Magnificent Matador, The (1955)

Magnificent Matador, The (1955)

“The trick is to be able to live with the fear, and still face the bulls with dignity.”

A socialite (Maureen O’Hara) falls in love with an aging matador (Anthony Quinn) who has disappointed his public by refusing to appear in a fight. Can Quinn be motivated to return to the arena and face the bulls alongside his protege (Manuel Rojas)?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Anthony Quinn Films
  • Budd Boetticher Films
  • Bullfighting
  • Has-Beens
  • Maureen O’Hara Films

Director Budd Boetticher is best known for the set of westerns he made with Randolph Scott known as the “Ranown Cycle”: Seven Men From Now (1956), The Tall T (1957), Decision at Sundown (1957), Buchanan Rides Alone (1958), Ride Lonesome (1959), Westbound (1959), and Comanche Station (1960). However, he also made three films based on his first and most enduring love: bullfighting. His breakthrough movie was The Bullfighter and the Lady (1951), followed a few years later by this flick, which was apparently written simply to provide a substantial role for Anthony Quinn. Unfortunately, it’s much less compelling than his 1951 outing, and doesn’t have a whole lot going for it other than fine cinematography by Lucien Ballard and a couple of big names:

The screenplay and dialogue are incredibly hoary, with little to hold our interest or attention. Storywise, beautiful, wealthy O’Hara — used to getting whatever she wants — has a thing for bullfighters (Quinn in particular), causing her would-be lover (Richard Denning) to be both jealous and petty:

Quinn also has a jealous ex-lover (Lorraine Chanel) lurking in the periphery, without anything to do but sulk:

Meanwhile, a beloved friend (Thomas Gomez) who raises bulls affords Quinn a convenient opportunity to reconnect with his passion:

… and there’s also a minor storyline about a long-lost son — but none of this is particularly compelling. Film fanatics don’t need to bother checking this one out.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Lucian Ballard’s cinematography

Must See?
Nope; you can skip this one unless you’re a Boetticher completist or a diehard fan of one of the stars.


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