The Mark Of Zorro (1940)

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A young caballero returns from military service in Spain to find his father deposed from office by a corrupt tyrant and so dons a mask to fight on the side of the people.

The original template used in the Antonio Banderas remake, The Mark Of Zorro was made two years after the classic The Adventures Of Robin Hood and features many of the same ingredients, including impressive swordplay, charming old school romanticism, a supremely hissable villain in the form of Basil Rathbone and Eugene Pallette who is pretty much playing the same part as a good-hearted but belligerent old friar. But the star of the show is most definitely Tyrone Power who proves he can swashbuckle with the best of them, not only in his skillful use of the sword but also with his fine display of comic timing in the genuinely amusing scenes as his foppish alter ego.

He and Linda Darnell make an extremely attractive couple, the action sequences are some of the finest from the golden age and it has a refreshingly old school lack of cynicism, making for a rousing boy’s own adventure that rates as one of the best of the era.

6.5/10

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