Zorro - The Legend Through The Years

   The Mark of Zorro - 1940

Tyrone Power is Zorro and Don Diego Vega Tyrone Power
Zorro and Don Diego Vega
Linda Darnell
Lolita Quintero
Linda Darnell is Lolita Quintero
Basil Rathbone is Captain Esteban Pasquale Basil Rathbone
Captain Esteban Pasquale
Gale Sondergaard
Inez Quintero
Gale Sondergaard is Inez Quintero
Eugene Pallette is Fray Felipe Eugene Pallette
Fray Felipe
J. Edward Bromberg
Don Luis Quintero
J. Edward Bromberg is Don Luis Quintero
Montagu Love is Don Alejandro Vega Montagu Love
Don Alejandro Vega
Janet Beecher
Senora de la Vega
Janet Beecher is Senora de la Vega
Theme Music
While based on Johnston McCulley's original idea, the storyline is very different from the original story.  For the first time, the viewer gets to see the events leading up to when Diego becomes Zorro.
The movie opens in Madrid, where Diego is attending the university.
Madrid - when the Spanish Explorers encompassed the globe, and young blades were taught the fine and fashionable art of killing.
The students practice fencing in Madrid.
Diego prepares to tell his friends that he is returning to California.

Diego tells his friends about the boring life in California.

The first few scenes show that Don Diego is an excellent rider, better than the other students, and that everyone in Madrid wants to cross swords with him, due to his fine fencing skills.  Diego receives notice from the commandant that he is wanted back in Los Angeles by his father.  Reluctantly, Diego informs his friends of his impending departure, predicting a boring life with little to occupy his time.

"To California, where a man can only marry, raise fat children, and watch his vineyards grow."
Upon his arrival in California, Diego discovers very quickly that something is wrong when he hears horrible things about the alcalde, whom he believes is still his father.  He is puzzled by everyone's reaction of fear when he tells them that his father is the alcalde.  Diego begins to understand when he arrives at the hacienda and discovers that the alcalde is now Luis Quintero instead of his father.  Diego begins to instictively act effeminate, gesturing with his handkerchief.

When Diego arrives at his father's hacienda, he learns that his father was forced out of office and that the caballeros want to revolt, but his father does not wish to follow in the lawless footsteps of Quintero.  Diego performs a slight of hand trick and mentions how he will miss being in Madrid.  Don Diego's mannerisms become more effeminate than in the previous scene.  Don Alejandro is clearly angered by his son's behavior.

Don Diego meets Don Esteban.

Don Diego performs a slight of hand trick for his father and guests.

Zorro tears down the tax notice.

Zorro robs Luis Quintero.

Zorro pretends to be a monk.

Shortly, Zorro makes his first appearance as he gallops through the pueblo, tears down a tax notice, and puts a new message in its place.
Special notice

To all men in the district of Los Angeles be it known that Luis Quintero is a thief and an enemy of the people, and cannot long escape my vengeance.


Zorro robs Luis Quintero and then later visits him in his office.  He tells Quintero that he must resign, appoint Don Alejandro as alcalde, and return to Spain.  After Zorro leaves Quintero's office, he hides in the church under the robes of a priest.  While he is in the church, he speaks to Lolita Quintero and woos her.  After he leaves the church, Zorro finds himself pursued by soldiers.  He jumps into a bush, sheds the priest's robes, and emerges as Zorro.  A particularly dramatic moment occurs when Zorro and his horse jump off of a bridge into a stream and swim to safety.
Don Diego reveals that he is Zorro to Fray Felipe by pulling out Zorro's mask. Zorro arrives at the mission and sheds his disguise.  He walks into the mission as Don Diego and waits for Fray Felipe in his office.  Don Diego reveals that he is Zorro by asking, "Have you seen this one, Padre?" and then pulls out his Zorro mask as if he were performing a magic trick.
Zorro places another notice in the pueblo:
Special Notice

Good people of Los Angeles do not give up hope.  Luis Quintero will soon resign and leave for Spain or his blood will drip from my sword.


Don Diego appears in Quintero's office and relates a story of a case in Madrid similar to Zorro in which a man left a cross as a mark and slits the throats of 40 people.  Don Diego adds that the people were warned first.  Don Diego's comments have the desired effect of frightening Quintero.

Part of Diego's scheme is to also make Quintero's wife want to go back to Spain.  She is clearly interested in Don Diego and capitalizes on that interest.  He suggests that she go back to Spain with her husband, and that perhaps later he will also go back to Spain and could introduce her into the proper circles.  Inez seems thrilled at the suggestion.

Don Diego scares Quintero by telling of a man in Madrid who killed 40 people.

Don Diego schemes to get Inez to want to go back to Spain.

Don Esteban suggests an alliance between Quintero and the Vegas by arranging a marriage between Don Diego and Lolita.  Quintero approaches Don Alejandro with the idea, but Don Alejandro won't hear of it.  However, Diego seems interested and agrees to have dinner with the Quinteros.
Lolita is smitten after her dance with Don Diego.

Lolita is thrilled to learn that Diego is Zorro.

At the dinner, Lolita is very annoyed with Don Diego's behavior as he once again performs a slight of hand trick.  She is very unenthusiastic when he asks to dance with her.  However, Lolita thoroughly enjoys dancing with Don Diego.  Later, Don Diego visits Lolita in her room and confesses that he is Zorro, much to her pleasure.

Don Esteban appears at the mission and arrests Fray Felipe after he finds the gold that Zorro stole.  Fray Felipe is accused of being Zorro's accomplice and is to be hanged.  Lolita rides to the Vega hacienda to tell Diego.

Diego is in Quintero's office when Quintero decides to resign.  He is signing his resignation when Don Esteban enters and tears it up.  Don Esteban challenges Diego to a duel and Diego accepts.  They begin by slicing at the candles with their swords; Don Esteban is annoyed when Diego manages to slice through a candle without knocking it over.  The duel begins and proves to be the most dramatic of any version of Zorro.  The duel ends when Don Diego runs Don Esteban through with his sword.  Quintero realizes that Diego must be Zorro and has him arrested.  Quintero makes plans for Zorro's execution.

Diego tricks the man guarding his cell and manages to get the door unlocked.  Quintero brings the caballeros to Zorro's cell to show him off.  Diego bursts through the unlocked cell door, and a fight begins.

Don Esteban challenges Don Diego to a duel.

Don Diego and Fray Felipe wait in jail.

Quintero is forced to resign.. The caballeros subdue the soldiers; Quintero resigns and appoints Don Alejandro alcalde.  The movie ends with Don Diego stating that he and Lolita will "marry, grow fat children, and watch our vineyards grow."  Don Diego tosses his sword so that it sticks to the ceiling. Diego and Lolita plan their future.

This film pays tribute to the 1920 film in several different ways:

  • Tyrone Power tosses a sword up to be stuck in the ceiling just as Douglas Fairbanks did.

  • Fairbanks used handkerchief tricks in the 1920 film; Tyrone Power gestures with his handkerchief and performs slight of hand tricks.

  • When Zorro jumps into the bush to remove the priest's robes, the scene parallels the 1920 film when Zorro jumps into the stack of hay and removes the priest's robes.
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