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The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Romance | 8 November 1940 (USA)
A young aristocrat must masquerade as a fop in order to maintain his secret identity of Zorro as he restores justice to early California.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Chris-Pin Martin ...
Turnkey
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Rodrigo
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Maria
John Bleifer ...
Pedro
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Propietor
Eugene Borden ...
Officer of the Day
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Jagged Mark of His Sword Struck Terror to Every Heart - But One! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

8 November 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Californian  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (censored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The famous duel was staged by Hollywood fencing master Fred Cavens. Cavens specialized in staging duels that relied more on actual swordplay rather than the jumping on furniture and leaping from balconies that many film "duels" consisted of up until that point. Cavens' son, Albert Cavens, doubled for Tyrone Power in the fancier parts of the duel (mostly with his back to camera), such as the extended exchange with Esteban ending with Don Diego's sword smashing into the bookcase. Basil Rathbone, a champion fencer in real life, did not care for the saber (the weapon of choice in this film), but nevertheless did all of his own fencing. Fast fencing shots were undercranked to 18 or 20 frames per second (as opposed to the standard 24fps) and all the sound effects were post-synchronized. See more »

Goofs

When Diego dines with the Quinteros, Inez asks him to show them "the new dance steps." He and Lolita then dance together, but somehow the sheltered young Lolita knows the dance perfectly. This doesn't make sense if it contains "new dance steps" that even society-mad Inez doesn't know. See more »

Quotes

Captain Esteban Pasquale: His Excellency will never forgive me if I let you go without a word of welcome from him. I'm quite sure that you'll save me a reprimand.
Don Diego Vega: How could I refuse a man anything with a naked sword in his hand?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: MADRID - when the Spanish Empire encompassed the globe, and young blades were taught the fine and fashionable art of killing ... See more »

Connections

Version of The Mark of Zorro (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Thrilling movie and one of Power's best
4 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Director Rouben Mamoulian keeps the pace and excitement going in the wonderful 1940 "The Mark of Zorro" starring Tyrone Power, Basil Rathbone, Linda Darnell, Gale Sondergaard, Eugene Palette, and J. Edward Bromberg. All are excellent.

This is one of Power's best performances in one of his best films. He is hilarious in the role of the exhausted, foppish, bored Don Diego, who is always whining, brushing nonexistent dirt from his clothing and fanning himself with his handkerchief. That is, when he isn't sniffing it and remembering the smell of "...Ah! Musk!" The way he drags himself around, performing stupid magic tricks, getting the shakes when he hears about Zorro, which disgusts his father and his betrothed (young, beautiful Linda Darnell) is a riot! When he becomes Zorro, racing through the woods on his horse as his cape fans out in the wind and whipping that sword around to make the sign of a Z (yes, I'm a baby boomer and I remember the song) - he's commanding, dashing, and frightening. This is a bravura performance.

There are so many great action scenes in the film - the alcalde's men chasing Zorro, the jail break, and the greatest of all, for which the film is remembered - the sword fight between Power and Rathbone. I first saw this film as a child, and I never forgot that bit with the candle! Inspired! A brilliant and classic scene.

Power was the 5th highest box office draw in 1940, and The Mark of Zorro set him up for lots more swashbuckling. When you see Zorro, you can understand why.


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