“To the Spaniard, the love of the bull-fight is inborn. A heritage of barbarism- its heroes embody the bravery of old knight.”
Juan Gallardo (Rudolph Valentino) always wanted to be a bull fighter. When he was young he and his friends would go off to another town to participate in amateur bull fights. Juan’s friend is killed by a bull. Juan goes back into the small arena and kills the bull without any fear.
Soon after that fight, Juan’s notoriety spreads and people flock to see him in fights. The only person who does not like seeing Juan fight is his mother. She would rather see him settle in their town to life as a shoemaker. His mother has a change of heart when she hears the people in the arena shout his name after he kills a bull.
Juan settles into married life with his former childhood friend Carmen. His becomes successful and adored all over Spain. But he has also become very superstitious about his life and fears his end maybe near.
Attending one of Juan’s fights is a woman named Dona Sol (Nita Naldi). She is well known as a collector of men. She has seduced men all over Europe from diplomats to kings. Dona tries her hardest to flirt with Juan but he does not reciprocate. He has no intention of seeing Dona again until he is invited to a party and he must attend because of her high social standing and her patronage. After the guests leave the party he is left alone with Dona. He succumbs to her beauty. From that moment on he is tortured with his feelings for his wife and for Dona. He tries to tell Dona he does not want to see her anymore but his feelings of love and hate are too strong for him.
Juan arrives in another town for a fight. Dona follows him and claims that her car is broke down and must stay with him until the car is fixed. Juan is not comfortable with her there at all. The next day his wife comes to the house. Dona’s plan has worked in making Carmen jealous. Juan begs Carmen to believe him when he tells her what has happened.
At the fight Juan is distracted by someone in the crows. He cannot shake himself off with everything that has happened between his wife and Dona and also the bad omens that surround the temptress. He does stab the bull in time and he is hit in the stomach with the bull’s horn. Juan is brought to a bed. His last words are to Carmen to forgive him and that he loves her.
Blood and Sand was quite boring. I think I was waiting for Valentino to be the world’s greatest lover and man whore like he usually in his films and he was the nice superstitious guy. This time it was Nita Naldi looking to tempt Valentino. There are better Valentino films than Blood and Sand. Go and find one of those instead.