Sunday, October 23, 2011

Derring-do

Suzannah, who reads "vintage novels" and recommends good ones at her site, is beginning a week of recommending vintage movies. Her tastes in books and films seem to frequently coincide with mine so it was no surprise that her first post is about one that I have enjoyed since childhood, The Mark of Zorro. She also recommends similar swashbucklers. I am happy to say that I have almost all of them in my DVD collection. Suzannah on The Mark of Zorro:
Of all the old swashbucklers we've seen, the favourite in our home is an unassuming little picture from 1940: The Mark of Zorro with Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, and Basil Rathbone. Tyrone Power plays Don Diego Vega, the son of the alcalde of California who is sent to Spain to complete his education. On his return, he finds California changed since he went away: the peasants seem afraid, the new alcalde is spoken of with fear and hatred, and his evil henchman Captain Esteban Pasquale (Basil Rathbone) is bent on squeezing every last penny out of the taxpayers.

Don Diego can see that something must be done. By night he is the bold and daring Zorro, terror of evildoers. By day he becomes the effete and foppish Don Diego, an inveterate flapper of lace-edged handkerchiefs and languid suitor of the alcalde's enchanting niece Lolita (Linda Darnell). Will he dislodge the evil alcalde from California, or does discovery, disgrace, and death await him? ....

If you enjoy The Mark of Zorro, take time to sample the other great swashbucklers of cinema. Captain Blood is one of the very best, of course; but don't miss the Ronald Colman The Prisoner of Zenda, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea-Hawk, or the hilarious Court Jester. .... [more]
Another might be The Scarlet Pimpernel (I prefer the 1934 version with Leslie Howard).

In Which I Read Vintage Novels: Vintage Movies: The Mark of Zorro