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The Mark of Zorro Review

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Around 1820 the son of a California nobleman comes home from Spain to find his native land under a villainous dictatorship. On the one hand he plays the useless fop, while on the other he is the masked avenger Zorro.

★★★★

Made in imitation of The Adventures Of Robin Hood, with Tyrone Power and Linda Darnell stepping into the Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHavilland roles, while Basil Rathbone as the sword-wielding dastard and Eugene Pallette as Friar Tuck transplanted to Old California repeat their stalwart acts. Power is the dashing duellist who poses as a hankie-swishing fop in the Hacienda of Los Angeles, moonlighting in a black mask as a defender of the peons against the tyrannical tax collectors of the corrupt Alcalde. Power cuts a handsome figure and handles dialogue as sharply as his blade, and Rathbone slyly satirises himself as the thoroughly rotten villain. Director Rouben Mamoulian holds back on the action and plays up the costume romance for the first hour, allowing for the snogging collision of the superb profiles of Power and Darnell, but then cuts loose with one of the cinemas best ever-duels as Power and Rathbone match epees.

Spectacular swashbuckling debut.