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  • English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • German: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
    French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, German - Hearing Impaired

    The Mark of Zorro

    20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . B&W . 90 mins . G . PAL


    Swashbuckling was almost an artform in the day this picture was made. Here Tyrone Power, forever among the high kings of the swashbuckle, does an effective justice to a character who has surely not seen his last movie adaptation.

    Diego Vega is a bored and wealthy soldier son of an aristocrat who is currently running California from a small place called Los Angeles. When Diego, an accomplished swordsman, arrives from Madrid he finds his father no longer in charge, but one Don Luis Quintero running the show. This bad man has upped taxes to the point of starving his constituents and runs the place by brutal force. Well, Diego thinks this shit ainít right, but feigning the air of a dandy, does nothing but agree with the unrighteous.

    "My dear Esteban is forever thrusting at this and thatÖ"

    Later that dayÖ

    A mysterious fellow named Zorro proclaims himself kickarse vigilante of the reason with one goal: ousting Don Luis. Meanwhile, Diego is betrothed with Don Luisí daughter and they are to be married (against her wishes until she learns his secret). However, Zorro gets sloppy and leaves a clue that gives away his identity and he is imprisoned and exposed. Whatever is a poor sadistic vigilante to do?

    Well, what else, I ask you?

    This is a film firmly ensconced in the time it was made and the eraís working conditions of Hollywood. There sure arenít many Spanish or Mexicans playing any of the major roles within this 1940 classic. That aside, the film is naturally a good clean fight. No blood flows unstoppered hereÖ although there is a tragedy in a cellar when all the vats of wine are emptying into the dirt. Oh, the horror!

    Everything is all very exciting and the cast contains two swashbucklers from another classic swashbuckling affair, Robin Hood. The guy who plays Friar Tuck in that also plays a monk here while perennial bad guy Basil Rathbone plays the evil Captain Esteban Pasquale Ė an ex-fencing instructor who likes to thrust everything in sight (see quote above). One thing in their favour though; the actors do all their own fencing scenes and this is rough stuff and fast! Thereís no pausing for breath even; they just slash and hack at each other until one guy takes a length of steel in the gut and drops dead. No brave last words, no heroic clutching of riches to the chest, nuthiní. Dead, just like that. Hollywood of today could learn a lesson hereÖ

    Anyhow if thereís anyone reading this who was alive when this puppy hit screens youíll immediately be taken back to the era of your youth when guys could wear tight, tight pants giving info to all about which side they dressed. Plus thereís dancing and golden moments in which the Doris Day filter gets switched on. Itís got everything, I tells ya. Wine, swordfights, guys carrying their lunches, chicks in impractical daywear, white Mexicans, everything!


    Okay, this year marks (geddit?) this filmís 64th year on Earth and it doesnít look a day over 60. Itís fairly dinged up with artefacts aplenty throughout. All sorts too; specks, scratches, burns and light waver and reflection. Thereís also an unusual upward scrolling macro blocking during the darker bits that Iíve not seen before. Shadow detail is non-existent in the solid and murky blacks here. Delivered in 4:3, Iíve seen much better transfers of black and white films than this, but then again Iíve seen worse as well. For its age, it looks pretty good, but for a DVD transfer itís average at best.


    Good old Dolby Digital mono brings every poorly veiled accent and wooden delivery top raging life. The dialogue isnít all bad, in fact some of itís pretty good, but there are those moments we all know. Sound effects are okay, especially during the fighting scenes with swords clanging and clashing, and the music is effectively tinny and sounds like itís been ground out on a steel tin with grooves cut in it. Itís also very swashbuckling itself and does suit both the film and the period it was made, but not necessarily the period the film is set in. However, itís adequate for the purposes here.


    Zorro has restored these to their rightful place and left us cheering for him as a crowd, but still without extras.


    Diego gets it on with a stellar hottie in Linda Darnell here who plays Lolita Quintero, the daughter of the evil overlord of California and Los Angle-ease (as itís pronounced). Good for him. Tyroneís performance here is worthy of the role, but there are just one too many empty scenes obviously aimed at getting ladies into the cinemas. So many close shots on his arse while he does some Spanish dancing with Lolita (and I think I detected an elastic underpant line).

    Hey if youíre into the oldies, this one will no doubt thrill, though I found it a little slow and laboured by todayís pacing. There are some cool stunts, including jumping a horse off a bridge (which would probably have the Humane Society up in arms today) and plenty of fencing action, but if you donít like black and white, or have trouble with older films, this oneís not gonna change your mind.

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      And I quote...
    "Swashbuckling, swashbuckling, swashbuckling. Man thatís hard to type three times fastÖ "
    - Jules Faber
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