Zorro - The Legend Through The Years

   Zorro, the Gay Blade - 1981

George Hamilton is Don Diego Vega George Hamilton
Don Diego Vega and Bunny Wigglesworth
George Hamilton is Bunny Wigglesworth
Lauren Hutton is Charlotte Taylor Wilson Lauren Hutton
Charlotte Taylor Wilson
Ron Leibman
Captain Esteban
Ron Liebman is Captain Esteban
Brenda Vaccaro is Florinda Brenda Vaccaro
Donovan Scott
Donovan Scott is Paco
Theme Music
This movie is a satirical and comedic look at the legend of Zorro.
In the late part of the eighteenth century, the peasants of old California were oppressed by tyrannical landowners.  To protect the poor and downtrodden people, there emerged a mysterious swordsman who pledged his life in the service of justice.  To the people, he was a great hero who would live forever in their hearts.  To the landowners, however, he was a real pain in the ass.  He was known only as Zorro.
The five brothers burst into the room to fight Don Diego. In the first scene, Don Diego is in bed with another man's wife.  Her husband arrives and begins fighting Don Diego.  Don Diego boasts that he could easily fight four men like him.  The husband replies, "That is why I brought my five brothers!"  The five brothers enter the room, and Don Diego fights all of them at once.
In the midst of the tumult, Don Diego's mute servant Paco enters the room and starts gesturing as he looks at a letter.  Don Diego interprets what Paco is telling him as he continues to fight all of the men.  Paco tells him that his father wishes him to return home at once.  Don Diego makes his exit by jumping out of the second-story balcony with Paco following close behind. Diego interprets Paco's gestures as he continues to fight.
Diego arrives in Los Angeles.

Diego and Esteban greet each other.

Don Diego arrives in Los Angeles in a carriage.  He stands up and announces, "Los Angeles, California - the birthplace of me.  After 20 years you would have thought someone would come to the docks to meet me . . . at least one mariachi player."

Don Diego is greeted by Captain Esteban, who is the acting alcalde of the pueblo.  Don Diego learns that Esteban has married Florinda, a lady for whom he and Esteban were once rivals.  Don Diego also learns that his father is dead.

Don Esteban is elected the new alcalde.  During his acceptance speech, Charlotte Taylor Wilson of the People's Independence Committee arrives and tries to convince the people to revolt.  She and Don Diego speak briefly, and she is not impressed with him.

Don Diego receives a letter from his father regarding his destiny.

My Dear Son,

I do not call you by name because I do not know which of you two brothers will be the one to read this, but whoever does inherits the greatest gifts I possess.  The sword with which to fight injustice; this mask with which to deceive tyranny; and this hat which needs a reblocking. Wear them with honor for in time of need it is the destiny of the Vega men to become Zorro.

Diego pulls the Zorro disguise out of the casket. Don Diego declares the disguise to be an excellent costume to wear to the ball.  On his way to the ball with Paco, who is dressed like a fuzzy bear, Don Diego happens upon a peasant who has been robbed by the alcalde's tax collector. Diego and Paco prepare to leave for the ball.
Zorro fights the tax collector and spares him his life, with the condition that the man tell everyone that Zorro is back.  After Zorro returns the money to the peasant, he declares, "Spread the news that he is back, to help the helpless, to befriend the friendless, and to defeat the defeatless.  El Zorro rides again!" Zorro wants everyone to know that he is back.
Zorro fights Esteban during the ball. As Zorro arrives at the ball, Charlotte is about to be removed from the premises.  Zorro escorts her into the ball.  The tax collector sees him and tells Don Esteban.  Don Esteban immediately confronts Zorro; what follows is a dramatic and amusing swordfight.  As Zorro prepares to make his exit, he falls off of the balcony and breaks his foot when he hits the ground.
Zorro falls and breaks his foot.

Esteban asks Diego why he wasn't at the ball.

Florinda climbs up a ladder to Diego's bedroom and wants him to make love to her.  Don Esteban arrives, and Diego makes Florinda hide in the casket that contained his Zorro disguise.  Esteban bursts into Diego's bedroom to inform him that Zorro showed up at his inaugural ball.  Diego asks what the man looked like.  Esteban replies that he was about Diego's height and coloring; Esteban realizes that Diego was not at the ball and forces Diego to walk and hop to prove that his foot is not broken.  As Esteban leaves, he declares that "it is going to be a perfect day for a reign of terror!" Florinda climbs a ladder up to Diego's room.

Esteban makes Diego walk and hop in place.

Three weeks later, Diego's foot has still not healed and he wishes he could do something to stop the reign of terror.  Diego's brother, Ramon, now known as Bunny Wigglesworth, arrives.  Bunny reads their father's letter and finally decides to take on the role of Zorro.  However, the costume is not to his liking.  "If I am going to be this Zorro champion, I want to make more of a statement.  I want the world to recognize 'Zorro, the Gay Blade!'"

Zorro, the Gay Blade makes his first appearance and once again confronts the tax collector.  Zorro uses a whip instead of a sword and is dressed entirely in a plum-colored disguise.  Each time Zorro appears, he is dressed in a different colored disguise.  "Remember, my people, there is no shame in being poor, only dressing poorly."

Charlotte declares to Zorro that she loves him and that she would do anything for him.  She doesn't understand why he is not at all interested.

Don Diego asks Bunny what he thought of Charlotte.  Bunny reports that Charlotte threw herself at him.  Diego wishes he could be in Bunny's position.

Zorro the Gay Blade dressed in plum.

Zorro the Gay Blade dressed in blue.

Zorro the Gay Blade dressed in orange.

Esteban asks Diego if he is Zorro.

Esteban wants Diego to swing his hips.

Esteban arrives at Diego's home, once again suspicious that Diego is Zorro.  He makes Diego lisp like a sissy, swing his hips, and flap his wrists to try to prove that Diego is Zorro.  Esteban sees a cloaked figure in the garden and confronts him.  Diego tells Esteban that the man is Fray Ramon.  'Fray Ramon' answers Esteban's questions in a very deep voice.  Esteban has Fray Ramon pray for him. Esteban wants Diego to lisp like a sissy.

Bunny pretends to be a priest.

Florinda convinces her husband to give another ball. All of the caballeros show up at the ball dressed as Zorro; someone had sent each man a note requesting that he come dressed as Zorro.
Bunny arrives at the ball disguised as Diego's cousin Margarita. Bunny shows up disguised as Diego's cousin, Margarita Wigglesworth.  Bunny recites a poem about Zorro.
"His clothes are bold, his mind uncanny, give him your gold or he'll whip your fanny!"
Bunny steals Florinda's necklace, gives it to Diego, and then departs for England.
Diego, once again as Zorro since his foot is healed, gives the necklace to Charlotte, for the people.  He is surprised to discover that she knows Diego is Zorro.  A peasant informs the alcalde that Zorro and Charlotte were together.  Esteban has Charlotte arrested and orders her execution. Zorro gives Florinda's necklace to Charlotte.
Zorro the Gay Blade dressed in gold.

Both Zorros fight the soldiers.

Zorro disguises himself in a priest's robes and is discovered by Esteban just before Charlotte is executed  He allows Esteban to arrest him as a trade for Charlotte's life.  Zorro is tied up and the firing squad prepares to shoot him.  Just before the fatal shots are fired, Bunny Wigglesworth appears dressed as Zorro the Gay Blade.  Both brothers fight the soldiers side by side, Diego with a sword and Bunny with a whip.  Esteban is removed from power, and the story ends with Diego and Charlotte planning to have a family together.

This movie pays tribute to the 1940 version of The Mark of Zorro in several different ways.

  • Twice during this movie Zorro disguises himself as a priest just as Zorro did.

  • The movie is dedicated to Rouben Mamoulian, who directed the 1940 film.

  • Scenes that appear to be from the 1940 film are shown during the beginning narration.

  • Several candles are sliced with swords in this movie.

This movie also pays tribute to The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Bunny, as cousin Margarita, recites a poem which is very much like the poem that Sir Percy recites in The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Additionally, Bunny has an English accent just as Sir Percy did.

The scene in which the two brothers fight side by side is very much like a scene from the movie Don Q, Son of Zorro, in which the father and son Zorros fight side by side.

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