A Mexican boy raises a bull for a bullfight.
The New Year’s Day Moviefest (theme: Hollywood goes Around the World) was in full swing, and there were a bunch of us having a great time watching movies. This was the entry for Mexico, and Mr. Otter and I had been wanting to see it because it won a Best Picture Oscar in 1957 for Best Original Story for Dalton Trumbo, whose name couldn’t be on it because he was blacklisted.
And in fact his name was not on the version of the movie (streamed from Amazon) that we watched, either.
It’s sweet and sentimental, and very very dated.
On the one hand, it’s a good straightforward story-the boy raises the bull for the ring, kind of ignoring the whole ‘the bull dies at the end’ thing. At the last minute, he tried to get him reprieved, even talking to El Presidente, but the reprieve comes too late. The ending is good, and believeable.
On the other hand, it’s old fashioned, predictable and sentimental. It’s a story we’ve seen over and over, and there was pretty much nothing new added.
The thing that was good about this (and I’m sure this was Trumbo’s writing shining through) was that the Mexican characters were all normal characters, rather than ethnic stereotypes. There were scenes in the school with the teacher talking about Mexican history (chronologically backwards, which made us all laugh) and in the end, the boy is going from famous place to famous place through the very modern Mexico City, and much of that seemed like it was put in to show American audiences a non-stereotypical view of Mexico and its people.
The one thing that was very very dated was that everyone spoke stiff formal English, to show that they were really speaking Spanish to each other, instead of just talking like normal people, but that’s a small quibble.
For the time, and the kind of movie it is, this was pretty good.