Written for my Frank Langella Celebration! ❤
Okay, so maybe I am a tad biased. Who wouldn't be? It's funny how every time I watch the 1974 made-for-television version of The Mark of Zorro that I always wish it was longer. As it is, the film is only about 75 minutes long, which isn't nearly long enough in this reviewer's humble opinion.
Think back to every version of Zorro you've ever seen.
What do you love most about it?
For me Zorro must also be Don Diego Vega. He cannot be someone made into the image of Don Diego Vega, which is why I struggle with the rewrite with Antonio Banderas. He's remade into Zorro from a bum. So there's one point, Zorro and Diego are one and the same man and Diego is of noble blood. Like Robin Hood. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel.
Finally, when Diego transforms into Zorro, he must do so wholeheartedly. Become an utterly different individual with almost nothing left of the man that everyone sees. He is passionate, he is angry, he is determined, and he rebels. All of these traits combine into one very attractive package when Langella dons the cape and mask of Zorro. His height didn't hurt things either.
Now, just for kicks, if you haven't already decided to at least try his version of The Mark of Zorro, here's a few more screen shots to give you a bit more incentive.
News from home isn't good and Diego decides to leave Spain for California.
His concerns are already justified when fear of the Alcalde (his father) is evident in the people.
Except that Diego arrives home to find the house is no longer his father's, but belongs to a new Alcalde, a much crueler man, and his military leader.
Dude, I hate you already.
But I can't let you know, so look and see what a silly oaf I am, afraid to catch a blade and stain his Madrid lace handkerchief with blood!
Ooh, hark, is that the lovely niece of the new Alcalde?
And the Alcalde's wife who is salivating most disgustingly over Diego.
Zorro befriends the local priest.
And in his escape masquerades as a monk in order to woo the Alcalde's niece. What? Silly girl, you need to know something is wrong when a MONK is wooing you.
Making friends with the new Alcalde. Apparently it's normal for men to hold each other's arms in that culture. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Hey, Don Alejandro Vega, I'm stealing your sword and making sure the Alcalde's military leader sees me doing it.
How dare you take my family's sword!?
The Alcalde's niece primping for a party where she hopes to find herself swept away by Diego.
Only to find his conversation is limited only to idle prattle.
And there is nothing particularly memorable about scented bathtubs!
Playing the game.
Oh so very slyly.
You and your faux pas.
And here we have Zorro, ready to battle valiantly and defeat the corrupt Alcalde.
Jeering and sneering going on, as usual.
Wait, Zorro is also my son?! Yay!
To the victor go the spoils and all is well once more in California with Zorro there to protect the people.
And yes, Diego and the Alcalde's niece fall deeply in love. It helps when she learns there's more between his ears than a "This space for rent" sign.