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  • I haven't seen this TV film for years and would really like to see it again. I think I fell in love with Frank Langella because of it - OK, OK, so I was much younger and more impressionable at the time but, well, he was beguiling. As suggested in one or two other commentaries on this, I felt it was as effective a version, if not even a tad better than the 1940 one - perhaps because of both the eponymous hero's sexual magnetism and the charming, intelligent and spirited Anne Archer's Teresa. From what I remember, the film was to a large extent faithful to Tyrone Power's vehicle, and added a J-ne-sais-quoi to it.

    Dashing as Power undoubtedly was, to my taste Langella's rich chocolatey voice, commanding height and seductive gaze made this viewer long to be the object of his affections. I admit it, I'm shamefacedly still a bit in love with the character!
  • Frank Langela ( most famous for his role of Dracula in the late 70's) faithfully recreates the role made famous by Tyrone Power in the 1940's. Although they were using a cut down version of the script, and a considerably smaller budget, they produced a very good film. The cast was experienced and interpreted the characters quite well. Gilbert Roland having played several Zorro like characters himself, was a good choice as the father. For a low budget remake it is very entertaining. Definitely worth the time to watch. The completest would want to add this to their collection. Those Zorro fans who are not completest, would definitely want to consider this. Just over look the small crowd scenes and small scale sets.

    JPMotis
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Excellent cast delivers a very strong re-make of the Tyrone Power 1940's film about the legendary swashbuckler in Spanish colonial California. All performances are strong, especially Frank Langella, Gilbert Roland and Ricardo Montalban. It is especially nice to hear Hispanic accented English, and correctly pronounced Spanish words and names. This film will definitely entertain fans of the genre, whether familiar with earlier depictions of Zorro or not. The lack of budget and the fact that the film was made for TV are easy to overlook. These aspects of the movie will only bother those who require lots of special effects in order to enjoy a movie. Another commentator observed that the crowds were small. Yes, they are, but so what? That doesn't detract either. Enjoy!

    As a kid, I loved the "Zorro" TV series in the late '50's starring Guy Williams. I have seen the Tyrone Power film a number of times, too. I recommend all of these renditions, as well as "Zorro, the Gay Blade," for a more comedic spin on the legend. It features George Hamilton camping it up a la "Love at First Bite."
  • Don Diego returns from Spain to his family in California to find that his father has been replaced as ruler of the area by the dastardly and cruel Don Luis Quintero. Despite being a bit of a swordsman, Diego downplays his skills in front of the wicked Captain Esteban and shows himself to be a bit of a clown in front of his family. However secretly Diego picks up the sword of justice as Zorro and fights to return justice to the region and his people.

    I taped this film because I honestly expected it to be a silly film at best; at worst I feared it would be an awful mess of a film that would hopefully make me laugh. However I was very pleasantly surprised to find a film that, although a little cheesy and dated, was actually quite good fun to watch in an unassuming way. The film has a sort of cheesy tone to it that reminded me of badly dubbed movies from Europe in the 70's but this was actually much better without taking itself too seriously.

    The story is pretty faithful to the original films and it has recognisable parts in spades. While it is never funny it does manage to be enjoyable in the way it is playful as well as having a bit of swash and buckle about it. While the majority of it only hints at action, the final swordfight between Zorro and Esteban is more fun than I expect it to be (as one who has grown accustom to CGI and so on).

    The cast really helps the whole thing to be as much fun as it is. Langella has a habit of being a bit too heavy and serious but here he gets everything just right. His Diego is a comic fop while his Zorro is suitably heroic and upright without being dry or dull. Middleton is reasonable enough but it is the wonderful Montalban who enjoys the best villain role. He doesn't have that much to do at times but he has a good presence about him and has real charisma. It was a surprise to find Anne Archer in the support cast but she is good as well.

    Overall this film quite took me by surprise because I enjoyed it. Of course it's not perfect and of course it's all a bit cheesy and silly at times but it enjoys itself and has a real sense of fun about it. The short running time plays to it's quick pace and to it's benefit as I think much longer and the faults would have begun to impose themselves, however as it is it is short, punchy and a lot more fun than I expected it to be!
  • Frank Langella makes you forget both Tyrone & Fairbanks - his Zorro is quieter, more serious, more sensual, whereas the other two played the role for laughs at times. And Langella's take on Don Diego the fop is not as effeminate or funny, more like lazy and yawning. And his eyes are very expressive and always moving.

    Ricardo Montalban does pretty well as the villain, but can't compete against Basil Rathbone (1940). But the winsome, young Anne Archer is a big improvement over stiff Linda Darnell. Nice to see the still-fit, silent star Gilbert Roland as Zorro's dad.

    The dialogue and script of this is very similar to the 1940 version, and it uses the same stirring theme and soundtrack composed by Alfred Newman.

    You can catch this version on TV sometimes -- it's worth videotaping.
  • Much as I hate to sound sacrilegious about the 1940s version, I have to honestly say Langella surpassed Tyrone Power. How Langella did it is with his voice. As another previous poster described it, Langella with that chocolatey voice. In the same way we gents enjoy Peggy Lee's sultry voice on her song, "Fever," so does Langella's voice project the perfect air of foppishness. Note Langella's use of the aristocratic handheld monocle that he uses when he gazes at Captain Esteban. In the hands of another actor it would look artificial. But combined with Langella's lazy-eyed look, it looks so natural.
  • I saw this movie on a Christmas special, as a kid I loved it, now as an adult I have to admit that it's weaker then I remembered but still enjoyable.

    Don Diego return to California from Spain only to find out his father is no longer the acalde of his pueblo, and the new acalde is cruel to his people and his commander Esteban is a ruthless fencing master. Don Diego has no choice but to pretend he is a spineless buffoon but when he put in his mask and sword he becomes the friend of the people and hero Zorro.

    It is the same story as the 1940s Zorro movie, but made for TV. Frank langella do a great job as the hero of this movie, and with the music score from the original 1940 the movie is faithful to ththe story.
  • I saw this film on TV recently. The Daily Mail had listed it as one to miss, but I'm glad I taped it. I had previously seen the new version with Anthony Hopkins, and this one compares quite favourably with it. Gilbert Roland is fantastic playing both the role of Don Diego, where he puts on an air of bored arrogance. This contrasts brilliantly with his role of Zorro when he dresses up with the mask. The action is more than first rate: it is sublime. It doesn't rely on special effects, but on acting and style. Probably the best TV movie I have ever seen...
  • naptsp22 October 2018
    I saw this movie on TV for the first time when I was 12 and it holds a special place in my heart. It was my first exposure to Zorro and I was fascinated. Frank Langella was captivating as the hero and Ricardo Montalban was wonderfully evil as the villain. Since then I think I have seen every other version ever made. (I played hooky from work to see the Antonio Banderas version when it came out.)

    I haven't seen this old TV version for many years, but I saw the Tyrone Power version recently and was reminded of this one since the dialog is essentially identical (and charming.) What lovely memories. It may not be the most lavish version but the terrific acting and fabulous script make it well worth a look. I hope I get a chance to see it again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Enjoyed Ricardo Montalban's Captain Montenegro but the real hero was use of the original soundtrack.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I've seen various Zorros and can never remember which is which; I vaguely remembered this as one of the good ones (which is not what you would expect from a 1970s TV movie) and tuned in to see when it was broadcast again on television this afternoon. To my surprise and pleasure, I still thought it was pretty good.

    I can't at this lapse of time remember how much the script takes from the famous 1940s version, but it's not only competent but admirable; I'd infinitely watch a low-budget film with a polished script than a big-budget blockbuster where all the cash has gone on special effects, and this undoubtedly falls into the first category! Don Diego, of course, gets all the quips, but Frank Langella does them ample justice, and is impressive in his dual role, especially in the two episodes at the beginning when you can see his intelligent Diego assessing the situation and coming up with his 'spineless fop' act more or less off the cuff, mid-scene. Ricardo Montalban wins the personality contest by a whisker -- although a really good villain always has an unfair advantage over the hero of the piece. Gilbert Roland doesn't get much to do; I was looking forward to seeing him in this, but had to look up the cast afterwards in order even to be certain which character he'd been playing...

    Anne Archer as the heroine was the only real disappointment, although the rather abridged plot here doesn't offer much scope for her to duel wits with her lover. Her performance seemed uninspiring, especially compared to Louise Sorel in the part of her vain, self-serving aunt.

    The main faults I'd find with this version are twofold; first of all, it seems to get more and more compressed as it races towards the end. The opening scenes are expansively paced, but once the Zorro identity has been established, the masked avenger hardly has time to do anything before it's time for the finale! He tears down one notice, pays a nocturnal visit to frighten the Alcade, meets Esteban in his father's house... and then an aristocratic revolt breaks out, and the final duel is due. Not much of a heroic career, really, and I assume this is the result of a TV time-slot and budget.

    The second problem, possibly related, is that the actual swashbuckling action -- with the exception of said final duel -- doesn't impress very much. We get one of the parody-prone sequences where the villain's henchmen unintelligently attack the hero in ones and twos and are duly dispatched, and a similar old chestnut of a horse chase, where the hero hides behind some bushes and watches the pursuit thunder obliviously past, and that's about it. There's nothing wrong with sticking to the good old conventions, but this isn't the most inspiring rendition of either trope. The duel, however, *is* well done... even if I can't help feeling that killing your enemy by revealing your true identity and then attacking while he is still off his guard with astonishment isn't quite cricket, Diego old chap! Very practical tactics, though.

    Anyway, on the whole I liked it a good deal. At the beginning of the film I'd probably have considered awarding it an 8, but sadly Anne Archer's 1970s starlet performance and the rather rushed timing later on reduce it from that level. Watch for the Ricardo Montalban/Frank Langella/Louise Sorel triangle, if nothing else; Inez is a wonderfully self-centred character, and the two men play well off each other.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie was my introduction to Zorro; and, for the time, it was a fine introduction. I loved this film when it first aired (I was 7) and I spent weeks afterward slashing at everything with a stick. The film is still rollicking adventure, even if it doesn't hold a candle to the 1940 version.

    Frank Langella made a decent Zorro, although he was a little too serious for a swashbuckler. Still, he handled the dual role well and looked the part. Ricardo Montalban, on the other hand, was perfect as the villain. He relished the role and had the right amount of menace, with a twinkle in the eye. He was meant for a role like this.

    The rest of the cast are fine, with varying degrees of ability. The story moves well and the duels are exciting. The TV budget hampers the spectacle, but not too badly.

    After viewing it once, I was able to see the film again, nearly 25 years later. By that point, I had seen the Disney Zorro, the 1940 version, the silent version, the Alain Delon version, Zorro the Gay Blade, and a couple of others. The 1940 version is still superior (in my book) but this was still entertaining. The acting was worse than I remembered, but the action was still exciting and Ricardo Montalban was still wonderful. I'd put this ahead of Disney and George Hamilton, but on equal footing with Delon. Tyrone Power is still the king, although Anonio Banderas was great the first time out. This is a worthy entry in the series, even with its faults.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What's the point? Why do they do it? The original "The Mark of Zorro" was not exactly a cinematic classic but it was rousing fun with everyone hamming it up.

    Well, this is not a shot-for-shot remake, but it uses the same score and lifts some of the dialog from the original. Why? I guess another nickel might be squeezed out of the adventure tale. I can't think of any other reason to remake a film that was about as good as it could be expected to be.

    Nothing quite measures up to the original. Nothing wrong with Frank Langella as Zorro. He's convincing enough in his prissy disguise. Further, I admire Langella as a man and as an actor. His craft was important enough for him to write a piece for the New York Times, when, in Italian-American households, according to Gay Talese, being "literary" is a bit of a stigma. If you write a novel like, say, "The Blackboard Jungle," you change your name.

    Beyond that consideration (whatever that consideration was -- I've already forgotten), the acting is simply not up to snuff. Frank Langella, okay. Maybe. Although he's given a fashionable 1974 hair style in contrast to Tyrone Power's curly Spanish locks. And Gilbert Roland brings so much history to his role that it's hard to criticize him. The rest of the performances are no better than TV standards. Anne Archer is a beautiful woman, but she is not a virginal teenage Lolita. Makeup has been unkind to her. Ray Middleton as the alcalde lazes his way through the part as if on opiates. Ricardo Montalban is actually pretty good, but not up to the required standards of evil established by Basil Rathbone in the original.

    In short, well, watch the original if only for one reason. It's better.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    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.
  • Are you kidding me? They could not even try for an authentic accent. Poor direction, poor choreography of fight scenes, poor acting. If you want to laugh at the campiness of this version, go for it like you're watching a beauty pageant and commenting on the talent portion. Richardo Montalbaum is authentic, right down to the tight pants (you may want to shield young viewers). Anne Archer seems just to desperate in each scene. If you would like a true authentic Zorro film to watch, catch Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Bandares in the first Zorro they did together. (The sequel doesn't contain enough "Z"'s for a Zorro fan.)
  • Ricardo Montalbon does a fair job, but the rest of the acting is atrocious. The Tyrone Power Jr. version was one of the hallmarks of filmdom, and one of my all time favorite movies. I had never seen this movie till today, and couldn't stand more than 20 minutes of it.