June 10, 2011
Starring Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Basil Rathbone, Gale Sondergaard, Eugene Pallette
Directed by Rouben Mamoulian
Plot: “A young aristocrat must masquerade as a fop in order to maintain his secret identity of Zorro as he restores justice to early California.” (from IMDb)
I feel like I need to watch this again because I was kind of distracted/doing other things when it was on. Plus, sometimes I space out a little in the duels and such. But what I did see, I thought was awesome.
Not a big fan of the mustache on Tyrone… (he looks so much better without it)
I love the story of Zorro and the setting of the film, and I thought the two leads--Linda Darnell and Tyrone Power--had terrific chemistry. I especially think Darnell is very underrated (granted, this isn’t her showiest role, but it’s still hard for me to believe that she only 17 when this was released…and probably younger when it was filmed).
Though this is sort of a Spanish-American twist on Robin Hood, it's almost more fun because no one knows who this elusive Zorro is. The secret of his identity adds some delightful suspense, and there is also some humor in what a milquetoast he pretends to be when not in disguise (it's kind of the Clark Kent/Superman thing). Because of the fun of this plot element, I was kind of sad when he his identity was unveiled. It was sort of a let-down.
There are some great supporting players here, too—the always reliably chilly Gale Sondergaard, husky-voiced Eugene Pallette, and devious Basil Rathbone (the fencing between him and Power is fun to see).
Two experts (I’ve heard…I don’t know anything about fencing!) showing how it’s done.
This movie is classic, and it's also just great fun. I do wonder why they didn't film this one in Technicolor, though. Don't get me wrong, I love black and white movies and rarely do I wish they were in color, but I just thought the nature of this film would benefit from some beautiful '40s Technicolor cinematography. What do you think? Would it be better in color or not? I guess the contrast of light and shadow/darkness,etc. does benefit the story some. Maybe I'll have to watch it again and reassess...