Returning to California after some years in Spain, Don Diego de Vega (Tyrone Power) finds that hisfather has been deposed and that the region is ruled by a venal, corrupt governer under the thumbof tyrannical lieutenant Basil Rathbone. Pretending to be a useless fop by day, Diego dons maskand sword by night as Zorro, fighting for the liberation of the poor and the downtrodden. Powerspends surprisingly little time in the Zorro get-up, and the climactic duel comes earlier than …newould expect. A classic duel it is, however, one of the definitive scenes of its kind, and the filmis great fun from start to finish.
The sound comes in both mono and remastered 2.0. For the most part, you’re probably betteroff with the mono. The stereo is afflicted with most of the flaws one encounters with these sortsof mono conversions. The sounds are pumped indiscriminately into all speakers, and all kinds ofdialogue and sound effects are now surround when they have no business being so. There is a fairbit of distortion in both the mono and 2.0 versions as well. Obviously, the film’s 1940 releasedate must be taken into account, though I’ve heard cleaner soundtracks for earlier films.
A decent print, with nice high contrast black-and-white, but still good shadings in between.There is some grain, however, and damage that comes and goes. While there are no splices, thereare vertical lines and other print flaws to deal with. The occasional flicker and slight glare alsomar the picture. The format is the original 1.33:1.
Richard Schickel does the commentary. He’s on his way to becoming the in-house critic forthe Studio Classics. At any rate, though he sometimes lapses into describing the obvious, as if ata loss for anything else to say, he does have plenty of interesting background and analysis toprovide. The A&E Biography episode on Tyrone Power is included here, as are trailers for mostof the other Studio Classics (though not for The Mark of Zorro itself).
In terms of extras and print quality, this isn’t up to the best of the Studio Classics series. As aswashbuckler, however, the movie is one of the best of its kind.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary