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The Mark of Zorro (1940)

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The Mark of Zorro (1940)


Tyrone Power
Linda Darnell
Basil Rathbone

Directed by Rouben Mamoulian

One thing this movie has is impressive horse riding chase scenes that make you grin at the ingenuity of the director and the cinematographer. The films pace is so exciting that you know that you just have to dip your hat to how it was captured on celluloid.
Basil Rathbone (who is famous for playing Sherlock Holmes in the Rathbone/Bruceseries that contained 14 movies between the years of 1939 – 1946) is a famous Hollywood swordsman, and I also read that Tyrone Power was also good with sword, and so I eagerly waited for the duel scene between the two.

When the duel started, the idea that this was actually both the actors willing the swords and not just mere stunt men also added to the fun, as the duel is just wonderful and masterful, the grace and the speed the two masterful swordsmen displayed on screen is one that I will always remember, and one that I ask others to see, because I have not seen better fencing than that as of now.

The movie had scenes that jumped at you, there was another chase scene where Zorro (Tyrone Power) made his horse jump off a bridge into a stream and made the horse ride/swam to shore, it was such a sight I raised my brow in amazement, wondering how many shots the director had to take to get that scene right.

The Mark of Zorro is fun, although you can pick out plot holes and wonder how the hero was planning to achieve anything in the riot like ending, but the movie was fun to see all the way through, the story arc is taken from the story The Curse of Capistranowritten by Johnston McCulley in 1919, the book introduced the masked hero Zorro, who was like Robin Hood in most sense. Set in Southern California during the early 19th century, the plot deals with Don Diego Vega/Zorro (Tyrone Power), who returned home to find that his town is being extorted by the Governor and his henchman Captain Esteban Pasquale (Basil Rathbone).

Diego then became the mask vigilante Zorro to be able to able to defend his people from the hand of the corrupt Governor.

The Mark of Zorro is a true oldie; the score is so obvious and doesn’t blend with the movie (from my own point of view) although the score did get an Academy Award nomination.

The Mark of Zorro is one you can take the time to see even if it is just to see the duel between Power and Rathbone.


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