Wednesday, October 28, 2009

1951 - Budd Boetticher's BULLFIGHTER AND THE LADY Extended Director's cut?

John Wayne produced Budd Boetticher's story about a young American played by Robert Stack who is taught "the ways of the bullfighter" by Gilbert Roland playing the old bullfighter pro. Stack falls in love with a Mexican senorita but violates her code of honor and has to redeem himself. You can pretty much write this story. This film has lots of entertaining macho bullshit about what it means to be a man, learning the code of the bullfighter and junk like that.

Boetticher delivered a 2 hour film which John Wayne thought was to long. Duke called in his old drinking buddy John Ford, who proceeded to help cut about 40 minutes out of it. The cuts were made with Boetticher's approval in order to increase the commercial viability of the film. The film has been restored to it's original length. It looks like most of the stuff that got cut out were the scenes involving the testing of the young bulls to see if they would be suitable for fighting. Interesting stuff but a little repetitive after a while.

The acting is pretty good, Robert Stack is Mr. Intense throughout the film and actually performs some of his own bullfighting stunts. In repeated scenes he gets knocked over a lot by some young but mean bulls. A lot of the film appears to have been photographed on location in Mexico and there is a genuine atmosphere of sleaziness throughout the film.

The movie reminds me of Hemingway's bullfighting book Death in the Afternoon.

 124 minutes.

No comments: