7.5/10
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The Mark of Zorro (1940)

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

Director:

Rouben Mamoulian

Writers:

John Taintor Foote (screenplay), Garrett Fort (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyrone Power ... Diego
Linda Darnell ... Lolita Quintero
Basil Rathbone ... Capt. Esteban Pasquale
Gale Sondergaard ... Inez Quintero
Eugene Pallette ... Fray Felipe
J. Edward Bromberg ... Don Luis Quintero
Montagu Love ... Don Alejandro Vega
Janet Beecher ... Senora Isabella Vega
George Regas ... Sgt. Gonzales
Chris-Pin Martin ... Turnkey
Robert Lowery ... Rodrigo
Belle Mitchell ... Maria
John Bleifer John Bleifer ... Pedro
Frank Puglia ... Propietor
Eugene Borden Eugene Borden ... Officer of the Day
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More Like This 

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In 1844, after the assassination of Mormon leader Joseph Smith by an angry mob in Illinois, the Mormons choose Brigham Young as their new leader and follow him to a new promised land in Utah.

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A disinherited 13th Century Saxon nobleman leaves Norman England with an archer friend to seek his fortune in the Far East.

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This send-up of ragtime song and dance begins in 1915 San Francisco when society boy Roger Grant decides to pursue popular rather than serious music.

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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:

View content advisory »
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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 wanted posters are printed in English. While it's common in Hollywood movies to have English substitute for a foreign language, movie logic usually dictates that the written word be in the language the characters were really speaking - Spanish, in this case. Oddly enough, the posters are allegedly for the benefit of 18th-century Californian peasants, most of whom would never have learned to read anyway. See more »

Quotes

Don Diego Vega: [as Esteban repeatedly stabs a piece of fruit with a knife at the dinner table] Captain, you seem to regard that fruit as an enemy.
Captain Esteban Pasquale: A rival!
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 »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a colorized version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Never Been Kissed (1999) See more »

User Reviews

 
my favorite superhero movie
9 October 2004 | by dr_foremanSee all my reviews

I like to be an iconoclastic jerk sometimes, so whenever I'm asked to name the best superhero movie, I always say "The Mark of Zorro." Then I have to specify that I mean the Tyrone Power movie, not the Fairbanks one and certainly not the Banderas. Ah, elitism can be amusing sometimes...

Seriously, though, this is one heck of a motion picture. The best part is the pacing; it's deliciously slow, in the most effective way. Characters are developed fully, tensions heighten gradually, and just when you're on the verge of getting bored - BOOM! A fantastic chase scene or swordfight perfectly repays your patience. Well, my patience, anyway. Maybe you were bored the whole way through?

Tyrone Power is simply awesome in this flick. He's hilarious as the fey Don Diego, and he cuts an impressive figure as Zorro. It's easy to see that Batman was patterned on Zorro, as he also pretends to be a stupid playboy, but Bruce Wayne was *never* this cool.

Basil Rathbone makes a great villain, as always, and his close-quarters duel with Zorro is, as I'm sure you've heard, one of cinema's great action scenes (I think the confined setting actually enhances the suspense). Even J. Edward Bromberg, who plays a slightly dated and silly character, somehow manages to come across well - it's interesting to see his character come into his own as the main villain at the end of the movie.

Even the romance isn't a dud. Lots of amusing flirting goes on, and Linda Darnell certainly is easy on the eyes.

Why can't they make action flicks like this anymore? To paraphrase a certain famous political catchphrase, "it's the characters, stupid." Everybody in this movie is colorful and cool, and through them I get wrapped up in the plot. When the biggest complaint I have is a bit of rear-screen projection during a boat ride, you know the movie's almost perfect.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

8 November 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Californian See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,424
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (censored)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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