Douglas Fairbanks, the most famous of the Zorros, made this mix of comedy and derring-do reluctantly, as a change-of-pace from his modern-dress playboy roles. The Old California adventure fared so well at the box office i... more »t caused the athletic superstar to rethink his image and don period finery for his best later vehicles, including The Thief of Baghdad. Here, Doug has a ball playing dual roles, as hopeless fop Don Diego and as masked caballero Zorro, sworn enemy of all oppressors. When he isn't dueling with the evil Capt. Ramon (Robert McKim) or rescuing peasants, Don Diego/Zorro courts the lovely Lolita (Marguerite de la Motte) with bad magic tricks and worse manners. In the end, when Lolita's family is jailed, our hero throws off his masquerade, whips out his rapier, and wins the leading lady's hand. Full of fun plot twists, secret passageways, and Fairbanks's signature arms-akimbo bravado, this silent classic (with restored sepia interiors) became the model for all the Errol Flynn-Tyrone Power swashbucklers to come. --Glenn Lovell« less
Michael L. Hiller | North Hollywood, CA USA | 03/09/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Don't get me wrong, "The Mark of Zorro" is a classic of the silent era. My rating is for this particular video version which I got when I thought I was ordering a restored version of same. Despite the skillful design of package, the video it contains is a different story. First off THERE IS NO MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT...This is a truly silent film, so unless you would like to experiment with adding your own soundtrack I'd pass. But even if you chose that option, it brings us to the other big problem which is the horrble quality of the video transfer.It looks as though it were video camera filming a projection. This is NOT the tape with the restored tints, and the print is inferior at best. Still, the box IS nice..."
Silent movie viewer's guide
Gwen Kramer | Sunny and not-so-sunny California | 05/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am afraid that silent movies are not for every taste. But complaining about a silent movie being bad because it is, well, silent is like complaining that a talking movie is bad because it, well, talks.As with any entertainment from a different era, silent films require patience and an open mind to get the proper feel of. Some people can do this, some people can't, that does not make either side an inferior species.After having just rewatched this film, I must say that I still find it quite enjoyable. (I have seen every readily available version of Zorro) This is still the best of the lot in my opinion for several reasons. First, no pretentions. Second, very good action. Third, wildly imaginative stunts for the time.I do hope you will give this movie a fair chance, silent films are a fascinating intellectual challenge to a modern filmgoer and will widen your film appreciation. Set your mind back to 1920 and savour the taste of the era."
The Greatest Zorro of them all
Gwen Kramer | Sunny and not-so-sunny California | 11/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the definitive Fairbanks vehicle and quite possibly the finest silent action movie ever made. Of course, Fairbanks is known for his imaginative stunts but the duels and chases in this movie are incredible even by Fairbanks standards.The plot is a familiar one, Don Diego is a seemingly foppish landowner who dons a black mask and fights evil as Zorro. Fairbanks's talent for comedy is well exploited here. His juevenile antics as Don Diego drive everyone, including his leading lady, nuts. (A running gag is for Don Diego to take out a hanky, ask his audience if they have seen this one, and will proceed to do a very silly trick with it.)Of course, once he's Zorro the fighting is furious. The duels easily rival the action sequences of modern movies. And the grand finale, a chase across the rooftops, in and out of windows, up walls, over fences, etc. etc. was so amazing that I had to see it again to believe it.Just one last note, if you have never seen a silent movie before keep in mind that the acting style is totally different from talkies. Movements are exagerated for affect. The soundtrack can be overwhelming at first. But once you get used to them, they are a very refreshing breather from modern movies. Let this movie be your introduction to the unrivalled swashbuckler, Douglas Fairbanks sr."
Douglas Fairbanks decides to try swashbuckling in a film
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 12/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before the 1920 silent classic "The Mark of Zorro," Douglas Fairbanks had made a series of comedy-dramas like "Flirting With Fate" and "A Modern Musketeer" where he could show off his athletic abilities as a cheerful All-American hero. But in "The Mark of Zorro" he tried his hand at swashbuckling for the first time and quickly became the premier action hero of his day in films such as "The Three Musketeers," "Robin Hood" and "The Thief of Bagdad." The character of Zorro had only appeared the year before in "All-Story Weekly" with Johnston McCulley's five-part serial "The Curse of Capistrano." Fairbanks adapted the story himself for the screen (under the name Elton Thomas), telling the story of the foppish Don Diego Vega and his dashing masked alter-ego, Senor Zorro. The story is set in the California of the 1820's, where Don Diego has no success in courting the beautiful Lolita (Marguerite de la Motte), who only has eyes for that vigorous Zorro fellow. When Lolita and her family are imprisoned by the corrupt Governor Alvarado (George Periolat) and his evil henchman, Captain Ramon (Robert McKim), Zorro rallies the caballeros to join him in saving the day, the girl and the rest of California in the bargain. This is one of the finest adventure films of the silent era, with plenty of "swording" for those of us who like such things. Zorro owes something to the Scarlet Pimpernel in creating the superhero stereotype of the ineffectual secret identity who turns into a crusader for justice such as Clark Kent/Superman, Bruce Wayne/Batman, Peter Parker/Spider-Man, etc. If you are a fan of either the silent era or swashbuckling, then sooner or later you have to ride the path of justice with Fairbank's Zorro."
The first, and in many ways finest, of the Zorro series.
Lawrance M. Bernabo | 07/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Douglas Fairbanks brings a verve and joy to this movie. He does many if not all his own stunts and makes the dashing swashbuckler a believable guy. I have always enjoyed this rendition, and as the years go by the actors playing Zorro only got worse. Although Ty Power and Guy Williams did well, the rest don't come close. You see what a good silent film actor can do with body language and facial expressons."