AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Mark of Zorro
Alternate Title: The Californian
Director: Rouben Mamoulian (Dir)
Release Date:   8 Nov 1940
Premiere Information:   Cincinnati opening: 1 Nov 1940
Production Date:   25 Jul--12 Sep 1940
Duration (in mins):   93
Duration (in feet):   8,409
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Cast:   Tyrone Power (Diego [Vega])  
    Linda Darnell (Lolita Quintero)  
    Basil Rathbone (Capt. Esteban Pasquale)  
    Gale Sondergaard (Inez Quintero)  
    Eugene Pallette (Fray Felipe)  
    J. Edward Bromberg (Don Luis Quintero)  
    Montagu Love (Don Alejandro Vega)  
    Janet Beecher (Señora Isabella Vega)  
    Robert Lowery (Rodrigo)  
    Chris-Pin Martin (Turnkey)  
    George Regas (Sergeant Gonzales)  
    Belle Mitchell (Maria [de Lopez])  
    John Bleifer (Pedro)  
    Frank Puglia (Proprietor)  
    Eugene Borden (Officer of the day)  
    Pedro De Cordoba (Don Miguel)  
    Guy D'Ennery (Don Jose)  
    Fred Malatesta (Sentry)  
    Fortunio Bonanova (Sentry)  
    Jean Del Val (Sentry)  
    Joseph Villard (Sentry)  
    Harry Worth (Caballero)  
    Gino Corrado (Caballero)  
    George Sorel (Caballero)  
    Lucio Villegas (Caballero)  
    Paul Sutton (Soldier)  
    Art Dupuis (Soldier)  
    Ralph Byrd (Officer-student)  
    Ted North (Michael)  
    Rafael Corio (Manservant)  
    Franco Corsaro (Orderly)  
    William Edmunds (Peon selling cocks)  
    Hector Sarno (Peon at inn)  
    Charles Stevens (Jose)  
    Stanley Andrews (Commanding officer)  
    Victor Kilian (Boatman)  
    Andre Cuyas (Servant)  
    Frank Yaconelli (Servant)  
    George Chermanoff (Servant)  
    Francisco Maran (Officer)  
    Paco Moreno (Peon)  
    Bob Cautiero (Groom)  
    Robert Conway    

Summary: In the early 1800s, when Diego Vega, one of the best swordsmen in all of Spain, is unexpectedly summoned home to California by his father, Don Alejandro, he returns to find that his father has been deposed as alcalde and the peasants crushed beneath the yoke of tyranny under Don Luis Quintero and his soldiers, who are led by the sword brandishing Captain Esteban Pasquale. With the odds against an uprising because of the sheer number of soldiers under Pasquale's command, Diego becomes the scourge of the oppressors by acting as the masked bandit Zorro by night while impersonating a foppish dilettante by day. As Zorro, he falls in love with Quintero's beautiful niece Lolita, while as Don Diego, he flirts with Quintero's conceited wife Inez, thus earning the ire of Pasquale, her other suitor. When Zorro orders that Quintero return to Spain and appoint Don Alejandro as his successor, Pasquale cleverly proposes an alliance between the Vega and Quintero families through a marriage between Diego and Lolita. At first repulsed, Lolita embraces Diego after she discovers that he is the dashing Zorro. However, Diego's masquerade is exposed when his accomplice, Fray Felipe, is arrested by Pasquale and Diego challanges the smug captain to a duel. When Diego kills his opponent, he attracts the suspicion of Quintero, who arrests him and sentences him to death. As Fray Felipe and Diego await the firing squad, Diego outwits the guard, breaks out of jail and leads the peasants and caballeros in a rebellion against the soldiers. With Quintero and his men defeated, Don Alejandro takes over as alcalde, and peace is restored to the village of Los Angeles. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Rouben Mamoulian (Dir)
  Lynn Shores (2d unit dir)
  Bill Weenberger (Asst dir)
  Sidney Bowen (Asst dir)
Producer: Darryl F. Zanuck (Exec prod)
  Raymond Griffith (Assoc prod)
Writer: John Taintor Foote (Scr)
  Garrett Fort (Adpt)
  Bess Meredyth (Adpt)
Photography: Arthur Miller (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Richard Day (Art dir)
  Joseph C. Wright (Art dir)
Film Editor: Robert Bischoff (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Thomas Little (Set dec)
Costumes: Travis Banton (Cost)
Music: Alfred Newman (Mus)
  David Buttolph (Mus)
  Hugo Friedhofer (Mus)
  Cyril Mockridge (Mus)
Sound: W. D. Flick (Sd)
  Roger Heman (Sd)
Production Misc: Ernesto Romero (Tech adv)
Country: United States

Source Text: Based on the serial story The Curse of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley in All-Story Weekly (9 Aug--6 Sep 1919).
Authors: Johnston McCulley

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 8/11/1940 dd/mm/yyyy LP10310

PCA NO: 6597
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

Genre: Adventure
Sub-Genre: Historical
Subjects (Major): California--History--To 1846
  Impersonation and imposture
  Masked bandits
Subjects (Minor): Fathers and sons
  Sword fights

Note: The working title of this film was The Californian . According to an item in LAEx , Douglas Fairbanks sold Fox his rights to the Johnston McCulley story, which was published in book form in 1924 as The Mark of Zorro . Materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library add that McCulley retained author's rights to the character of Zorro and wrote several other Zorro stories. As a result, Fox did not control the rights to the Zorro character, thus enabling Republic to make The Bold Caballero in 1936 (see above). The legal files also add that William A. Drake and Dorothy Hechtlinger worked on treatments for the film. Materials contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library note that Darryl Zanuck suggested that Richard Greene test for the role of Zorro. The film had its premiere in Cincinnati, the home town of star Tyrone Power. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score. The 1981 Fox release Zorro, the Gay Blade , starring George Hamilton and directed by Peter Medak, was dedicated to director Rouben Mamoulian. For more information on other Zorro films, see entries above for The Bold Caballero and the 1920 The Mark of Zorro

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   4 Nov 40   p. 3.
Film Daily   6 Nov 40   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Jul 40   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jul 40   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jul 40   pp. 8-9.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Aug 40   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Sep 40   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Oct 40   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Oct 40   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   4 Nov 40   p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner   20 May 1939.   
Motion Picture Daily   6 Nov 40   p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald   9 Nov 40   p. 35.
New York Times   4 Nov 40   p. 33.
New York Times   10 Nov 40   p. 5.
Variety   6 Nov 40   p. 16.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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