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In old Spanish California, the oppressive colonial government is opposed by Zorro, masked champion of the people, who appears out of nowhere with flashing sword and an athletic sense of humor, scarring the faces of evildoers with his Mark. Meanwhile, beautiful Lolita is courted by villainous Captain Ramon, rich but effete Don Diego... and dashing Zorro, who is never seen at the same time as Don Diego. As Zorro continues to evade pursuit, Ramon puts the damsel in distress... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Douglas Fairbanks as the masked bandit in Old California...
Enjoyable silent film provided with a musical soundtrack by TCM.
DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS is the famous masked bandit, balancing a nice sense of humor and heroics, demonstrating the athletic side of Don Diego which has to be hidden by the more effete man who tires so easily. He's a Spanish version of the Scarlet Pimpernel. MARGUERITE DE LA MOTTE is a lovely heroine and ROBERT McKIM does everything but twirl his mustache as the villain from whose clutches Fairbanks must rescue the damsel in distress.
Obviously a high-budget production with rich settings, nicely photographed in Sepia or blue tints for the night scenes. What's really astonishing is Fairbanks doing all those climbing stunts in the last reel, with so much ease. Full of youthful vigor and high spirits, he found a role that suited him to perfection, able to show two sides of his personality with charm and/or vigor while not ignoring the stunts that made him famous.
It's an enjoyable and swaggering adventure, remade many times in the future, most notably with the 1940 sound version starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell and Basil Rathbone.
Summing up: Familiar yarn, well done and standing the test of time better than many other silent films thanks to good production values.
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