Mark Of Zorro, The
	
		
				
			
	
	
	
OpenFlix
Browse by  Genre | Director | Actor
  OpenFlix > Mark of Zorro, The

 

Mark of Zorro, The

Language:

English   Country: USA   Year: 1940

Mark of Zorro, The
Buy DVD

Director:

Rouben Mamoulian

Starring:

Tyrone Power; Linda Darnell

Genres:

Western

Synopsis:

In early 19th Century California, the son of a Nobleman returns to California from Spain. He finds an evil dictatorship in place and dons the mask to fight back. Black & White.

More:

[User Reviews]  [Summary]  [Marketplace]

User Reviews

 

(Average=4.54 out of 5; Total Number=41)


The Classic Fox Period (rating=4)

the films of 20th century fox had a sheen unlike the other studios output.
one of their main stars; tyrone power (an underrated star today)was an embodiment of this sylized sheen.
he was different than errol flynn. while you always sensed flynn's bad boy personality even when he played squaeky clean heroes, power was far more an actor and his performances always seem more professionally toned. he is more 'with the film' than standing out against it and this may be the reason for the lack of appreciation for him.
this film is the shining example to the hollywood of old.
its excellence was predictable when you mix the beauty of power and darenll with the down right fun villany of rathbone, the music of newman, the goya toned cinematography and the virtually flawless direction of mamoulian.
sadly, its the like of which we wont see again for numerous reasons.
NOW, IF FOX WOULD DIG INTO THEIR ARCHIVES AND RELEASE POWER'S BEST ACTING IN FILM; NIGHTMARE ALLEY' a film that has never even seen the light of vhs.

Zorro The Fey Blade. (rating=3)

Tyrone Power's Zorro is both effeminate and masculine, one moment the picture of delicate and fey passiveness and the next the masculine caballero of legend. The film has held up well, mostly due to the excellent swordplay and Power's magnetic persona. The lack of actual Spanish actors will be noticeable and perhaps offensive to today's audience, although in 1940 it was probably a minor point at best. The DVD transfer could have been better, although it is generally grain-free and vivid. A 60-year old film can only look so good, after all. A fine version of the Zorro legend, lacking somewhat in political correctness but making up for it in sentiment and charm.

The Supreme Zorro Film (rating=5)

After the success of Warner Brothers "The Adventures of Robin Hood," starring Errol Flynn, Twentieth Century Fox released a film of their namesake, "The Mark of Zorro," starring Tyrone Power. It was a box office hit, and is a classic of it's time. While not in color, and wary of action, this film holds up as, in my opinion, the best of the Zorro films.

In the 1800's, the Spanish Empire rules California. Don Diego Vega (Tyrone Power), is "the best fencer of Madrid." He is ordered home by his father, Don Alejandro. Upon arrival, he hears that the alcalde is an evil tyrant. But Diego's fahter is the alcalde!
Diego learns from Capitan Esteban Pasquale (Basil Rathbone) that his father resigned, and that Luis B. Quintero (J. Edward Bromberg) has replaced him as alcalde. Both Esteban and Quintero are worthless land theives, taxing the peons into poverty to fill their own pockets. However, Diego suddenly appears to have lost his swordsman skills, now acting foppish and peaceful, much to Alejandro's dissapointment. However, Deigo soon becomes the black-clad Zorro, a daring freedom fighter rescuing both the rich and poor from the tyrants. To disguise himself, he must remain foppish. Only the padre Felipe (Eugene Pallette) knows his true identity, along with Diego's fiance Lolita Quintero (Linda Darnell), a kind girl against her uncle and his henchman. However, when Fray Felipe is arrested as Zorro for trying to defend the mission taxes, Diego abandons both disguises and leads the caballeros and peons to battle, personally taking on Esteban in a spectacular showdown.

"The Mark of Zorro" was based on three stories. One was Johnston McCulley's original Zorro story. Unlike the Fairbanks film, the theme here focuses on saving the people from corruption, rather than defending Lolita. Another was Douglas Faribanks's "The Mark of Zorro" (1920). The other was "The Adventures of Robin Hood." Basil Rathbone and Eugene Pallette had roles in the Robin Hood film before starring in "The Mark of Zorro." Zorro here as a Robin Hood characteristic: he steals tax money and returns it to the people. Most Zorros force their enemies to give the money back themselves.

Sword battles in this film occur mainly between Diego and Esteban. The fencing in this movie is excellent. Rathbone is one of the best fencer's of all time, as is Power. The Zorro in this film is the closest thing ever that fits the Zorro legacy. This is a beautiful classic, one than cannot be missed.

And yes, I know, this exact same review is already up, but I made a few errors.


Summary

When they say they don't make 'em like they used to, they're talking about 20th Century Fox's exhilaratingThe Mark of Zorro, starring Tyrone Power as the caped one, Linda Darnell as his love interest, and Basil Rathbone at his scurrilous best as Zorro's nemesis. More textured than the 1920 original with Douglas Fairbanks, this 1940 version has Don Diego/Zorro (Powers) returning from Madrid to defend his father and rally the caballeros (noblemen) against Los Angeles's corrupt new governor (J. Edward Bromberg), intent on taxing the peons to death.

If this all sounds like an Old California redo of the classicAdventures of Robin Hood, that's because it is. Powers has a field day as Don Diego, the "fancy clown" betrothed to the governor's niece, Lolita (Darnell). Don Diego the effete snob performs silly parlor tricks, peers through pince-nez, and yawns disdainfully at one and all. Power's cowardly alter ego is so believable, his transformation to masked superhero becomes all the more thrilling. Imagine Captain Pasquale's (Rathbone) shock when, in the film's brilliantly choreographed showdown, this annoying fop turns out to be a world-class swordsman.

Director Rouben Mamoulian, known for great period melodramas, does a skillful job of alternating garrison intrigue with big action scenes, including a nighttime ride that climaxes with Zorro on horseback leaping off a bridge. In the romantic highlight, Lolita confides her innermost desires to a suspiciously worldly friar. The first-rate supporting cast includes Gale Sondergaard as the governor's treacherous wife and the frog-voiced Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck inThe Adventures of Robin Hood) as a padre in cahoots with the masked one. Technically, this retelling rates an unqualified "Wow!" The cinematography, obviously influenced by Goya, makes full use of chiaroscuro shadows, and Alfred Newman's Latin-flavored score is irresistibly rousing and romantic.--Glenn Lovell