Berlinale: Programme


Film file

Retrospective

The Mark of Zorro

Das Zeichen des Zorro

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In Spanish California under colonial domination, a masked swordsman has appeared. Calling himself ‘el zorro’ (the fox), he provides resistance to the tyranny of the governor and his henchman, and marks the evildoers with a ‘Z’ during swordfights. Only his mute servant, Bernardo, knows that young nobleman Don Diego is behind the mask of this champion of the people. Don Diego deliberately acts foppish and fools not only his father, but beautiful Lolita, who is head over heels for Zorro. When her family ends up in prison and she is kidnapped by the scoundrel Captain Ramon, her hero springs into action … Perhaps the original swashbuckling film that combines adventure with acrobatics, and romance with humor, which influenced the flashing swordplay in the Japanese ‘jidaigeki’ (period films). In the 1920s, the senior Douglas Fairbanks was Japan’s most popular western movie star (he visited the country in 1929). The way he threw a dagger, leaving it vibrating in a wall, was later imitated by swordfighter Chutaro (Chiezo Kataoka) in Banba no Chutaro: Mabuta no Haha (Hiroshi Inagaki, 1931).

USA 1920, 97 min

by

Fred Niblo

with

Douglas Fairbanks
Noah Berry
Charles Hill Mailes