Hollywood’s Hispanic Heritage Blogathon – The Mark of Zorro (1940)

This is a review for Aurora of Once Upon A Screen’s Hollywood’s Hispanic Heritage Blogathon  which will take place on the 29 September.

Thanks for letting me take part Aurora!

“How could I refuse a man anything with a naked sword in his hand?” – Don Diego Vega

Number of Times Seen – 1 (24 Sep 2019)

Brief Synopsis – An aristocratic Spaniard dons a mask in order to fight for justice in Los Angeles against the corrupt local government officials and their policies.

My Take on it – I have see a number of versions of the character of Zorro over the years and Tyrone Powers does quite a good job with this one.

The story works really well and in some ways is quite reminiscent of the legend of Robin Hood transplanted into a Spanish held Los Angeles during the early part of the 19th Century.

This is a swashbuckling movie and they give us some nice sword-fights and swordplay along the way.

Powers does a great job in the lead role and is able to play the dual personality of this kind of hero with a secret identity.

The story plays out really well and the way things move along makes it seem like a modern superhero story and act like they do when fighting injustice.

He most notably reminded me of Batman who is a billionaire playboy by day and crime fighter at night.

Loved the way that due to the fact that he must play the personalities so differently, it makes things conceivable that he can be unrecognizable when he dons the mask.

Bottom Line – Interesting modernized version of the Robin Hood legend transplanted to Los Angeles in the 19th Century. The story is done well and they have some enjoyable sword fight scenes that work really well in establishing the kind of genre that this film represents. Powers is great in the lead role and is able to play the dual personality of this character quite well. The way that the story plays out works well and actually reminded me of the way that some modern superheros act and fight, most notably Batman who is a playboy by day and crime fighter by night.  This is especially true when we get to see him use each of the personalities so effectively since when he wears the mask, he truly become unrecognizable. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The famous duel was staged by Hollywood fencing master Fred Cavens. Cavens specialized in staging duels that relied more on actual swordplay rather than the jumping on furniture and leaping from balconies that many film “duels” consisted of up until that point. Cavens’ son, Albert Cavens, doubled for Tyrone Power in the fancier parts of the duel (mostly with his back to camera), such as the extended exchange with Esteban ending with Don Diego’s sword smashing into the bookcase. Basil Rathbone, a champion fencer in real life, did not care for the saber (the weapon of choice in this film), but nevertheless did all of his own fencing. Fast fencing shots were undercranked to 18 or 20 frames per second (as opposed to the standard 24fps) and all the sound effects were post-synchronized. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)


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5 thoughts on “Hollywood’s Hispanic Heritage Blogathon – The Mark of Zorro (1940)

  1. Pingback: Bloggers Celebrate Hollywood’s Hispanic Heritage – Once upon a screen…

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1940 | MovieRob

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