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The Mark of Zorro (1940)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 6,883 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 49 critic

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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(screenplay), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Mark of Zorro (1940)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Diego
...
...
...
...
J. Edward Bromberg ...
Montagu Love ...
Janet Beecher ...
George Regas ...
Chris-Pin Martin ...
Turnkey
Robert Lowery ...
Rodrigo
Belle Mitchell ...
Maria
John Bleifer ...
Pedro
Frank Puglia ...
Propietor
Eugene Borden ...
Officer of the Day
Edit

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  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (censored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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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

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 »

Quotes

Don Diego Vega: I must please ask you to change the subject. His Excellency objects to talk of throat-cutting.
Captain Esteban Pasquale: Quiet, you Popinjay! I have no reason to letting you live either.
Don Diego Vega: What a pleasant coincidence. I feel exactly the same way about you Capitan.
Captain Esteban Pasquale: You wouldn't care to translate that feeling into action would you?
Don Diego Vega: I might be tempted. If I had a weapon.
Captain Esteban Pasquale: Would you.
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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A masterpiece of screen Swordplay...

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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