on June 6, 2004
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.
20th Century Fox present "THE MARK OF ZORRO" (Special Edition) (Released: November 8, 1940) (93 mins) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) --- now in COLOR and Glorious Black and White --- "The Mark of Zorro" is a 1940 feature motion picture directed by Rouben Mamoulian and produced by 20th Century Fox --- It starred Tyrone Power as Don Diego de la Vega (Zorro), Linda Darnell as his love interest, (Lolita Quintero), Montagu Love as (Don Alejandro Vega), Gale Sondergaard as the naughty (Inez Quintero), Eugene Pallette as (Fra. Felipe), with Basil Rathbone, one of the most durable of screen villains who has mastered stage fencing but never won a sword fight, plays the cruel (Captain Esteban Pasquale), the Alcalde's military adviser and J. Edward Bromberg was the corrupt governor (Don Luis Quintero ) --- The film was directed by Rouben Mamoulian and produced by Raymond Griffith and Darryl F. Zanuck.
Based on the Johnston McCulley story "The Curse of Capistrano", originally published in 1919, which introduced the masked hero Zorro, the movie's story is set in Southern California during the early 19th century --- It deals with the foppish son of a wealthy ranchero who returns to California after a sojourn at school in Spain, only to be horrified at the way the common people are being mistreated by Governor Quintero --- Don Diego adopts the guise of Zorro ("the Fox"), a Robin Hood like outlaw who becomes a defender of the people --- In the meanwhile, he romances the governor's beautiful niece, Lolita, and fends off the governor's ablest henchman, the malevolent Captain Pasquale --- The high point of the picture is the fantastic duel between Power and Rathbone, a masterpiece of screen Swordplay --- Tyrone Power had joined Errol Flynn as the reigning 'kings' of swashbucklers, a title both would find amusing, if limiting, but which would be how both actors are best remembered, today! (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Under Rouben Mamoulian (Director), Raymond Griffith (Producer), Darryl F. Zanuck (Producer), John Taintor Foote (Screenwriter), Garrett Elsden Fort (Screenwriter), Johnston McCulley (Short Story Author), Bess Meredyth (Screenwriter),Arthur C. Miller (Cinematographer), Alfred Newman (Musical Direction/Supervision / Composer (Music Score), Robert Bischoff (Editor), Richard Day (Art Director), Joseph C. Wright (Art Director), Thomas K. Little (Set Designer), Travis Banton (Costume Designer) - - - - This film is essentially a remake of the 1920 United Artists silent version, "The Mark of Zorro", which starred Douglas Fairbanks --- The 20th Century Fox 1940 version 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
the cast includes:
Tyrone Power ... Don Diego Vega/Zorro
Linda Darnell ... Lolita Quintero
Basil Rathbone ... Captain Esteban Pasquale
Gale Sondergaard ... Inez Quintero
Eugene Pallette ... Fray Felipe
J. Edward Bromberg ... Don Luis Quintero
Montagu Love ... Don Alejandro Vega
Janet Beecher ... Señora Isabella Vega
George Regas ... Sergeant Gonzales
Chris-Pin Martin ... The Turnkey
Robert Lowery ... Rodrigo
Belle Mitchell ... Maria de Lopez
John Bleifer ... Pedro
Frank Puglia ... Propietor
Eugene Borden ... Officer of the Day
Pedro de Cordoba ... Don Miguel
Guy D'Ennery ... Don José
Stanley Andrews ... Commanding Officer
Ralph Byrd ... Student/Officer
Charles Stevens ... Jose, a Peón
1. Tyrone Power
Date of Birth: 5 May 1914 - Cincinnati, Ohio
Date of Death: 15 November 1958 - Madrid, Spain.
2. Linda Darnell
Date of Birth: 16 October 1923 - Dallas, Texas
Date of Death: 10 April 1965 - Glenview, Illinois
3. Basil Rathbone
Date of Birth: 13 June 1892- Johannesburg, South Africa
Date of Death: 21 July 1967 - New York, New York
4. Gale Sondergaard
Date of Birth15 February 1899 - Litchfield, Minnesota
Date of Death: 14 August 1985 - Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
5. Eugene Pallette
Date of Birth: 8 July 1889- Winfield, Kansas
Date of Death: 3 September 1954 - Los Angeles, California
6. J. Edward Bromberg
Date of Birth: 25 December 1903 - Temesvár, Austria-Hungary. [now Timisoara, Romania]
Date of Death: 6 December 1951 - London, England, UK
7. Rouben Mamoulian (Director)
Date of Birth: 8 October 1897 - Tiflis, Georgia, Russian Empire. [now Tbilisi, Georgia]
Date of Death: 4 December 1987 - Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
1. All new Colorized feature
2. Restored Black & White feature
3. Commentary by Film Critic Richard Schickel
4. Tyrone Power: :The Last Idol" as seen on Biography on A&E Network
5. Special Edition - Collectible Movie Photos from the film "The Mark of Zorro".
Hats off and thanks to Barry B. Sandrew Ph.D. (Founder, COO, CTO & Board Member) and his Legend Films Staff --- looking forward to more high quality releases from the vintage era of the '20s, '30s & '40s --- order your copy now from Amazon where there are plenty of copies available on DVD --- if you enjoyed this title, why not check out Legend Films where they are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the collector --- all my heroes have been cowboys!
Total Time: 93 mins on DVD ~ 20th Century Fox Video. ~ (10/18/2005)
There've been many Zorro's down through the ages some called "the Mark of Zorro", " some of the legend of Zorro ", "Behind the mask of Zorro", " Zorro the Gay Blade" and so forth. Of all the Zorro's of comment on this is the Zorro that they are all measured by.
Diego Vega (Tyrone power) is being called home to old Los Angeles by his father and must give up his commission in Spain. When Diego gets home he finds his father, Don Alejandro Vega (Montagu Love), who was the Alcalde has had his position usurped by Don Luis Quintero (J. Edward Bromberg) and his henchmen Captain Esteban Pasquale (Basil Rathbone). Diego find that the opposition is too great and must call on his alter ego Zorro to save the day. While in the process of relieving Don Quintero of his ill-gotten tax gold, Diego finds and falls in love with Quintero's niece Lolita Quintero (Linda Darnell).
Can Zorro accomplish his mission and if so how? Let's watch together as the story plays out.
Zorro, the Gay Blade ~ George Hamilton
on January 28, 2004
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.
on November 12, 2003
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.
on October 30, 2003
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.
on October 7, 2003
"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!!!!!
on November 22, 2003
I just bought the DVD thinking it would have been digitally restored or duped from a good print or negative. Sadly, no. There are too many scratches for a state of the art digital DVD. Shame on the producers for not taking the effort to find a better print to work from, or to use computer technology to clean it up. I may miss my guess, but I believe that I have a VHS version that is cleaner than the DVD. That said, this is a classic to have. It moves at a fast pace with no wasted dialogue. Power gives a fine performance as do all the characters, such as Bromberg and Rathbone, with a twinkle of humor. The Darryl Zanuck joke on the extras is fun to see. Shickel commentary is kind of humdrum, and when he introduces Darnell, at her loveliest, as the "daughter" I felt hmm Richard you lost me already (she is the niece). I still await a better technical quality version on DVD. For now this will do.Zorro theme was actually done by Hugo Friedhofer,not Alfred Newman.
on March 4, 2004
Beautiful faces, gorgeous b&w photography, an array of old Hollywood's best character actors, brawling and tumultous fight scenes, probably the best sword fight ever filmed, and a rousing musical score that must have sent people almost dancing out of theaters with big smiles on their faces in 1940 - and will still make you smile in your living room. And dialogue laced with wit and humor as well as drama. Now THIS is what a Hollywood action movie should be!
This is one of the all-time best. Got the blues? This ought to chase them right away. Really got the blues? Try a double-feature of this with Flynn's The Adventures of Robin Hood. And you can keep all the Wars and Treks in the stars. They are made by mere children as compared to these old pros.
Why doesn't Tyrone Power have a cult of his own today? He was handsome and versatile, and a good actor whose performances hold up better than many of his competitors'. Ty Power's the Man!
on October 7, 2003
"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 awful! Though the original elements were in pretty bad shape, Fox has managed to restore much of the luster of the original camera negative. There are age related artifacts, but the real problem here is the edge enhancement and aliasing and shimmering of fine details that are present in EVERY SINGLE FRAME of this disc! The audio is remastered in stereo and nicely presented for its age.
EXTRAS: Only a bio on Tyrone Power and an audio commentary by Richard Schickel.
BOTTOM LINE: A thrilling story and wonderful performances ruined by a shoddy transfer. NO to "The Mark of Zorro".