Shady Dame from Seville

OK so: since it came out, I have seen this movie too many times to count, and think it's as close to perfect as a movie gets. It has many layers of meaning for anyone who cares to look.

But I have to admit - blushing furiously now - that one of these layers of meaning leaves me stumped. I have NO IDEA what the Shady Dame song is about! I mean, I get the first part. Gorgeous girl, bit of a femme fatale, yada yada. But from the "The rest of the tale's not a pretty one" line, I'm lost. Who/what wasn't for sale? Ears? Tail? WHAT?

Or perhaps there is no meaning, and we just put it down to Leslie Bricusse foibles?

Someone please explain it to me and put me out of my embarrassment and misery!



I always took it to mean she came to a sad ending. She disappeared without a trace so maybe she killed herself?

The end lyrics are:
"The rest of the tale's not a pretty one
Pity one isn't for sale
Only two ears and a tail
Did they find by the blind on her sill

No one knows what's became
Of the shady dame
From Seville"


I know this is late, but both ears and the tail were traditionally the prize given to a matador for an exceptional performance in the ring. I guess if you're a matador who has his eye on a particular woman, it would be considered a love token to give them to her.


Yes indeed, almostfm-1

Just watching this again last night after a long time, I noticed the "two ears and a tail" line... the section before that is:

One day came a world famous matador
Rat-tat at her door, bearing a rose
If he distressed her, disturbing her siesta
It's best to say nobody knows

So he gave her the ears & tail and then...? foul play by the matador or did he love her and leave her, causing her to off herself in despair?

Luke … this is your father … come set the table for dinner.


I always thought it meant that one of them (not necessarily the Shady Dame) was the bull and ended up getting "skewered." Maybe the Shady Dame was a drag queen, too?

As for who she was, obviously, she was the notorious femme fatale of the town, but she was probably also a kept woman or even a high class prostitute.

Innsmouth Free Press


I've understood it as the famous matador visited the femme fatale - notorious for breaking men's hearts - they fell in love and she left town to go with him. Figuratively "ran away from home", away from her career, her fame, her followers, everything. He had given her his prize, his symbols of his own fame and prowess, and they left those behind to start a new life together. Hey, I'm a romantic and it's just a song.