The Mark of Zorro (1920 film)

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Douglas Fairbanks was gifted not only with a winning smile and athletic prowess, but also with keen insight. Aware that post-World War I audiences had grown weary of the romantic comedies that had made him a star, Fairbanks adapted his persona to create a daring hero and established himself as an icon of American culture. Under the name Elton Thomas, Fairbanks penned the screenplay for The Mark of Zorro, his first swashbuckler, portraying Don Diego Vega who has recently returned to California from Spain. Upon finding a despotic governor (George Periolat) persecuting the local inhabitants, he first poses as a preening fop to divert suspicion, then dons a cape and mask to defend the downtrodden armed with a razor-sharp sword and leaving behind his signature "Z" to taunt the evil Captain Ramon (Robert McKim) and his henchmen. The film, directed by Fred Niblo, also stars Marguerite De La Motte and Noah Beery.

The Other Wiki tells us that "the film has been remade twice, once in 1940 (starring Tyrone Power) and again in 1974 (starring Frank Langella)."

The original The Mark of Zorro was named to the National Film Registry in 2015. The movie is in the public domain - you can watch it here, on this very wiki, or download it from the Internet Archive.

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