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Around 1820 the son of a California nobleman comes home from Spain to find his native land under a villainous dictatorship. On the one hand he plays the useless fop, while on the other he is the masked avenger Zorro. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During filming, Tyrone Power was in the habit of taking an early morning swim in a pool that he insisted on being carefully pre-heated. Darryl F. Zanuck played a prank on him by arranging for the heating to be turned off. Power dived in and got such a shock that he later claimed he nearly had a heart attack. He got his revenge. Zanuck watched the dailies every day with a critical eye and one evening saw something unexpected; the cast and crew collaborated to film a spoof version of the hold-up scene where Zorro robs a coach carrying the Governor and his wife. When Zorro is supposed to slash his Z into the vehicle's upholstery, the camera reveals he has slashed "DZ". "Oh my God, it's Zanuck" his victims gasp. Power responds: "That's right, you bastards..." and describes the producer in very unflattering language. See more »
The soldiers at the beginning of the film wager 10 Pesos. This is in Spain where the currency would be the Peseta not the Mexican Peso. See more »
To think that the boy that I helped to raise, the boy that I taught to hold a firm wrist behind a true point, has turned into a puppy! Bah!
Don Diego Vega:
Well,! Tsk, tsk, tsk! How vexatious!
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Tyrone Power - the swashbuckling answer to Errol Flynn - is cast as the agile masked avenger who decides to take up the people's cause in disguise leaving his 'mark' "Z" everywhere, on walls, coach, wooden barrels and human chest...
Power - in a double leading role - is at his best as Zorro, climbing, jumping, riding and fencing, determined to finish with tyranny and oppression by terrorizing, and retrieving taxation funds and by challenging a cunning officer, proving in public his indifference, his ostentation and irony as a perfect pacifist fop in 19th-Century Spanish California, confusing and deceiving his aristocratic father Don Alejandro Vega (Montagu Love), the deposed Alcalde...
The inspired casting (in supporting roles) recalls "The Adventures of Robin Hood."
Linda Darnell is the pretty Lolita, Quintero's charming niece, who loves the mysterious hero and can't tolerate the fop until she is told that they are the image of the same person...
Basil Rathbone, one of the most durable of screen villains who has mastered stage fencing but never won a Swordfight, plays the cruel captain Esteban Pasquale, the Alcalde's military adviser... He is a second-rate soldier of fortune who leads the campaign of frustrating taxation, who considered Diego "a fancy clown" but who suggests a practical plan, an alliance for the good of the state...
J. Edward Bromberg is the cowardly Alcalde, Don Luis Quintero, a corrupted thief, enemy of the people, whose tyranny and avarice are always enforced by the treachery of his iron hand, the rigorous captain Esteban...
Eugene Palette plays the mission 'fat' priest (Father Felipe) who ignores that Diego is the opposing force...
The high point of the picture is the fantastic duel between Power and Rathbone, a masterpiece of screen Swordplay...
Rouben Mamoulian succeeds in making two great stars dance to an unheard music... With a touch of a great filmmaker, Mamoulian mixes harmoniously movement and action, decor and lightning with rage and turmoil, heroism and romance...
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...
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