The Mark of Zorro (1920)
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as Don Diego/Zorro
as Don Carlos
as Doña Catalina
as Sgt. Gonzalez
as Don Alejandro
as Capt. Juan Ramon
as Gov. Alvarado
as Fray Felipe
as Don Alejandro
Critic Reviews for The Mark of Zorro
Douglas Fairbanks's first great acrobatic epic, from 1920, set the standard for zesty swashbucklers.
It's exciting, thrilling, romantic, and thoroughly entertaining.. And it's all anchored by a rousing performance from Douglas Fairbanks. This is what going to the movies should be about: Pure escapism!
You haven’t seen Zorro until you’ve seen Douglas Fairbanks Sr. as Zorro in the 1920 silent swashbuckling classic The Mark of Zorro It’s amazing how far we haven’t come.
Audience Reviews for The Mark of Zorro
Apparently the plot device of having the lead act like a woman so that all can be surprised when we discover that he's the gallant hero as well is one hell of a lot older than I'd imagined (did Joe Campbell write about this trope?). Perhaps the best Zorro is just that for the acrobatics of its lead, the dashing Doug Fairbanks, who never saw a table he couldn't leap over/onto/or under. Its a silent film, yes, but the sheer dynamism of the man cannot be restrained by even the age of the film. The rest of the cast is serviceable, with De La Motte playing the love interest with equal parts demureness and spicy vixen-ity (?!). Its a fun film if unbelievable (as when he holds 20+ guys at bay with a single shot revolver!). Let yourself go.
1920's "The Mark of Zorro" may not have invented the superhero, but Douglas Fairbanks' performance in this role must've surely provided the inspiration for many of the costumed heroes to come in the following decades (I'm looking at you, Batman). Fairbanks not only handles the swash-buckling (that's a given), he hits just the right note with his secret identity, the effete Don Diego, son of a caballero and lover of all things gentle and safe. Don Diego saw that there was injustice towards the California natives by the tyrannical governor and watched while his fellow caballeros stood by and let it happen. To fight evil he becomes the masked avenger, Zorro. Meanwhile, his father wants him to court the lovely Lolita Pulido (Marquerite De La Motte) of the Pulido family, who have fallen on hard times. Don Diego courts her as both himself and as Zorro, to see which one she prefers, and if all she's interested in is his money. Zorro also has a secret lair with false panel intrances, and a mute indian servant who knows his secret identity (as I've said, he's the superhero archetype in many ways). The Mark of Zorro is quite action-packed in it's 105 minutes. Douglas Fairbanks is electrifying, as usual. He's not necessarily a terribly handsome man, but he's loaded with so much charisma he demands your attention. It's a great performance in a great action film from the silent era.
This movie starts out kind of slow, but it gets better as it goes on. Fairbanks is good as Zorro, and does all his great stunts. I enjoyed this movie, it even has a bit of comedy here and there, a fun movie.
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