on 18 March 2012
I'm along in years and a big fan of 1940s movies, so I'm always pleased when a good one becomes available. This fills the bill nicely. It is a pristine b&w print with excellent sound, and a dynamic forward momentum full of action. The plot is well known and the inevitable takes its course, so it's best watched tongue in cheek and with a little detachment to savour the gentle humour as a smitten Zorro (Tyrone Power), disguised as a friar and hidden under a cowl, counsels the radiant teenager he's set his cap for (Linda Darnell) not to enter a convent, but to stick around to produce sons and daughters so needed by the church. More humour emerges when the harassed villain of the piece (a Sancho Panza comic figure) unwittingly arranges to have his arch enemy Zorro as his son in law (!) and constantly confides his frame of mind and how his resistance to Zorro's threats is dwindling. The actors are able and its fun to see them develop the stereotypes required by the script (no Meryl Streep originality here!). Advice: since much is predictable don't look for suspense, but see what SURROUNDS the plot, including the excellent studio precision that keeps things brisk and stages a nice little riot at the end. The film was Oscar nominated in 1940 and will appeal to people along in years, like myself.
20th Century Fox present "THE MARK OF ZORRO" (Special Edition) (Released: November 8, 1940) (93 mins) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- now in COLOR and Glorious Black and White --- "The Mark of Zorro" is a 1940 feature motion picture directed by Rouben Mamoulian and produced by 20th Century Fox --- It starred Tyrone Power as Don Diego de la Vega (Zorro), Linda Darnell as his love interest, (Lolita Quintero), Montagu Love as (Don Alejandro Vega), Gale Sondergaard as the naughty (Inez Quintero), Eugene Pallette as (Fra. Felipe), with Basil Rathbone, one of the most durable of screen villains who has mastered stage fencing but never won a sword fight, plays the cruel (Captain Esteban Pasquale), the Alcalde's military adviser and J. Edward Bromberg was the corrupt governor (Don Luis Quintero ) --- The film was directed by Rouben Mamoulian and produced by Raymond Griffith and Darryl F. Zanuck.
Based on the Johnston McCulley story "The Curse of Capistrano", originally published in 1919, which introduced the masked hero Zorro, the movie's story is set in Southern California during the early 19th century --- It deals with the foppish son of a wealthy ranchero who returns to California after a sojourn at school in Spain, only to be horrified at the way the common people are being mistreated by Governor Quintero --- Don Diego adopts the guise of Zorro ("the Fox"), a Robin Hood like outlaw who becomes a defender of the people --- In the meanwhile, he romances the governor's beautiful niece, Lolita, and fends off the governor's ablest henchman, the malevolent Captain Pasquale --- The high point of the picture is the fantastic duel between Power and Rathbone, a masterpiece of screen Swordplay --- Tyrone Power had joined Errol Flynn as the reigning 'kings' of swashbucklers, a title both would find amusing, if limiting, but which would be how both actors are best remembered, today! (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Under Rouben Mamoulian (Director), Raymond Griffith (Producer), Darryl F. Zanuck (Producer), John Taintor Foote (Screenwriter), Garrett Elsden Fort (Screenwriter), Johnston McCulley (Short Story Author), Bess Meredyth (Screenwriter),Arthur C. Miller (Cinematographer), Alfred Newman (Musical Direction/Supervision / Composer (Music Score), Robert Bischoff (Editor), Richard Day (Art Director), Joseph C. Wright (Art Director), Thomas K. Little (Set Designer), Travis Banton (Costume Designer) - - - - This film is essentially a remake of the 1920 United Artists silent version, "The Mark of Zorro", which starred Douglas Fairbanks --- This 1940 version under Alfred Newman's Oscar-Nominated score and despite the unusual absence of Technicolor, the film (the first of the great Tyrone Power swashbucklers ) is great fun, full of vitality and suspense, an exciting, deliciously ironic swashbuckler
the cast includes:
Tyrone Power ... Don Diego Vega/Zorro
Linda Darnell ... Lolita Quintero
Basil Rathbone ... Captain Esteban Pasquale
Gale Sondergaard ... Inez Quintero
Eugene Pallette ... Fray Felipe
J. Edward Bromberg ... Don Luis Quintero
Montagu Love ... Don Alejandro Vega
Janet Beecher ... Señora Isabella Vega
George Regas ... Sergeant Gonzales
Chris-Pin Martin ... The Turnkey
Robert Lowery ... Rodrigo
Belle Mitchell ... Maria de Lopez
John Bleifer ... Pedro
Frank Puglia ... Propietor
Eugene Borden ... Officer of the Day
Pedro de Cordoba ... Don Miguel
Guy D'Ennery ... Don José
Stanley Andrews ... Commanding Officer
Ralph Byrd ... Student/Officer
Charles Stevens ... Jose, a Peón
1. Tyrone Power
Date of Birth: 5 May 1914 - Cincinnati, Ohio
Date of Death: 15 November 1958 - Madrid, Spain.
2. Linda Darnell
Date of Birth: 16 October 1923 - Dallas, Texas
Date of Death: 10 April 1965 - Glenview, Illinois
3. Basil Rathbone
Date of Birth: 13 June 1892- Johannesburg, South Africa
Date of Death: 21 July 1967 - New York, New York
4. Gale Sondergaard
Date of Birth15 February 1899 - Litchfield, Minnesota
Date of Death: 14 August 1985 - Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
5. Eugene Pallette
Date of Birth: 8 July 1889- Winfield, Kansas
Date of Death: 3 September 1954 - Los Angeles, California
6. J. Edward Bromberg
Date of Birth: 25 December 1903 - Temesvár, Austria-Hungary. [now Timisoara, Romania]
Date of Death: 6 December 1951 - London, England, UK
7. Rouben Mamoulian (Director)
Date of Birth: 8 October 1897 - Tiflis, Georgia, Russian Empire. [now Tbilisi, Georgia]
Date of Death: 4 December 1987 - Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
1. All new Colorized feature
2. Restored Black & White feature
3. Commentary by Film Critic Richard Schickel
4. Tyrone Power: :The Last Idol" as seen on Biography on A&E Network
5. Special Edition - Collectible Movie Photos from the film "The Mark of Zorro".
Hats off and thanks to Barry B. Sandrew Ph.D. (Founder, COO, CTO & Board Member) and his Legend Films Staff --- looking forward to more high quality releases from the vintage era of the '20s, '30s & '40s --- order your copy now from Amazon where there are plenty of copies available on DVD --- if you enjoyed this title, why not check out Legend Films where they are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the collector --- all my heroes have been cowboys!
Total Time: 93 mins on DVD ~ 20th Century Fox ~ (10/18/2005)
on 5 December 2014
Don Diego Vega has spent many years in Spain learning the arts of sword play and horse riding. On his return to his home in California he discovers that his father has been deposed as The Governor of his home region, and instead the spineless toad, Don Luis Quintero, sits in his place. Quintero himself used as a puppet and controlled by his cruel and brutal military Captain.
As soon as he realises what's going on, Don Diego, hides his true heroic and courageous nature from even his parents, instead pretending that he has learned the ways of, and become a foppish socialite since leaving for school in Spain.
A move which although outrages his father, allows him access to the home of the greedy Quintero, allowing Don Diego time to hatch a plot to put his father back into his rightful position of state. With a little help from Don Diego's alter ego, the masked avenger of justice: Zorro, of course...
This is such a great film it really is. It's got just about everything you'd want. Adventure, excitement, Zorro craves all these things! With some romance, stunts and sword fights thrown in for good measure of course.
Basil Rathbone plays the humourless villain, Captain Pasquale, who forces the Governor's hand (an act that doesn't take much doing in all fairness.) by threat of his expert swordsmanship! And of course in the end it's up to Zorro to free the people of tyranny, get the girl, and do for the baddies.
Tyrone Power plays the dashing Don Vega and he really looks the part, especially hilarious when he's camping it up in his tight trousers as Don Vega.. With the true highlight coming just before the end, involving the duel between Rathbone and Power. A fencing display that has arguably never been bested in cinema history! It's so frenzied and vicious it's simply mesmerising! With Rathbone (who was a superb fencer in real life!) and Power (who was also quite skilled ~ but semi~doubled by a stuntman in this) going at it hammer and tongues!
My only gripes being that I would have liked the final battle between Rathbone and Power to have featured longer in the film, later in the film, and with Power wearing the Zorro costume! Silly I know, but what can I say!
The US dvd has both the colourised (that's the version I watched, I'd only ever seen the black and white version before I think) and Black & White versions. Which they've done a very decent job on, considering the film's 75yrs old! The colourisation looks pretty good. There's also commentaries on both prints and a documentary on Tyrone Power.
Top movie. Probably the best Zorro movie, certainly the best I've seen.