, sad to say, pure bull. Jesus Gluck has built a strong score around excerpts from the works of Spain’s best old and newer composers.