Arruza (1972)


(director/writer/editor: Budd Boetticher; screenwriter: from book by Carlos Arruza; cast: Carlos Arruza (Himself), Anthony Quinn (Narrator), Ruben Padilla (Himself), Pepe Alameda (Himself), Debra Paget (Wife of Arruza); cinematographers: Lucien Ballard/Budd Boetticher; Runtime: 73; Avco Embassy Home Enterainment; 1972-Mexico/USA-in English)

Well-made but dry documentary on the life of noted Mexican bullfighter Carlos Arruza.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Anthony Quinn narrates and Budd Boetticher (“The Killer is Loose”/Seven Men From Now”/”The Bullfighter and the Lady”) directs this well-made but dry documentary on the life of noted Mexican bullfighter Carlos Arruza (Mexico’s greatest matador), who tragically died in an auto accident in 1966.

The film, recreated in spots, shows family man Carlos buying a quality ranch in the country and breeding bulls for the ring. He supposedly fights his last time in Mexico City’s El Torero, but comes out of retirement to fight again for real his last time in Mexico City as his family watches it on TV from their ranch.

The doc never got me interested in a subject I could care less about, even if it did its best to show the grace and artistry of being a legendary bullfighter. But in the end I still wasn’t that interested in the subject, though if you are a fan of bullfighting this would be a recommended film. For others, it’s just a curio.Debra Paget, the real-life wife of Boetticher, plays the wife of Arruza (their marriage ended soon after filming).

The semi-documentary, which went on filming forever, went over budget and with the untimely death of Arruza had no satisfactory ending. It turned out to be a disaster for Boetticher, who directed no other Hollywood films until his death in 2001.