What's the Matador?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
What's the Matador?
Directed byJules White
Produced byJules White
Written bySaul Ward
Jack White
StarringMoe Howard
Larry Fine
Curly Howard
Suzanne Kaaren
Harry Burns
Dorothy Appleby
John Tyrrell
Cy Schindell
Eddie Laughton
Don Zelaya
CinematographyL. William O'Connell
Edited byJerome Thoms
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • April 23, 1942 (1942-04-23) (U.S.)
Running time
CountryUnited States

What's the Matador? is a 1942 film directed by Jules White and starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard). It is the 62nd short film released by Columbia Pictures starring the comedians, who released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.


The Stooges are vaudeville entertainers who trek to Mexico to perform their gag bullfight shtick, with Curly as the brave matador, and Moe and Larry dressed in a bull costume. Along the way, they cross paths with attractive senorita Dolores Sanchez (Suzanne Kaaren). They also cross paths with her evil jealous, and hot-tempered, man-hating husband named José (Harry Burns). In an act of revenge on Curly for flirting with Dolores, José pays the bullring attendants to release a live bull into the ring. Moe and Larry flee the ring, but Curly is unaware of the switch. He eventually head-butts the wild animal, and is paraded out of the ring to the rousing cheers of "Olé, Americano!"

Production notes[edit]

What's the Matador? was the last short filmed in 1941, shot on August 14–18 of that year.[1] It was remade in 1959 as Sappy Bull Fighters, using minimal stock footage from the original.[2]

The film's title is a pun on the question "what's the matter?" The film itself is inspired by the popularity of the 1941 film Blood and Sand.[2] While bullfighting is the reference, the two stories otherwise have nothing in common.

The Stooges have a frustrating exchange with an old Mexican local (Don Zelaya) when they ask if he has seen Dolores. Though his lengthy Spanish response seems unintelligible to them, he actually says the following:

  • "Go down the street three blocks, turn right and go two more blocks, turn right, cross the square, and turn right. Walk down that street until you find an alley, but keep walking. Go down that street until you find another alley, but do not enter that alley. Turn right. There you will find a river. Do me a favor: jump into the river and drown yourself!"[2]

DVD Talk critic Stuart Galbraith IV noted the beginnings of Curly Howard's physical decline, observing that "one can see the earliest signs of Curly's pre-stroke personality change. It's very subtle, and while he's still quite funny, one can see little changes in his screen persona, and about here he begins to age dramatically, with lines suddenly etched deep in his face."[3]


  1. ^ Pauley, Jim (2012). The Three Stooges Hollywood Filming Locations. Solana Beach, California: Santa Monica Press, LLC. p. 309. ISBN 9781595800701.
  2. ^ a b c Solomon, Jon (2002). The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion. Glendale, California: Comedy III Productions, Inc. pp. 208–209. ISBN 0-9711868-0-4.
  3. ^ Galbraith IV, Stuart (July 7, 2012). "The Three Stooges: The Ultimate Collection". DVD Talk. Retrieved September 5, 2013.

External links[edit]