In old Spanish California, the oppressive colonial government is opposed by Zorro, masked champion of the people, who appears out of nowhere with flashing sword and an athletic sense of humor, scarring the faces of evil doers with his Mark. Meanwhile, beautiful Lolita is courted by villainous Captain Ramon, rich but effete Don Diego... and dashing Zorro, who is never seen at the same time as Don Diego. As Zorro continues to evade pursuit, Ramon puts the damsel in distress...
Running Time: 90 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR
Starring in The Mask of Zorro was a historical move for Douglas Fairbanks.This, his first swashbuckling adventure comedy, was a landmark success, prompting Fairbanks to spend the rest of his acting career making films in the same spirit. He was a hit with audiences of the day and is still remembered for his dashing, athletic screen heroes.
He was the precursor to Buster Keaton, in a way. (In fact, Keaton's first feature was a remake of a Fairbanks movie.) The purpose of Keaton's athleticism is comedy. The purpose of Fairbanks' is adventure and excitement...with some humor thrown in. Jackie Chanowes much to both.
In The Mark of Zorro, Fairbanks plays Don Diego Vega, alias the masked bandit Zorro, on a mission to free the poor from the shackles of oppression and win the heart of the one he loves. Fairbanks' nimble antics in the action scenes add zest and humorto the now-familiar formula.
If you've seen the other incarnations of Zorro before seeing this black-and-white silent version, you may think this one is going to be boring. Wrong! Because it is silent, the visuals kept me captivated;much more seems to be conveyed through gestures and body language than in a film in which the characters speak. The accompanying organ music is masterfully matched to the action (when someone slams a hand down on to a table, there is an appropriate "thump" in the music.) Best of all, though, is watching the legendary Douglas Fairbanks in some of his trademark athletic leaps, which appear effortless. I have to say that this is one of the very best versions of Zorro. Al Ann, Alquqerque, NM
The amazingly athletic Douglas Fairbanks was the first man to play Zorro on the silver screen in this legitimate silent-era masterpiece. Fairbanks does his best to win the girl (Marguerite De La Motte) and keep the people of California safe from evil military officials Noah Beery and Robert McKim. Eventually Fairbanks learns that the only way he can stop the evil tyranny is to rally the rich landowners to join him and take back the land that is rightfully theirs. The exciting chase sequence near the film's finale is still a sight to behold over 80 years later as Fairbanks does death-defying stunts to elude the bad guys. Followed by a slightly better remake in 1940 and several other versions in more modern years. For some reason Zorro films just work so well on the silver screen. 4.5 out of 5 stars. imdb.com
CAST & CREW:
Charles Hill Mailes
Marquerite De La Motte
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