The Brave Bulls

Screening on Film
Directed by Robert Rossen.
With Mel Ferrer, Miroslava, Anthony Quinn.
US, 1951, 16mm, black & white, 106 min.
Print source: HFA

Retreating to Mexico to escape the vehement anti-Communist showdown, Rossen took full advantage of the relocation by directing and producing a film set in Mexico with Mexican stars using actual locations. As a perfect model of the blurry economic and emotional bonds tying people to one another, Rossen’s signature star-and-manager relationship appears here in the form of famous matador Juan Bello and his agent Raoul, overseer of Juan’s profession and his life. Introducing the story as if an educational film, the documentary style – and incorporation of newsreel footage – adds a blunt edge and menacing suspense to the fear, tension and tragedy Juan experiences in and out of the bullring. At a time when Rossen had just achieved great financial and creative power in Hollywood, his entire career was suddenly in jeopardy. Like Juan Bello, he kept entering the brutal public arena to apprehend the glory of courage over the fear of death.

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