Zorro: Foe of Big Government?

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When I was a small boy, I loved watching the old Walt Disney show Zorro.  I have read recently that Disney, a political conservative, used the Zorro show to argue against big government.  There are some episodes that support this, involving outrage by the people over unjust taxes.  The fictional character Zorro fought against tyrannical government in Old California, and I guess Disney decided that this was  a good storyline for how he viewed big government. 

 The video above is a colorized episode.  Normally I do not like colorization of old black and white movies or tv shows, but in this case I think it is well done.  I am intrigued by how well the show holds up.  Guy Williams played the title role with panache, and he was surrounded with good supporting actors.  The show had some sharp writing, and was a first rate mix of comedy and drama.

I also enjoyed the respectful manner in which the Church was portrayed in the series.  Priests and friars are portrayed as good and honest men, helping the poor and opposed to tyranny.  In one episode Don Diego remarks to a friar that a cruel landlord is attempting to undo all the good work that the Church had done among the Indians.  The following is a synopsis of an episode from the first season, which was broadcast on 10/24/57 :

“Don Torres’ safety at the mission is imperiled when a peasant informs Monastario of his hiding place and the lancers ride to surround the church. Monastario tries to enter the mission but is blocked by Padre Felipe, who demands that the soldiers leave without violating the sanctuary of the church. Otherwise, he warns, Monastario will face the wrath of the people. Instead, the capitan forces the local Indians to build a road through a rocky area, vowing to continue the work until Torres surrenders.

The cries of the slave workers are soon heard at the mission and Torres decides to surrender to spare them further hardship. Just as Torres walks out to give himself up, Zorro arrives and frees the Indians, who flee into the hills.”

The working title of this episode was “Zorro Goes to Church”.

 All of the episodes of Zorro are available in DVD collections and make first rate family entertainment.

9 Responses to Zorro: Foe of Big Government?

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    “Its biggest claim to fame is the climactic duel toward the end between Zorro (Power) and Captain Pasquale (Rathbone). Rathbone was known already in Hollywood as an outstanding Classical fencer, but moviegoers were treated to the surprise of Power being excellent in his own right. The fight duel is extremely ornate and full of finesse, as opposed to Rathbone’s more famous duel with Errol Flynn in Robin Hood, and the duel in The Mark of Zorro is considered by many movie buffs to be the finest swordfight in cinema. Staged by Hollywood’s resident fencing master Fred Cavens and atmospherically shot by cinematographer Arthur Miller and director Rouben Mamoulian, the scene takes place in a single room and forces actors to fight rather than jump around in the scenery. In key shots, Cavens’ son, Albert, doubles for Power (such as the shot where he plunges his saber through the bookcase). Scenes of fast fencing are undercranked to 18-20 frames per second, which means all the sound for the scene was post-synchronized. Rathbone suffered two scratches on his forehead during its filming, and later said of Power, “He could fence Errol Flynn into a cocked hat.”

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