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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 <email@example.com>
Like most of the actors who portrayed Zorro at around this time, Tyrone Power was not of Hispanic heritage (he was of British descent). See more »
When Esteban falls down, he knocks a picture off the wall, which then disappears and is not seen on the floor. In the next shot, the picture is seen on the floor in front of Esteban, when Diego throws his swords down on top of it 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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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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