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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the classic fox period
the films of 20th century fox had a sheen unlike the other studios output.
one of their main stars; tyrone power (an underrated star today)was an embodiment of this sylized sheen.
he was different than errol flynn. while you always sensed flynn's bad boy personality even when he played squaeky clean heroes, power was far more an actor and his performances always...
Published on June 6 2004 by ageofanxiety

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars LOUSY TRANSFER RUINS A POWERFUL PERFORMANCE!
"The Mark of Zorro" is the most memorable of the Zorro films made about the black masked crusader, fighting for the people and against the injustices of corrupt political officials. Zorro (Tyrone Power) must stop Captain Pasquale (Basil Rathbone) from destroying Los Angeles by robbing its citizenry while he romances his gorgeous niece (Linda Darnell).
TRANSFER: Just...
Published on Oct. 7 2003 by Nix Pix


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the classic fox period, June 6 2004
This review is from: The Mark Of Zorro (1940) (DVD)
the films of 20th century fox had a sheen unlike the other studios output.
one of their main stars; tyrone power (an underrated star today)was an embodiment of this sylized sheen.
he was different than errol flynn. while you always sensed flynn's bad boy personality even when he played squaeky clean heroes, power was far more an actor and his performances always seem more professionally toned. he is more 'with the film' than standing out against it and this may be the reason for the lack of appreciation for him.
this film is the shining example to the hollywood of old.
its excellence was predictable when you mix the beauty of power and darenll with the down right fun villany of rathbone, the music of newman, the goya toned cinematography and the virtually flawless direction of mamoulian.
sadly, its the like of which we wont see again for numerous reasons.
NOW, IF FOX WOULD DIG INTO THEIR ARCHIVES AND RELEASE POWER'S BEST ACTING IN FILM; NIGHTMARE ALLEY' a film that has never even seen the light of vhs.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The best Zorro film ever!, Jan. 28 2004
This review is from: The Mark Of Zorro (1940) (DVD)
This is arguably the best film version of Johnston McCulley's costumed swordfighter of old California, beating out both the 1920s Douglas Fairbanks film and the recent Banderas/Hopkins blockbuster (although both are good films in their own rights).
What this film has is Golden Age Hollywood style in spades: glamourous photography, music, and star power. It has less action than you might expect, and Tyrone Power actually spends very little time in the Zorro costume -- he's in his 'civilian' duds for the whole finale. But the film is such good-natured fun and director Mamoulian has such a solid handle on the material that it hardly matters. The romance and comedy are also well executed and finely balanced with the physical action.
Speaking of action, the big duel between Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone is a stunner, an amazing piece of combat choreography. As a bonus, Fox Home Video has mixed the film in stereo; very rare for a film of the period. The disc also has a 45 minute episode of "Biography" about Tyrone Power. It spends only a minute on THE MARK OF ZORRO, but it does show a priceless outtake of Power dressed in the Zorro costume making fun of studio boss Darryl Zanuck. Even if you don't watch the whole documentary, make sure you speed through it to catch this riotous old Hollywood prank.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Eat Your Heart Out Antonio Banderas, Nov. 12 2003
By 
William R. Hancock (Travelers Rest, S.C. United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Mark Of Zorro (1940) (DVD)
For close on to a century now, the mysterious character Zorro has proved a major touchstone to 20th (and now 21st) century storytelling. From early pulp magazine adventures, on up through the early silent years of motion pictures (re: Douglas Fairbanks), then into the serials of the 1930's, the "A" list production of the 1940s (the subject of this review), the Walt Disney television series of the late 1950s with Guy Williams and its enormously popular Dell Publishing comic book companion series drawn by the legendary illustrator Alex Toth, a tv cartoon series, and, most recently, an "A" list revival with "The Mask Of Zorro", starring Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas.
And along the way, what else has El Zorro accomplished besides being enormously popular? Well, for one thing he became known as the FIRST "super-hero" with a SECRET IDENTITY. Whatever you call yourself now : Matt Murdock, Peter Parker, Clark Kent,Diana Prince...WHATEVER...you owe your secret identity and crime fighter personas to Don Diego and Zorro, so many years ago. The late Bob Kane always freely admitted that Batman (and Bruce Wayne) derived DIRECTLY from "The Mark of Zorro" with Tyrone Power.
So does someone else, though his own "secret identity"(John Reid) got dropped...or rather, buried...early on. The Lone Ranger. The mysterious masked man was lifted from Zorro. Even more interestingly, when George Trendle was casting his Lone Ranger t.v. show in 1949 he got most interested in..and eventually hired for the part...Clayton Moore, whom he was impressed with when seen in the title role of a Republic serial.
The name of the serial? "The Ghost of Zorro".
So, friends, this Z-Man is an ENORMOUS cultural icon. If you have seen him in the person of Antonio Banderas you have seen a good, VERY acceptable version of him. But friend, neither Banderas...nor Guy Williams...nor Douglas Fairbanks...can TOUCH Tyrone Power in this, the greatest of all Zorro screen incarnations. This is "IT". The picture quality isn't perfect, and the "extras" on the DVD are pretty lame, but THIS Zorro movie is THE Zorro movie.
Here you get Basil Rathbone Vs. Power with blades. Power was a good fencer, but Rathbone was Hollywood's greatest.When you wanted a super swordfight in classic Hollywood you got Rathbone. He dueled Flynn in Captain Blood and Robin Hood, and Power in Zorro. Lost EVERY TIME but made it look good.Made it look GREAT!
You also see things here that mark changes in the appearance of the character. The mask is used either as an eye mask or a bandanna. Also the cape/cloak is NOT used with the black outfit, ever (impedes sword fighting maneuverability). The cloak is worn only OVER "civilian" clothes when a quick-change is necessary.
The cape/cloak worn WITH the black clothing appears for the first time in the Walt Disney t.v. series and is used solely for visual effect. This wardrobe combination, however, has seemingly become standard now and is used again in the newer Banderas "Mask" product as well.
You have no mute (and pretending to be deaf) servant "Bernardo" here...another Disney late addition..and no secret cavern hideaway. This is bare-bones Zorro, free from elaborate trappings. But this movie moves with verve and panache and humour and cinematic savvy, and doesn't need the elaborate trappings layered on later by others.
So saddle up your own stallion, test your foil with a whipping swish through the air, and ride out into the night (...when the full moon is bright) with the horseman known as Zorro. Cut some Zees. You'll be glad you did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, bad commentary, Oct. 30 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mark Of Zorro (1940) (DVD)
One of my favorite movies is on DVD. Finally. Tyrone Power is the best Zorro you will ever see, and the supporting cast is top-notch. And let's not forget the fantastic score by Alfred Newman. One of his finest. Eevrything is polished here, production-wise. There is also an excellent Biography show on Tyrone Power and an outtake from the movie.
The only thing that I can say that is detrimental about the DVD is the commentary by Richard Schickel. He is a very respected film historian, but his commentary is slow and boring. What's worse is that he will explain a part of the plot as we are seeing it. For example, during one scene, he will talk about how Power's character of Don Diego suddenly realizes that when they are talking about the Alcalde being a tyrant, they are talking about his father's corrupt replacement, not his father. Well, duh, Richard, hello, I can see that without any additional coaching. Play the movie without the commentary and you will thrill to one of the best swashbucklers ever. Listen to the commentary and you will probably be asleep long before the movie is over, as I was.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The March of the Swashbucklers to DVD Continues . . ., Oct. 7 2003
By 
Daniel Waitkoss (St. Charles, Missouri USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Mark Of Zorro (1940) (DVD)
"The Mark of Zorro" is in many ways Twentieth Century-Fox's answer to Warners long string of swashbucklers and, in particular, Errol Flynn--and a magnificent answer it is. The film never lags in its story of the masked avenger by night and stylish coward by day. Power was in top form in this rousing and exciting film that makes mincemeat of "The Mask of Zorro" and any other film using Zorro as a main character--especially the foreign films like "Three Swords of Zorro" in the 1960s.
Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell make a wonderful on-screen couple with their dance in front of her aunt and uncle a highlight of the film. The music moves and the theme of the film will haunt any lover of film music. The side players are also perfect.
In short, as these great film adventures come to DVD, it is great to see that Mr. Power, Ms. Darnell, the villanous Mr. Rathbone, and many of the others will be among them. Now,please, oh please DVD gods, bring on "Captain Blood" and "The Sea Hawk" and allow this viewer to die a happy man!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tyrone Power at his best!, May 24 2002
By A Customer
During the age when swashbuckling action films were the most popular form of entertainment, there arose from Twentieth Century Fox an adventure film that topped all others. This film was "The Mark of Zorro" starring Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone. The daring masked avenger cloaked in black has been an American legend for 80 years, and many films have been produced starring the masked fox. However, I believe that this film is the best Zorro production ever made.
The setting is Spanish California in 1820. Don Diego Vega (Tyrone Power), an expert fencer of Madrid an in the elite training corps, is summoned back to Los Angeles by his fahter, Don Alejandro (Montagu Love), the alcalde. Upon arriving home, Diego learns his father has been run out of office by Capitan Esteban Pasquale (Basil Rathbone). Esteban holds in his hand the perfect puppet, a superstitious, greedy alcalde, Luis Quintero (J. Edward Bromberg). However, Diego pretends to be a fop, unmotivated to fight the capitan, befriending the alcalde and his wife Inez (Gale Sondergaard). However, Diego soon dons the mask of a daring hero, identifying himself as Zorro. Zorro terrorizes the alcalde and robs Esteban of the money he has robbed from the peons. Zorro and a local padre (Eugene Pallete) work to return the money to the citizens of Los Angeles. Diego/Zorro also falls in love with the beautiful Lolita Quintero (Linda Darnell), the niece of the alcalde. She cares nothing for her father's plans, her full support to Zorro. However, when the padre is arrested, Diego abandons his mask and leads the caballeros on a revolt.
This film added into the Zorro figure a new trait. In most Zorro stories, Zorro forces his enemies to return stolen money themselves. This Zorro, more serious, delivers the gold himself. This is a definate classic.
Of course, the film has it's problems. Power spends less time as Zorro and more time as Diego. Zorro only battles one soldier, the main battle occuring between Esteban and Diego. However, dispite minor errors, this film is an undisputed classic, and cannot not be missed by Zorro fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Supreme Zorro Film, May 19 2002
By A Customer
After the success of Warner Brothers "The Adventures of Robin Hood," starring Errol Flynn, Twentieth Century Fox released a film of their namesake, "The Mark of Zorro," starring Tyrone Power. It was a box office hit, and is a classic of it's time. While not in color, and wary of action, this film holds up as, in my opinion, the best of the Zorro films.
In the 1800's, the Spanish Empire rules California. Don Diego Vega (Tyrone Power), is "the best fencer of Madrid." He is ordered home by his father, Don Alejandro. Upon arrival, he hears that the alcalde is an evil tyrant. But Diego's fahter is the alcalde!
Diego learns from Capitan Esteban Pasquale (Basil Rathbone) that his father resigned, and that Luis B. Quintero (J. Edward Bromberg) has replaced him as alcalde. Both Esteban and Quintero are worthless land theives, taxing the peons into poverty to fill their own pockets. However, Diego suddenly appears to have lost his swordsman skills, now acting foppish and peaceful, much to Alejandro's dissapointment. However, Deigo soon becomes the black-clad Zorro, a daring freedom fighter rescuing both the rich and poor from the tyrants. To disguise himself, he must remain foppish. Only the padre Felipe (Eugene Pallette) knows his true identity, along with Diego's fiance Lolita Quintero (Linda Darnell), a kind girl against her uncle and his henchman. However, when Fray Felipe is arrested as Zorro for trying to defend the mission taxes, Diego abandons both disguises and leads the caballeros and peons to battle, personally taking on Esteban in a spectacular showdown.
"The Mark of Zorro" was based on three stories. One was Johnston McCulley's original Zorro story. Unlike the Fairbanks film, the theme here focuses on saving the people from corruption, rather than defending Lolita. Another was Douglas Faribanks's "The Mark of Zorro" (1920). The other was "The Adventures of Robin Hood." Basil Rathbone and Eugene Pallette had roles in the Robin Hood film before starring in "The Mark of Zorro." Zorro here as a Robin Hood characteristic: he steals tax money and returns it to the people. Most Zorros force their enemies to give the money back themselves.
Sword battles in this film occur mainly between Diego and Esteban. The fencing in this movie is excellent. Rathbone is one of the best fencer's of all time, as is Power. The Zorro in this film is the closest thing ever that fits the Zorro legacy. This is a beautiful classic, one than cannot be missed.
And yes, I know, this exact same review is already up, but I made a few errors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The supreme Zorro film, May 15 2002
By A Customer
After the success of Warner Brothers "The Adventures of Robin Hood," starring Errol Flynn, Twentieth Century Fox released a film of their namesake, "The Mark of Zorro," starring Tyrone Power. It was a box office hit, and is a classic of it's time. While not in color, and wary of action, this film holds up as, in my opinion, the best of the Zorro films.
In the 1800's, the Spanish Empire rules California. Don Diego Vega (Tyrone Power), is "the best fencer of Madrid." He is ordered home by his father, Don Alejandro. Upon arrival, he hears that the alcalde is an evil tyrant. But Diego's fahter is the alcalde!
Diego learns from Capitan Esteban Pasquale (Basil Rathbone) that his father resigned, and that Luis B. Quintero (J. Edward Bromberg). Both Esteban and Quintero are worthless land theives, taxing the peons into pverty to fill their own pockets. However, Diego suddenly appears to have lost his swordsman skills, now acting foppish and peaceful, much to Alejandro's dissapointment. However, Deigo soon becomes the black-clad Zorro, a daring freedom fighter rescuing both the rich and poor from the tyrants. To disguise himself, he must remain foppish. Only the padre Felipe (Eugene Pallette) knows his true identity, along with Diego's fiance Lolita Quintero (Linda Darnell), a kind girl against her uncle and his henchman. However, when Fray Felipe is arrested as Zorro for trying to defend the mission taxes, Diego abandons both disguises and leads the caballeros and peons to battle, personally taking on Esteban in a spectacular showdown.
"The Mark of Zorro" was bassed on three stories. One was Johnston McCulley's original Zorro story. Unlike the Fairbanks film, the theme here focuses on saving the people from corruption, rather than defending Lolita. Another was Douglas Faribanks's "The Mark of Zorro" (1920). The other was "The Adventures of Robin Hood." Basil Rathbone and Eugene Pallette had roles in the Robin Hood film before starring in "The Mark of Zorro." Zorro here as a Robin Hood characteristic: he steals tax money and returns it to the people. Most Zorros force their enemies to give the money back themselves.
Sword battles in this film occur mainly between Diego and Esteban. The fencing in this movie is excellent. Rathbone is one of the best fencer's of all time, as is Power. The Zorro in this film is the closest thing ever that fits the Zorro legacy. This is a beautiful colassic, one than cannot be missed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ...He makes the sign of the Z..., April 28 2002
By A Customer
When Johnston Mculley created Zorro as a pulp fiction story in "The Curse of Capistrano" in 1919, he had no idea his creation would become an American legend. Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. starred in the original film, "The Mark of Zorro" during the silent film era. In 1936, the fox returned in sound. Robert Livinstone starred in Republic Pictures "The Bold Caballero." Republic extended Zorro's legacy with action chapterplays, although "Zorro's Fighting Legion" was the only true Zorro story. However, Tyrone Power seems to be the definate version of Zorro. Although a departure from Mculley's original story, it remains entertaining and enjoyable.
Don Diego Vega (Power), the best fencer in Madrid, is ordered home by his father, the alcalde. Upon returning, he learns from Capitan Esteban (Basil Rathbone) that his father "resigned," and that Luis Quintero serves in his place. Quintero is a greedy theif, over-taxing the peons and caballeros to poverty. Diego pretends to be a foppish coward. However, he soon dons the mask of Zorro. He robs the alcalde of his money and restores it to the people. Quintero's kind neice Lolita(Linda Darnell) admires the courageous fox for his determination for freedom. Zorro continually threatends Quintero to leave for Spain and name Diego's father Alejandro as his succesor.
This film was one of the greatest portrayles of the fox. Diego is such a sissy in this film that you would never guess he could ever become Zorro, and that was a key point in the story-Diego could not be daring. The setting is the pueblo of Los Angeles in the 1800s. In Mculley's story Capitan Ramon served as commandante of Los Angeles. Los Angeles was not a Presido, so it would not have been ruled by a commander. "The Mark of Zorro" corrected this error, using an alcalde as it really was. This film has a stron cast, stunning battles, and delightful characters. This film was re-made in the 1970's, but it was a terrible letdown.
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5.0 out of 5 stars AN ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE!!!!, Sept. 3 1999
By 
My history teacher originally reccommended this movie to me, and, confidentially, I was a bit skeptical. My father said he had seen it before and also thought it was wonderful, but I still wasn't sure. So one day, I watched this movie on AMC, and, believe me, I am now in agreement with my teacher and Dad!! Every single time it is on TV I watch it, even though I already have it on tape. Just recently I saw the Douglas Fairbanks version, and I must say that while I didn't feel it was better, and I did not feel it was worse either, I thought it was much funnier. Fairbanks has you in stitches while he's running around in his Zorro costume, jumping over things and throwing food at people. If you haven't seen the Tyrone Powers version, go rent it immediately!! If you haven't seen the silent version, see that now, too!! (Don't let the quality of the silent one discourage you. In the one I saw, the film was constantly going from blindingly light to almost pitch black. Even so, it is one of the funniest movies I have ever seen.) SEE THESE MOVIES NOW!!!!!!
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The Mark Of Zorro (Special Edition) (Colorized / Black & White) (1940)
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