Blood and Sand
Juan is the son of a poor widow in Seville. Against his mother's wishes he pursues a career as toreador. He rapidly gains national prominence, and takes his childhood sweetheart Carmen as his bride. He meets the Marquis' daughter Dona Sol, and finds himself in the awkward position of being in love with two women, which threatens the stability of his family and his position in society. He finds interesting parallels in the life of the infamous bandit Plumitas when they eventually meet by chance.
Based on the 1909 novel 'Sangr y arena' by Vicente Blasco Ibáñez and adapted for the screen by June Mathis. This drama stars Rudolph Valentino as Juan Gallardo, a young villager from a poor family who dreams of being a famous matador.
With his dreams realised he marries his childhood friend, Carmen, but falls under the spell of the seductive Doña Sol.
Unable to end the affair with her, Doña Sol, out of spite, then exposes their relationship to both Carmen and Juan's mother. As a result Juan becomes reckless in the arena and is fatally wounded. Before he dies he reconciles with Carmen.
Valentino and his wife Natacha Rambova hoped that the film would be shot in Spain but were disappointed when the studio decided to shoot the entire picture on the Hollywood backlot using stock footage of actual bullfights in Madrid interspersed with close-ups of Valentino.
Solidly done, sometimes edgy and with terrific performances...but I confess, I had a hard time staying interested. I'm tempted to say it needed Louise Brooks, but that's my default reaction to every silent film I've seen since I first saw Pandora's Box a couple of years ago.