Silent Cinema: The Mark of Zorro (1920)

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Showings

Film Info
Type of Film/Event:Feature

Description

THE MARK OF ZORRO (1920 SILENT) One of the best silent films ever made, and proof that at 100 years old, true art is ageless. Fairbanks plays Zorro, a “Robin Hood” protecting the poor against the rapacious governor of Old California. He is equally impressive as both the swashbuckling Zorro and as his alter ego, the foppish Don Diego.

Combining a natural athleticism (he performed all his stunts without a double), with humor and optimism, Zorro was the first in what would become Fairbanks’ specialty: the swashbuckler film. Fairbanks created the now iconic “mark” of Zorro—the three-slash “Z” he brands onto his victims. He also branded the film The Mark of Zorro (rather than “The Curse of Capistrano,” the short story upon which it is based). Bob Kane, the creator of Batman, cited Fairbanks’ Zorro as a primary inspiration for his creation: the dual nature of the protagonist, the mask and cape, the athleticism. But no one could surpass Fairbanks as the consummate swashbuckler, perhaps until Errol Flynn and Tyrone Power came along, some 18 years later.

With Douglas Fairbanks (Don Diego Vega/Señor Zorro), Noah Beery (Sergeant Pedro Gonzales), Charles Hill Mailes (Don Carlos Pulido), Claire McDowell (Doña Catalina Pulido), Marguerite De La Motte (Lolita Pulido), Robert McKim (Captain Juan Ramon), George Periolat (Governor Alvarado), Walt Whitman (Fra Felipe), Sydney de Grey (Don Alejandro Vega), Tote du Crow (Bernardo), Snitz Edwards (Tavern Keeper) 

Directed by Fred Niblo. Produced by Douglas Fairbanks. Scenario by Eugene Miller, based on “The Curse of Capistrano” by Johnston McCulley. Photographed by William McGann, Harry Thorpe. Douglas Fairbanks Pictures Corp. 8 reels. Restored by The Museum of Modern Art with support from The Film Foundation and The Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation.


PRECEDED BY

ONE WEEK (1920 SILENT)

Last year’s presentation of Steamboat Bill, Jr. starring Buster Keaton was so popular, we’ve brought Buster back in one of his best short films, One Week. Here he plays a newlywed who, along with his wife, attempts to build a do-ityourself home. – Cynthia Mortensen, The Stanford Theatre Foundation

SILENT CINEMA AT CINEQUEST is made possible by the generosity of the PACKARD HUMANITIES INSTITUTE. A very special thank you to David Woodley Packard and Cynthia Mortensen-Colombetti for their generosity and for producing these extraordinary artistic experiences for Cinequest and the audiences we serve.

BOTH FILMS WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY WORLD-RENOWNED CINEMA ORGANIST DENNIS JAMES ON THE MIGHTY WURLITZER ORGAN.

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