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The Mark of the Renegade (1951)

Set in 19th century California Marcos Zappa goes undercover as a pirate to expose the crooked Don Pedro Garcia.


Hugo Fregonese


Johnston McCulley (based on novel "Mark of Zorro"), Robert Hardy Andrews (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ricardo Montalban ... Marcos Zappa
Cyd Charisse ... Manuella de Vasquez
J. Carrol Naish ... Luis
Gilbert Roland ... Don Pedro Garcia
Andrea King ... Anita Gonzales
George Tobias ... Captain Bardoso
Antonio Moreno ... Jose De Vasquez
Georgia Backus ... Duenna Concepcion
Robert Warwick ... Colonel Vega
Armando Silvestre ... Miguel De Gandara
Bridget Carr ... Rosa
Alberto Morin ... Captain Cervera
Renzo Cesana Renzo Cesana ... Father Juan
Robert Cornthwaite ... Innkeeper
Edward C. Rios Edward C. Rios ... Paco


In 1825 Marcos Zappa is blackmailed by Don Pedro Garcia, whose ambition is to be emperor of California. Garcia schemes to have Marcos seduce and marry Manuella, the daughter of his rival, Jose De Marquez. Manuella, who is already engaged to be married to Miguel De Gandara, is attracted to Marcos but not sure if she should trust him. Written by dinamts

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure ... rules the outlaw coast of Old California.


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Release Date:

15 February 1952 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Don Renegade See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ricardo Montalban first appears in this movie bare-chested. For those who came in late, he has two more bare-chested scenes to follow. See more »


Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

THE MARK OF THE RENEGADE (Hugo Fregonese, 1951) ***
5 May 2011 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This proved to be another film I was only vaguely familiar with that, however, resulted in a solid adventure effort: it is a mix of Western and Zorro-like swashbuckler (based, in fact, on a novel by the man who invented that popular avenging figure i.e. Johnston McCulley!) – though the hero's features are only partially hidden here and they are so in order to conceal the branding of the letter 'r' for 'renegade' on his forehead!

The film is immeasurably aided by a splendid gallery of actors: Ricardo Montalban (showing off his virility by frequently baring his chest and, early on, eating perhaps the longest meal this side of Asterix!), Cyd Charisse (the star teaming thus necessitating a gratuitous but vigorous flamenco number!), J. Carroll Naish (playing an ambiguous part), Gilbert Roland (the dashing villain), Andrea King (from THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS {1946}, also with Naish), George Tobias (cast against type as a scowling buccaneer) and Antonio Moreno (as Charisse's eminent father).

The plot deals with Montalban being blackmailed by Roland (who knows of his facial scar) to win the heroine's hand in marriage from her betrothed ostensibly because he bears Moreno a grudge, but really in order to facilitate his own ascension to power (since he fully intends to expose the protagonist soon after and thus implicating Moreno in a scandal)! The narrative is quite complex, with Naish (by turns brutish and helpful towards Montalban and sometimes downright comical), King (Roland's girl but nevertheless jealous of the hero's attentions for Charisse!) and Tobias (who plagues the star, his old nemesis, intermittently throughout and, especially, when the latter comes into money, wants a piece of the action too!) also figuring heavily. Typically, Roland shrouds his true nature behind a veneer of respectability – his cover eventually blown off by a meek priest during the highly satisfying climax, which also comes with a revelation as to Montalban's (redemptive) role in all of this!

The film offers color, action and romance in spades throughout its briskly-paced 77 minutes but, unfortunately, the viewing was hampered by the battered state the print was in and the muffled quality of the soundtrack…so much so that I had to rewatch the ending (despite the late hour in which I screened this) in order to get all the twists offered the denouement! For the record, I had already admired Hugo Fregonese's work on BLOWING WILD (1953) and THE RAID (1954) and, after yet another satisfactory viewing of his, I am looking forward to sampling the other 8 movies currently lying in my unwatched pile!

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