The Mark of Zorro starts in Madrid in Spain as expert swordsman & dueling champion Don Diego (Frank Langella) announces his return home to California, upon arrival back home in California he finds things are not well. The locals that his father once served are now in a state of fear & hate as the new Governor Don Luis Quintero (Robert Middleton) kills, beats, tortures & taxes them making their lives a misery. Don Diego is shocked at what he sees & speaks with his father Don Aleandro Vega (Gilbert Roland) who is powerless to stop Quintero & his bloodthirsty soldiers lead by Captain Esteban (Ricardo Montalban), Diego acts like a clueless buffoon but things are not always what they seem as Diego decides to don the black mask & hat of the legendary outlaw Zorro to right the wrongs around him & put an end to Quintero's tyranny...
Directed by Don McDougall this made for telly adventure film was a remake of the classic The Mark of Zorro (1940), I have never seen the 1940 version but apparently the two are virtually identical & while this isn't the type of film I usually watch I thought I would give it a go since it was showing on telly over here. To be fair I didn't think that much of this at all, it's fairly colourful & lasts for less than 80 minutes but there's not much here to get excited about unless your a die-hard Zorro fan. The script moves along at a decent pace but there's little build-up to anything & it tries to juggle some adventure, some romance & sword fighting action without much success. The mark of Zorro just feels so pedestrian & like the afternoon telly film that it is, sure it's watchable if your bored but it never excited me or particularly interested me. It's all rather predictable, from handsome heroes who save the day to family feuds that are resolved to the villains getting their comeuppance. The character's are all broad clichés & I doubt people acted like this back then, a pretty simplistic story that the script doesn't really flesh out to any great effect. I don't know, it's not the type of film that I usually watch so I will go easy on it & it's middling entertainment I suppose so while I can't say I liked it I won't say I hated it, at least I watched it all without getting too bored along the way.
Another big problem with this version of The mark of Zorro is the lack of action & when the action occurs it's pretty forgettable stuff with some wimpy sword fights & not much else. This 70's Zorro is certainly a colourful production with vibrant costumes & locations, in fact it looks a little too colourful at times & maybe both the tone & look of the film should have been a bit darker on occasion. Just to emphasise the similarities between this & the 1940 Zorro film this actually reuses the original musical score from the 1940 version by Alfred Newman.
Filmed in Tuscon in Arizona this is quite well made on what must have been a tight budget. The acting is alright, Langella is OK but it's difficult to believe no-one recognises Diego & Zorro as the same person, telly regulars Ricardo Montalban & Yvonne DeCarlo provide decent support.
The Mark of Zorro is a fairly mundane action adventure that feels like Robin Hood set in the Californian desert as Zorro robs the rich & evil to give back to the poor, it will pass 80 odd minutes but that's about the best thing I can say about it.
1 out of 3 found this helpful