Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.
In the 1840s, the foppish Don Diego de la Vega returns from Spain to his family in California to find that his father has been replaced as ruler of the region by the cruel Don Luis Quintero... See full summary »
Around 1820 the son of a California nobleman comes home from Spain to find his native land under a villainous dictatorship. On the one hand he plays the useless fop, while on the other he is the masked avenger Zorro.Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The wanted posters are printed in English. While it's common in Hollywood movies to have English substitute for a foreign language, movie logic usually dictates that the written word be in the language the characters were really speaking - Spanish, in this case. Oddly enough, the posters are allegedly for the benefit of 18th-century Californian peasants, most of whom would never have learned to read anyway. See more »
This is what I can't help but like about the old high seas adventures and swashbuckling romances of the 1930s and '40s. You know, the ones where you can always hear Alfred Newman's bombastic score. The Mask of Zorro opens with a title card saying, "Madrid - when the Spanish Empire encompassed the globe, and young blades were taught the fine and fashionable art of killing " So what's that, like 18...30? 1840? I guess we'll figure it out. And so we do, of course. But there was an unabashed syrupy-ness about the melodramatic urgency given to these movies.
When Zorro's not prancing around in his little cape eye-mask, he's playing the part of the utterly timid, and more than a touch effeminate, Don Diego Vega. The likelihood that Vega could be the remarkably expert swashbuckler never once dawns on the baddies, largely because Vega is such a stern little prude.
The first big-budget talkie starring the swashbuckling samaritan, Rouben Mamoulian's old-fashioned jaunt was a blockbuster in 1940, and it remains recalled quite warmheartedly by the Silent Generation's moviegoers, and equally the small screen's fascinated beginners among the Baby Boom, as one of the period's very best adventure pictures. One grows accustomed to the movie's qualitative foothold in that time of matinée idols and sword-fighting silver-screen hero worship, and we can concede for that reason. But tolerant filmgoers will stay open for a movie that's considerably chock-a-block with romance, action, duplicity, and courageous bravado, all in an overstated manner that could've only been taken seriously in 1940, and perhaps not one year later.
The nuts and bolts are all here: Don Diego is invited to come home from Madrid to his family in Los Angeles, but upon his reappearance he learns that his father's standing as "alcalde" has been seized by the shameless Don Luis Quintero, a nasty piece of work who's nothing more than a minion to the man enjoying the real supremacy: Captain Esteban Pasquale. As expected, Diego/Zorro means to linger in Los Angeles just long enough to depose the scoundrels, entice a pretty slice of illicit fruit, and bring integrity to his family's native soil. Nothing ground-breaking here, but there's nothing amiss in a straightforward adventure yarn told in the traditional way.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this