Blood and Sand

1922

Drama / Romance / Sport

2
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 60%
IMDb Rating 6.4 10 1342

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 11, 2021 at 04:30 AM

Director

Cast

Rudolph Valentino as Juan Gallardo
720p.BLU
956.55 MB
1280*976
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 44 min
P/S 4 / 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by lugonian 7 / 10

The Bullfighter of Seville

BLOOD AND SAND (Paramount, 1922), directed by Fred Niblo, stars silent screen legend Rudolph (billed Rodolph) Valentino in one of his most celebrated roles as a bullfighter from the suburbs of Seville whose rise to fame eventually puts his life into a different direction. While the title might indicate violence at the beach, such as sunbathers and swimmers encountering shark attacks, (director Steven Spielberg took care of that with his 1975 hit, JAWS), the movie only lives up to its name towards the end of the story.

Set in Spain, the plot revolves around Juan Gallardo (Rudolph Valentino), also known as "Zapaterin" (The Little Shoemaker), who longs to become a famous matador in spite of the protests from his widowed mother (Rosa Rosanova) wanting her son to have a more safer profession by following his late father's trade working as a shoemaker, but that doesn't go well with him. As his dreams become reality, Juan, having made a name for himself, is reunited with Carmen Espinosa (Lila Lee), his childhood playmate now back home from convent school. The two marry, and as he rises to the top of his profession, Juan offers her wealth and happiness. Things start to change as Juan meets and succumbs to the passionate charms of Dona Sol (Nita Naldi), niece of the Marquis De Moraimas (George Pierlot).

Of the supporting players featuring George Field as El Nacional; Rosita Marsiti as Encarnacion; Leo White as Antonio; Fred Becker as Don Jose; among others, the character who is most essential to the story is Don Joselito (Charles Belcher), a philosopher, whose home is surrounded with ancient instruments of torture (superimposed with people strapped and tied to these devises). He writes recorded documents about various people who interest him, and what is to become of them, namely Juan and his bandit friend, Plumitas (Walter Long), whose backgrounds differ but with parallel professions (Juan kills bulls while Plumitas kills men), each are to have similar ends. Joselito writes this about Juan, "Juan Gallardo has reached his goal. Will success spoil him or will his love for little Carmen overcome the plaudits of the populace and the cruelty of the national sport?"

The now familiar Vicente Blasco Ibanez story was remade successfully and memorably by 20th Century-Fox in 1941 starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell and Rita Hayworth in the Valentino, Lee and Naldi roles. Longer than its predecessor, the remake includes a lengthy opening tracing the early life of Juan as a boy while the Valentino original centers upon his Juan as an adult, with very little about his upbringing, thus, being mostly a dramatic story on the personal life of an acclaimed matador. In spite of its premise, BLOOD AND SAND consists of limited bullfighting scenes, compared to several used in the remake, each featuring memorable love scenes between Juan and his mistress, Dona Sol. While Nita Naldi's performance might come off as campy, Rita Hayworth's interpretation is most alluring. Fred Niblo's direction may be slow going at times, but manages to bring the culture and Spain to life, especially with their afternoon recreation as they are seem being entertained by watching a good bullfight. Ole! Ole!

Because of his early death in 1926 at age 31, the Valentino name has become immortal. BLOOD AND SAND, along with THE FOUR HOURSEMEN OF THE APOCALYSE (1921), THE SHEIK (1921) and its sequel, THE SON OF THE SHEIK (1926) have become notable titles that best personify the Valentino legend, yet, television revivals have become rare. BLOOD AND SAND did become one of the thirteen movies presented on public television's weekly series of "The Silent Years" (1971), hosted by Orson Welles, with film print from the Paul Killiam collection,accompanied by a piano score by William Perry, the print used for the Blackhawk (later Republic Home Video) distribution during the early 1990s. At one point, BLOOD AND SAND was shown on cable television on the Nostalgia Channel around 1993-4 as part of its Saturday evening showing of "When Silents Was Golden." A decade later, KINO VIDEO restored BLOOD AND SAND with clearer picture quality and corrected silent film speed, as well as some restored footage missing from the standard 82 minutes (including the opening of the Paramount logo), thus, moving its length up to 110 minutes. The KINO print is accompanied by a new score by Rodney Sauer and the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. But beware of shorter prints running at 62 minutes, the abridged print that played on numerous occasions on Turner Classic Movies' "Silent Sunday Nights" prior to 2000.

BLOOD AND SAND is classic Valentino at best. Aside from playing a young man with ambition, a tango dancer, and a lover of women (although a title card earlier in the story has him saying "I hate all women except one"), Valentino is perfectly cast as the bullfighter of Seville, and that's no bull. Viva, Valentino!

Reviewed by wes-connors 7 / 10

Will Success Spoil Rudy Valentino?

Impoverished shoemaker's son Rudolph Valentino (as Juan Gallardo) wants to be a bullfighter, much to his widowed mother's dismay. Still, toreador Valentino excels in the dangerous sport; and, later, he is wealthy and famous throughout Spain. Along the way, he marries virtuous childhood sweetheart Lila Lee (as Carmen). For Valentino, temptation accompanies fame, as he falls under the spell of wicked temptress Nita Naldi (as Doña Sol), a slightly sadomasochistic bullfighting groupie. Can Valentino love two women at the same time?

Valentino performs well as an innocent ragamuffin who achieves great fame; of course, this parallels the idolization of the film's star. Moreover, the Idol proves just as attractive being seduced (herein, by Ms. Naldi) as he was the seducer (in the recent "Sheik"). Fred Niblo's "Blood and Sand" is a classic; however, the story, and disjointed bullfighting footage, do bog things down.

Great things happen, after about a quarter hour, when Valentino steps into Naldi's lair. In a neat bit of acting business, Valentino wipes a sweaty hand before greeting his seductress; then, he and Naldi's servant exchange weird looks as Valentino gets his cigarette lighted. After some crosscutting to innocent Ms. Lee, Naldi's harp-playing gets her man.

Writer June Mathis adapts well, for her star; but, the Ibáñez story should have more streamlined. Combining, or further developing, the characters played by Charles Belcher (Don Joselito) and Walter Long (Plumitas) might have helped. Mr. Belcher's character is most interesting; he collects torture devices, and choruses the film's thesis: "Happiness and prosperity built on cruelty and bloodshed cannot survive."

******* Blood and Sand (8/5/22) Fred Niblo ~ Rudolph Valentino, Lila Lee, Nita Naldi, Charles Belcher

Reviewed by pocca 8 / 10

One of Valentino's key roles

With the exception of Julio in "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," Juan Gallardo is perhaps the most three dimensional role Rudolph Valentino ever played. The story is familiar, even predictable enough: a young Spaniard is born poor, achieves fame and fortune as a matador, marries a nice convent girl, is beguiled by a truly nasty society woman (who basically collects and discards him), loses his will to fight in the arena and dies soon after a reconciliation with his long suffering wife. But Valentino brings this rather clichéd character to life: he is convincing as the happy go lucky, apparently shiftless teenaged Juan, as the young man celebrated as the greatest bullfighter in Spain, confident and thoroughly enjoying his new wealth and fame, as the besotted wooer of his childhood friend Carmen, and as the suddenly uncertain, ill at ease lover of the wealthy Dona Sol whom he nonetheless cannot free himself from. (At times his degradation suggests that of the professor in "The Blue Angel.") His range is perhaps most apparent in the love scenes: he is tender and considerate when he is caressing his nervous bride on their wedding night but sadistic and brutish when taunted by his kinky mistress who wants him to beat her (the dialogue here is undeniably purple —at one point Juan calls Dona Sol "a serpent from hell"—but it somehow fits Juan's basic personality which is impassioned and unsophisticated). Valentino even gets to show his flair for comedy when he romps with the little boys who play his nephews. In short, his wide ranging performance in "Blood and Sand" puts to the rest the myth that as a actor he can do little more than wear clothes well and glare.

However, although Valentino's performance is compelling, there are problems with "Blood and Sand" that keep it from being a truly great film. First, considering that this is a movie about bull fighting, the fighting scenes were, unfortunately, weak and consisted of awkwardly spliced in footage of actual fights (in fairness to the producers, animal cruelty laws had recently been introduced that prevented the filming of scenes with actual bulls). An even more serious problem is that the script (using a portentous old busybody as a mouthpiece) would have us believe that Juan's downfall is somehow inherently tied in to the cruelty of bullfighting itself--that by living by such savagery Juan would inevitably die by it. The objections to the inhumanity of bullfighting may have been well intended, but as set forth Juan's decline and fall have little to do with this—he flounders because, perhaps not unlike some modern superstar athletes from humble backgrounds, his newfound wealth and fame lead him to make rash, ill advised decisions such as betraying his devoted wife to become involved with an upper class woman who enjoys slumming with him but will never consider him as an equal or take him seriously as a man. (If anything is condemned in "Blood and Sand" it is the cruelty of social caste: Juan found wealth and fame, but he is still very much the social inferior of the likes of Dona Sol, and one of the reasons why he finds it hard to say no to her is not just because he is sexually in thrall to her but because in this near feudal society she is his better—in fact he is told so directly when, resisting Dona Sol's initial attempt to meet him he is bluntly told that it would be unseemly for him to snub a woman of her position. Something of this sort is also happening, I think, when, immediately after the affair is revealed, he mortifies his wife by humbly waiting on Dona Sol).

Despite the above problems, this is still one of the more memorable films of the silent period and worth owning on DVD. (I recommend the Kino version which includes a commentary by Orson Welles and a parody with Will Rogers).

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