The Bullfighters

The Bullfighters

Theatrical poster for The Bullfighters (1945)
Directed by Malcolm St. Clair (as Mal St. Clair)
Stan Laurel (uncredited)
Produced by William Girard
Written by Scott Darling (as W. Scott Darling)
Stan Laurel (uncredited)
Starring Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Margo Woode
Richard Lane
Carol Andrews
Diosa Costello
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography Norbert Brodine
Edited by Stanley Rabjohn
Distributed by

20th Century Fox

DIC Entertainment (1991)
Release dates
May 19, 1945
Running time
60' 55"
Country United States
Language English

The Bullfighters is the penultimate feature film starring Laurel and Hardy, and the final film the duo released in the United States.


Private detectives Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy travel to Mexico City in pursuit of an infamous female larcenist named Hattie Blake (Carol Andrews), who is publicly known as ”Larceny Nell”. Meanwhile, an American sports promoter, Richard K. Muldoon (Ralph Sanford) meets with publicity man ”Hot Shot” Coleman (Richard Lane), and his assistant (Irving Gump) to discuss an upcoming bullfight featuring famed Spanish matador Don Sebastian. But when Muldoon sees pictures of the bullfighter he is enraged; Don Sebastian looks exactly like Laurel. Hot Shot is confused until Muldoon tells him the story: Eight years earlier, Laurel and Hardy both testified against Muldoon in a criminal case, and Muldoon was wrongfully convicted of the crime (the details of which were never specified) and granted a twenty year jail sentence; However, after five years the true criminal confessed to the crime and Muldoon was subsequently released. But while in prison he had lost his wife and business and had to start all over in Mexico. He still holds a grudge against Stan and Ollie and vows revenge showing a large knife: "Someday our paths will cross! And when they do, I'll skin them alive! First the little one, then the big one! I'll skin them both alive!!"

Meanwhile Ollie and Stan confront Blake in an attempt to arrest her only for her to snatch the papers that permit them to arrest her outside the States followed by a egg-breaking tit for tat sequence before she escapes. They run into Coleman who sees Stan's uncanny resemblance to the bullfighter. Since the real Don Sebastian's arrival is delayed because of passport trouble, Coleman, after telling the confused Ollie and Stan about Stan's resemblance to Don Sebastian and the vengeful Muldoon's wrongfully conviction, forces Stan to impersonate the bullfighter in the meantime, threatening to reveal his and Ollie's presence to Muldoon if he doesn’t cooperate, but promising them a very handsome payment for their trouble if he does. Stan reluctantly agrees only because Hot Shot promises he won't have to fight bulls. But eventually, the real Don Sebastian's passport trouble turns out to be worse than originally thought and so Stan will have to take his place in the ring and fight bulls after all.

On the day of the fight Stan, nervous about fighting bulls, gets drunk. But then, unbeknownst to anyone, the real Don Sebastian has somehow miraculously contrived to making it to Mexico City just in time for the big bullfight. Ollie mistakes him for Stan and forces him into the arena. Stan staggers up, and Hardy sends him into battle. With two Laurels in the ring, the outraged spectators cry foul and every bull in the arena is turned loose. Stan and Ollie try to escape the vengeful Muldoon, but not fast enough. The film ends with Muldoon catching up with them at their hotel as they are about to pack before attempting to escape to the airport. Just like he promised, he skin them alive, leaving them, except their heads, in bare bones. Then Ollie says his "another nice mess…" catchphrase to Stan. Stan whimpers before they decides to go home.


Laurel wrote and directed portions of the feature.,[1] which was produced in late 1944 and released in May 1945. The revenge plot was reworked from their short film Going Bye-Bye! (1934), and a tit for tat egg-breaking sequence was reprised from the MGM all-star feature Hollywood Party, in which the team appeared in guest roles. This was Laurel and Hardy's last American film and also the film debut of Frank McCown, who later became famous as Rory Calhoun.

Laurel and Hardy were scheduled to make another film for 20th Century-Fox in the spring of 1945, but the studio discontinued all B-picture production at the end of 1944 and closed the Laurel and Hardy unit. When The Bullfighters became a hit, the studio offered to reopen the entire B department just for Laurel and Hardy, but the comedians declined.[2] Thus, The Bullfighters turned out to be Laurel & Hardy's final American film. (Their very last film, Atoll K, was produced in France in 1950-51.)



  1. MacGillivray, Scott, Laurel & Hardy: From the Forties Forward (Second Edition); iUniverse, 2009
  2. MacGillivray, Scott, Laurel & Hardy: From the Forties Forward (Second Edition); iUniverse, 2009

External links

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