Tommy the Toreador

Tommy the Toreador is a 1959 British musical comedy film directed by John Paddy Carstairs and starring Tommy Steele, Janet Munro, Sid James, Bernard Cribbins, Noell Purcell and Kenneth Williams.[1]

Tommy the Toreador
Original UK poster
Directed byJohn Paddy Carstairs
Produced byGeorge H. Brown
Nat Cohen
Stuart Levy
Written byGeorge H. Brown
Patrick Kirwan
additiona dialogue
Sid Colin
Nicholas Phipps
Talbot Rothwell
StarringTommy Steele
Janet Munro
Sid James
Bernard Cribbins
Music byStanley Black
CinematographyGilbert Taylor
Edited byPeter Bezencenet
George H. Brown Productions (as Fanfare)
Distributed byWarner-Pathé Distributors(UK)
Release date
21 December 1959 (London) (UK)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


A British ship docks in Spain and Tommy, a sailor from London, gets stranded after he saves the life of a bullfighter.[2][3]



Janet Munro was borrowed from Walt Disney, who had her under contract. The film was shot at the Associated British studios in Boreham Wood.[4] There was location filming in Sevilla in May 1959.[5] Steele says filming took 12 weeks and that Carstairs was a "chubby, jovial ball of energy... his direction was always precise and without fuss."[6]


The songs were written by Lionel Bart, Mike Pratt and Steele who had collaborated on The Duke Wore Jeans. Steele said their aim on the film were to present "a score of tunes and lyrics that joined the plot without ever stopping it in its tracks."[7]

The songs included:

  • "Tommy the Toreador"
  • "Take a Ride"
  • "Little White Bull"
  • "Singing Time"
  • "Where's the Birdie?" - sung with James and Munro
  • "Amanda"

Critical reception

In The Radio Times, Tom Vallance gave the film three out of five stars, and wrote, "perky pop star Tommy Steele, a former seaman himself, plays the part of a sailor in this lively and likeable musical comedy";[8] while Variety called the film "a brisk, disarming little comedy." [9]


Steele says the song "Little White Bull" helped him form a new career because children loved the song and parents would bring them to his rock concerts to hear it.[10]


  1. TOMMY THE TOREADOR Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 27, Iss. 312, (Jan 1, 1960): 11.
  2. "Tommy The Toreador Review". 28 November 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  3. Tommy The Toreador Picture Show; London (Dec 26, 1959): 8-10, 14.
  4. Tommy The Toreador Nepean, Edith. Picture Show; London (Sep 26, 1959): 6.
  5. "Sevilla Crawls with Crews". Variety. May 1959.
  6. Steele p 299
  7. Steele p 299
  8. "Tommy the Toreador | Film review and movie reviews". Radio Times. 8 April 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  9. "Tommy the Toreador". Variety. 31 December 1958. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  10. Steele p 299


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