Blood and Sand [from the novel by Vicente Blasco Ibanez] is associated in the memories of theatre-goers as a hot and decidedly sexy piece of merchandise, chiefly because of Valentino’s silent version two decades ago. The revival follows the original as a straight drama of the bullfight ring.
Especially effective are the bullfight arena sequences, which disclose exceptional camera angles and intercutting of shots of crowds at arena in Mexico City with studio shots.
Tyrone Power is a peon kid in Seville, son of a bullfighter killed in the ring, decidedly illiterate, and with a passion for bullfighting. He has an adolescent love for Linda Darnell, and finally runs off to Madrid with a bunch of his pals. Ten years later, as a minor league matador, he returns to Seville, marries Darnell and goes on to become the most famous and widely acclaimed matador of the time. Surrounded by leeches, Power is continually in debt, but happy with his wife until fascinated by sexy Rita Hayworth, socialite flame.
Power delivers a persuasive performance as Ibanez’s hero while Darnell is pretty and naive as the young wife. Hayworth is excellent as the vamp and catches major attention on a par with Nazimova, who gives a corking performance as Power’s mother.
1941: Best Color Cinematography.
Nomination: Best Color Art Direction