Pleasant scorpions! Agreeable rattlesnakes!
6 September 2020
The Mark of Zorro is directed by Rouben Mamoulian and is adapted to screenplay by John Taintor Foote, Garrett Fort and Bess Meredyth from Johnston McCulley's story "The Curse of Capistrano". It stars Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell, Gail Sondergarrd, Eugene Pallette and J. Edward Bromberg. Music is by Alfred Newman and cinematography by Arthur C. Miller.

The 1820's and the son of a California nobleman comes home from Spain to find his native land under a villainous dictatorship. So on one front he plays a dandy cowardly fop, while on the other he is the masked avenger of the people, Zorro.

A reimaging of the Douglas Fairbanks 1920 silent version, this cut is the definitive classic version. Matinee idol Power slips into the dual role of Don Diego Vega with ease, giving the Latin Robin Hood/Scarlet Pimpernel the requisite swashbuckling verve and glint in the eye comedic bravado. This in essence is 20th Century Fox's answer to WB's The Adventures of Robin Hood, and this does have similarities (no bad thing) with some players from "Hood" carried over into this production.

Rathbone is on his prime villain duty, and his swordplay with Power is a pure joy. Rathbone, a fully fledged trained swordsman gave Power the highest compliment about how well he took to fencing, and it shows as we get epees to the death (and a battle for best moustache). The romance sparkles, Sondergaard straight away wants to get into Power's pants, Power wants to get into Darnell's pants, while Rathbone will just take what he can while he fondles his sword.

It's a pure joy, for kids and adults of all ages, supremely directed by Mamoulian (the control of the 100's of extras at pic's finale is dynamite), and acted with style and knowing skill by the cast. You will believe that this Zorro does in fact change the course of history. A thrilling, fun, beautiful swashbuckler from a truly golden age. 9/10
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