Friday, August 14, 2009

The Mark of Zorro

The story of Zorro has been done on film quite a few times. An adaptation from Hollywood's golden age, the 1940 movie The Mark of Zorro, is coming up tomorrow at 7:30 AM ET on the Fox Movie Channel.

Here, the title character is played by Tyrone Power, who at this point in his career was getting put in a lot of period pieces, especially those that involved him swashbuckling. As the story goes, the new colonial governor (J. Edward Bromberg) is corrupt and abusive of his citizens; it's up to Power's Don Diego to do something about it because it's his father who has been deposed of what is rightfully his spot as governor. So, Don Diego dons the mask and becomes Zorro, and the rest, as they say, is the stuff of movie legend, even if we all know the story.

Ah, but at least even if you know the story, you can watch a cast of stars you've seen in a hundred different movies. Basil Rathbone plays the officer given the responsibility of tracking down Zorro, and ends up in a swordfight with Don Diego. Montagu Love plays Don Diego's father, but has no idea that his son is the one going around as Zorro. Indeed, the only person who does is the local priest, played by lovable Eugene Pallette. Along the way, Don Diego romances a young Linda Darnell, the new hot young thing on the Fox lot; she just happens to be the daughter of the evil governor. The governor's wife is played by Gale Sondergaard, who in that same year was extorting Bette Davis in The Letter.

The Mark of Zorro is, needless to say, a heck of a lot of fun. It's also been released to DVD, so you can watch it any time you wish.

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