January 6th, 2012: The Mark of Zorro (1920)


What It’s About:   You know the plot by now: in Old California, a tyrannical governor (George Periolat) is opposed by a single masked man who calls himself Zorro (the fox).  Zorro is really Don Diego Vega (Douglas Fairbanks), a landowner who sides with the people rather than the caballeros.

Why Watch it Today?:   Fred Niblo, one of the major silent film directors, responsible for the original Ben Hur as well as today’s film, was born today in 1874The Mark of Zorro is an excellent and highly influential swashbuckler, with Douglas Fairbanks’s (who also executive produced) trademark stunts, although it has a larger emphasis on comedy than one might expect from a Zorro film that doesn’t star George Hamilton.

Where to Get It:  Rent it at Netflix or watch it at the Internet Archive or at YouTube

A short clip:

Other Choices: Today is also Three Kings Day.  Last year we recommended John Ford’s 3 Godfathers.

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3 comments on “January 6th, 2012: The Mark of Zorro (1920)

  1. theelderj says:

    Haven’t seen this one…but I was raised on the black-and-white series that aired on the Disney channel in the ’80s. Always was partial to the chubby spanish soldier…

    • professormortis says:

      Oh, I grew up on that. Absolutely loved it, to the point that the song is now stuck in my head. If memory serves he was a pretty dashing Zorro.

      I think my earliest encounters with the character, though, were from a very early 1980s cartoon show (1981, maybe?) that didn’t last very long and Zorro, the Gay Blade, which is more fun that it has any right to be. If you want to see a decent Zorro spoof, you could do way worse.

      I’ve also watched the late 1980s/early 1990s Family Channel incarnation, the first Hopkins/Banderas film, which I recall enjoying quite a bit, and this. There really are an enormous number of adaptations I’ve yet to see, and some of them are considered among the best.

      • sakara says:

        the LOST IN SPACE actor, guy williams, who was the tv Zorro, wound up living the last years of his life in south america—-cause that old show was still a hit there, many years later!

        Alain Delon even played Zorro. I bought a good copy of that movie, maybe on the same disc with two other movies, at biglots for maybe three dollars; I didn’t keep it. The movie only played nyc during its origonal usa release?

        Walmart, when they were selling lots of dollar dvds, had Fairbanks’ MAN IN THE IRON MASK, with narration by Fairbanks jr.

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