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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Blood and Sand [Blu-ray]


(Rouben Mamoulian, 1941)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: 20th Century Fox



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:05:13.172

Disc Size: 36,836,864,151 bytes

Feature Size: 36,429,932,544 bytes

Video Bitrate: 35.08 Mbps

Chapters: 33

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 9th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1037 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1037 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English (SDH), French, Spanish, Japanese, none



• Commentary by Director of Photography 2003-2006 President of the American Society of Cinematographers - Richard Crudo





Description: Based on the novel by Vincente Blasco Ibanez, Blood and Sand is the beautifully rendered story of the rise and fall of a young, cocksure Spanish bullfighter, played by Tyrone Power. Working his way slowly up the ladder to success, Power achieves fame when he is praised to skies by fatuous, fickle critic Laird Cregar. A country boy at heart, Power finds himself way over his head with sophisticates, and is soon torn between his pious and faithful wife Linda Darnell and sexy, mercenary Rita Hayworth. It is Darnell, however, who comforts Power after his final, fatal goring in the bull ring. The film's best scenes depict the curious combination of horror and fascination with which bullfighting aficionados treat this most barbaric of "sports." Blood and Sand was previously filmed in 1922 with Rudolph Valentino; a Valentino contemporary, Alla Nazimova, plays Power's mother in the remakes. Portions of this film turned up as stock footage in the 1945 Laurel and Hardy comedy The Bullfighters.



The Film:

One of the great colour films (with Mamoulian taking the inspiration for his lush visuals from Spanish masters like Goya, Velasquez and El Greco), this is melodramatic romance of the first order. The story is hardly a stunner, taken from Ibaņez and telling of a young man's rags-to-riches rise as a matador, only to fall under the spell of Hayworth's aristocratic temptress, who lures him away from virginal childhood sweetheart Darnell. What makes the film so enjoyable is the sheer elegance of the execution, with Mamoulian's sense of rhythm, the rich Technicolor, and Richard Day's sets conjuring up an imaginary Spain of the heart, poignant location of love in the shadows and death in the afternoon.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

The 1941 Blood and Sand would not only have sound but color as well and to get the very best look, Zanuck hired Rouben Mamoulian, the director of the first three-strip Technicolor movie Becky Sharp (1935). Mamoulian had not had a chance to work with color since and was anxious to use this opportunity to push color photography to a new level. Each sequence in the movie would be modeled after the look of a great painter; the bullring scenes in the manner of Goya, the matador's dressing room after Titian, etc. If the set did not feature the right colors, Mamoulian kept a paint-filled spray can nearby for touch-ups. As Mamoulian recalled about a hospital scene, "I thought if El Greco had painted it, it wouldn't look white, it would look green and gray, so I sprayed all the sheets and painted shadows on the walls. It looked absolutely appalling to the eye, and it really shook me because I thought I'd really ruined the set, but it came out beautifully." For his efforts Blood and Sand took the 1942 Academy Award for Best Color Cinematography.

Excerpt from TCM located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Blood and Sand arrives on Blu-ray from Fox.  It's always hard to faithfully replicate the Technicolor look as those who have seen it theatrically fondly recall. The image quality shows some a thick, heavy appearance. Colors tighten, skin tones cool. The 'suit of lights' is very impressive in the 1080P resolution.  This is dual-layered with a high bitrate. The softness of the SD is still there - a function of the film - but the HD looks less waxy and flat. Contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels but the image is never crisp which is probably very authentic. Daylight scenes in the ring are most impressive but nothing is overly dark - and there is no noise. This Blu-ray has a consistent appearance and I can only suspect a strong replication of the theatrical presentation.




(20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC Reviewed HERE - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)



(20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC Reviewed HERE - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)



(20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC Reviewed HERE - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM)



More Blu-ray Captures














Audio :

Fox provide a DTS-HD Master mono track at 1037 kbps sounding authentically flat but there is some robust bass here as well accentuating the 1.0 channel nicely. The sounds of the Bullfighting ring - gasps from the crowd - are exported with solid depth. It is all clear along with the original score by the iconic Alfred Newman and, uncredited but also gifted, David Buttolph (Rope, Three Secrets, Kiss of Death and many more.) There are foreign language DUBs (French Spanish) in standard Dolby and optional subtitles and My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

We get the same excellent commentary from Richard Crudo - DoP 2003-2006 President of the American Society of Cinematographers - as found on the 2007 DVD. Nothing new.



Since seeing The Moment of Truth, I view Blood and Sand in a different light. It must have been quite influential on the latter film. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting Mamoulian's film with macho Power, angelic Darnell and hypnotically sexy Hayworth. The Blu-ray provides the most film-like a/v and we can't ask much more than that. This film is imperfect but it has a strange compelling attraction. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 10th, 2013


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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