Director: Walt Disney
Release Date: September 7, 1929
‘El Terrible Toreador’ is the second entry of the Silly Symphonies. It has been far lesser known than the first, ‘The Skeleton Dance‘, which is no surprise, because it contains none of the ingredients which made ‘The Skeleton Dance’ a classic: there’s no interesting mood, no spectacular animation, and there are hardly any funny gags.
Unlike the other early Silly Symphonies, ‘El Terrible Toreador’ is more silly than symphony-like. That is, it’s more of a silly ‘story’ than the song-and-dance-routine typical of the early Silly Symphonies.
The cartoon consists of two parts: in the first part we see a Spanish canteen where a large officer and a toreador are fighting for the love of a waitress. In the second part, the toreador is fighting and dancing with a bull in the arena. Surprisingly, the story of the first part is hardly developed here: the cartoon ends when the toreador has pulled the bull inside out, thus ending the fight.
The human characters are very flexible and not very lifelike (I noticed I thought of them as bugs some of the time). The most interesting feature of this short is Carl Stalling’s score. His music already bears his signature and contains many citations from ‘Carmen’ by Georges Bizet.
Watch ‘El Terrible Toreador’ yourself and tell me what you think: