The Mask of Zorro (1998) Poster


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  • Don Diego de la Vega (Anthony Hopkins), the original Zorro, is captured and imprisoned by corrupt Spanish governor Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson) just as Spain concedes governance of California to Mexico. Twenty years later, Diego escapes from prison to find his daughter Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) being raised by Rafael as his own. He learns that Rafael has returned to California with a plan to regain control. Diego vows revenge against Raphael and, in doing so, decides to train a new Zorro to take his place. His successor, the cocky young thief Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas), who once met Zorro when he (Alejandro) was a child, has reasons of his own for wanting to wear the mask. Edit

  • The Mask of Zorro is based on a story and screenplay by American screenwriters Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, John Eskow, and Randall Johnson. However, the character Zorro was created by American author Johnson McCulley in a short story, "The Curse of Capistrano", first published in the pulp magazine All-Story Weekly in 1919. Some viewers have suggested that the film is based on Isabel Allende's novel Zorro, but the movie was released in 1998 whereas Allende's novel did not come out until 2005. A sequel to The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro (2005), was released in 2005. Edit

  • In 1821, Spain's three hundred-year domination of Mexico was about to come to an end. A people's rebellion, led by General Santa Anna, spread from the arid mountains of the south to the rich and fertile northern province known as California. Peasants gathered in the streets, calling for the blood of the last Spanish governor, Don Rafael Montero. Although under orders to return to Spain, Montero refused to relinquish power without one final reckoning. Edit

  • The first scene takes place on the day when Spain granted California to Mexico: September 27th, 1821. The action then jumps 20 years in the future, so the rest of the movie is set in 1841, five years before the Mexican-American War [1846-1848], which resulted in Mexico ceding California to the United States. Edit

  • It's the Romneya coulteri, commonly called the Matilija poppy. The flowers used in filming the movie, however, were most likely artificial. Once picked, poppies very quickly wilt and drop their petals, not a good characteristic for a delicate flower that might have to withstand hours of shooting and reshooting. Edit

  • Toronado is referred to in the movie as a black Andalusion. However, those who know their horses say that he is actually a Friesian. See a photo of a black Andalusion here and compare it to a black Friesian here. They do look very similar. Edit

  • Don Raphael plans to mine the gold in California and sell it to Santa Anna in exchange for the return for California. Edit

  • The music is credited as Spanish Tango. It has also been referred to as Malaguena, said to be derived from an old folk song called El Sombrero Blanco. As for the dance, those who are familiar with the tango say that the dance was definitely not a tango, at least not a classic tango. Other dances that have been suggested include the Paso Doble, the Flamenco, and the Fandango, or some variation of them. Edit

  • To an extent, Zorro cut off Elena's dress to humble her during a moment in the fight when she was powerless to prevent him from doing so, thus showing her that she was not the unstoppable fighter she thought she was. Of course, he also wished to see her unclothed. Though initially angry and shocked, Elena also appeared to be secretly pleased by Zorro seeing her unclothed, due to her strong attraction to him, and naturally wanted him to take some pleasure in seeing her virgin body unclothed. Edit

  • Indeed it's not Spanish. In Martin Campbell's commentary on the DVD, he says that she is speaking Narwack, one of the 62 indigenous Indian languages that are still spoken today in Mexico. Edit

  • It wasn't a full stemmed rose, more of a bud. Its stem was pinched between his fingers with the rose behind his hand so it couldn't be seen when he shows his empty palms. Then he just curls his fingers to bring it into view. [This description was provided by a magician.] Edit

  • The tricks on horseback were done by a trick rider named Tad Griffith. Check out his website here. There's a photo of him with Antonio Banderas. Edit

  • Don Diego takes on the name of Bernardo while Alejandro is in training. However, he is not mute. Edit

  • They don't want Santa Anna to know that the gold with which they aim to buy back California came from his own mines. The best way to assure that is to blow up the mines as well as any witnesses. Edit

  • He carved an M instead of a Z to represent his last name, Murrieta. He wanted Captain Love (Matt Letscher) to know that his death was personal. Love was responsible for the death of Alejandro's brother Joaquín Murrieta (Victor Rivers). It's also likely that the extra stroke that turned what would be a letter "Z" into a clockwise-rotated letter "M" was accidental given all the sudden and unpredictable movements of the duel; an accident for which Alejandro immediately quipped, "M for Murrieta!" Edit

  • While Alejandro duels with Love and Diego with Montero, Elena shoots the locks on the mine shafts and releases the miners. Alejandro ends up impaling Love with his own sword, avenging his brother's death. Montero mortally wounds Diego, but Diego sends Montero to his death by hitching him to a gold-laden wagon and sending it crashing off a cliff, crushing Love when it hits the ground. As the fuse burns closer and closer to the mine, Alejandro helps Elena get the miners to safety in the nick of time before the mine explodes. With his dying breath, Diego places Elena's hand in Alejandro's, giving them his blessing. The scene then cuts to a time in the future. Alejandro and Elena have married, and Alejando is relating to story of Zorro to his infant son, Joaguin, while Elena looks on, amused at his idea of putting the baby asleep. Elena and Alejandro then kiss, and Alejandro exits the room. In the final scene, Alejandro, now dressed as Zorro, draws his sword and slashes a burning "Z" across the screen. Edit



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