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The Mark of Zorro is a 1974 American made-for-television action adventure film which starred Frank Langella alongside Gilbert Roland, Yvonne De Carlo, Anne Archer, Ricardo Montalban and Robert Middleton.[1]

The Mark of Zorro
The Mark of Zorro (1974 film).jpg
GenreWestern
Action
Adventure
Written byJohn Taintor Foote (screenplay)
Brian Taggart (teleplay)
Based on the story The Curse of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley
Directed byDon McDougall
StarringFrank Langella
Ricardo Montalban
Theme music composerDominic Frontiere
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production
Producer(s)Rodrick Paul
Robert C. Thompson
Production location(s)Old Tucson - 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona
San Xavier del Bac Mission - 1950 W. San Xavier Rd, Tucson, Arizona
CinematographyJack Woolf
Editor(s)William Martin
Running time78 minutes
Production company(s)20th Century Fox Television
Thompson-Paul Productions
ABC
DistributorABC
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseOctober 29, 1974 (1974-10-29)

It was also a backdoor pilot for a television series on which ABC-TV declined to pick up the option. The film used Alfred Newman's musical score for the 1940 film version along with new incidental music composed by Dominic Frontiere.

PlotEdit

After receiving a letter from his father (Roland) in California requesting his immediate return home, Diego de la Vega (Langella) resigns his commission as a cadet and sails from Spain to California.

Arriving in the pueblo of Los Angeles, he learns that his father has been replaced as Alcalde by Don Luis Quintero (Middleton), who is backed by the witty and urbane swordsman Captain Esteben (Montalban), and that conditions in Los Angeles have worsened due to the Alcalde's and Captain's corruption.

Diego immediately takes on the persona of a fop to avoid seeming dangerous, fooling the Alcalde and Capitan and, unfortunately, his own father, who perceives him as weak and useless. Determined to restore freedom, Diego secretly takes one of a pair of ancestral de la Vega swords and adopts the disguise of the legendary masked hero El Zorro. His campaign against the Alcalde and the Captain begins to rouse the people against them, while at the same time he meets romances the Alcalde's beautiful niece Teresa (Archer), whom he grows to love and eventually reveals his secret identity, and simultaneously flirts with the Alcalde's wife Inez (Sorel) to gain information (and also make Captain Esteban, who has also been romancing her behind her husband's back, jealous).

When Zorro's old teacher Frey Felipe is arrested by the Captain and whipped, Diego, warned by Teresa, steps up his campaign, while at the same time his father, wielding the remaining ancestral sword, rouses both the peons and caballeros into rebellion and marches on the Alcalde's palace. Before Zorro can force the Alcalde to sign his resignation, he is surprised by the Captain. While Don Alejandro and the people overcome the soldiers, Zorro and the Captain duel, resulting in the Captain's death. Don Luis and his wife will return to Spain in dishonor while the de la Vega father and son raise their ancestral swords in victory.

Main castEdit

Actor Role
Frank Langella Don Diego de la Vega / Zorro
Ricardo Montalbán Captain Esteban Montenegro
Gilbert Roland Don Alejandro de la Vega
Yvonne De Carlo Isabella Vega
Louise Sorel Inez Quintero
Robert Middleton Don Luis Quintero
Anne Archer Teresa
Jay Hammer Antonio

ProductionEdit

Langella said, "I think Bryan Taggart's script... is marvellous. We have a great cast... A good director... I loved doing it. Here was a chance to play on three levels: the young cadet in Spain, the fop Don Diego - and, in his mask, Zorro. I was really playing out my fantasies. I was reliving myself as a small boy sitting in the dark theatre thrilling to Tyrone Power riding through the night as Zorro."[2]

ReceptionEdit

The Chicago Tribune called it "truly terrific trash you can sink your teeth into".[3] The Los Angeles Times said it was done' in the spirit of good, though occasionally uneasy fun."[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Lee Marvins: Happy rancheros Chicago Tribune 3 Sep 1974: b12.
  2. ^ The Mark of the Masked Lizard Los Angeles Times 28 Oct 1974: e13.
  3. ^ 'zorro 'makes its mark as trash of the highest order Chicago Tribune 29 Oct 1974: b11.
  4. ^ 'The Mark of Zorro' Plays It Straight Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 29 Oct 1974: e16.

External linksEdit