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Film / Zorro (1975)

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Zorro is a 1975 French-Italian Swashbuckler film directed by Duccio Tessari, based on the literary hero of the same name.

Alain Delon is Diego, a Spanish master swordsman, expert horse-rider and adventurer who is visiting California and staying with his friend, Miguel de la Serna, the soon-to-be assistant governor of Nueva Aragón. But after witnessing Miguel's death by a band of thugs, Diego decides to stay and investigate the truth behind his friend's assassination by taking over Miguel's position as assistant governor.

Discovering that Nueva Aragón is ruled by a ruthless military leader, Colonel Huerta, and learning of an old legend about a black fox spirit who will save the locals of Nueva Aragón, Diego decide to become the legend himself, as Zorro, the black-clad crusader and saviour of the people.

Zorro provides examples of:

  • Big Bad: Colonel Huerta is the newly-appointed military and civil governor of Nueva Aragón who enforced a cruel, ruthless military rule on the town, gleefully silencing everyone who speaks against him and having innocent citizens punished by being thrown into prisons or labor camps for attempting to speak the truth.
  • Bloodless Carnage: For a movie with plenty of sword battles and mooks getting stabbed and sliced, there's barely any blood visible throughout the action scenes.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: Being a Zorro movie, sure enough Diego had these on as his standard attire.
  • Destination Defenestration: When the final battle between Zorro and Huerta reaches the church's bell tower, Huerta tries to force Zorro into falling to his death. Zorro manages to grab on a hanging rope instead, and ends up swinging until he crashes through the tower's windows. Cue Huerta triumphantly declaring he killed Zorro... until Zorro suddenly re-emerges on the church's roof.
  • Diagonal Cut: Early on, Huerta demonstrates the sharpness of his blade this way. He swipes his sword, then drops it on the table, and the candles fall down cut across. Near the end Zorro outdoes him: he waves his sword and taps on the floor — all candles, but one, fall cut. He taps again, and that candle falls, cut lengthwise.
  • Disney Villain Death: For the two main baddies.
    • Sergeant Garcia met his maker after accidentally falling down a shaft in the final battle. The audience didn't see the impact or the aftermath, just the sound of him falling and a thud.
    • Colonel Huerta gets fatally stabbed by Zorro and falls off the church's tower. Again, no gore or blood.
  • Duel to the Death: The film's climatic battle, a 10-minute epic duel between Zorro and Huerta. Only one will survive. Zorro wins.
  • Fearful Symmetry: Several frames of the final battle between Zorro and Huerta are framed in this manner.
  • Good Shepherd: Brother Francisco, the local priest.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Colonel Huerta reveals that he isn't the righteous man he initially seems, when he attempts to seduce Carmen, the wife of a recently-deceased governor, while she is alone, and subsequently forces himself on her when she refused. Zorro's timely intervention prevents Huerta from getting any further.
  • Horseback Heroism: Diego is a skilled horse rider and spends much of the movie on horseback, even before he becomes Zorro. The film's opening credits are in fact imposed right over a scene of Diego riding over the plains of the New World.
  • Ladder Tipping: During the chase in the marketplace, Zorro took down two soldiers climbing after him by tipping the ladder, crushing both soldiers in the process.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Assassin, the Great Dane adopted by Diego who helps serve as distraction whenever Diego had to go undercover as Zorro.
  • Master Swordsman: Zorro and Huerta are both experts and devils when it comes to sword-fighting. Suitably enough, the movie climaxes with their climatic, one-on-one battle.
  • Running Gag: During the prison infiltration, the trumpet-playing guard repeatedly has his trumpet jamming or refusing to play properly. He ends up playing the film's opening theme instead.
  • Secret Identity: Zorro's true identity is the newly appointed assistant governor, Diego. Diego got the inspiration to adopt the secret identity as Zorro after hearing of the legend of a freedom-loving black fox spirit from a little black boy.
  • Spaghetti Western: Heavily influenced by this genre, considering being made in Italy back when Spaghetti Westerns are in their peak of popularity.
  • Sphere Factor: Zorro infiltrates Huerta's prison to break Maria out by rolling in a barrel.
  • Street Urchin: Chico, a little black boy and urchin Diego befriends shortly after becoming assistant governor. It was Chico's story about the legendary black fox spirit that gives Diego the idea of becoming Zorro.
  • Sword Fight: Most of the action scenes are sword fights, with plenty of Flynning and epic stunts, especially the climatic 10-minute battle between Zorro and Huerta.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Brother Francisco, trying to take a stand against Huerta's soldiers, ends up getting subjected to a public whipping until Zorro intervenes. Later on Zorro turns this around on the corrupt judges who sentenced this treatment on Francisco.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Miguel's dying wish to Diego, right before passing his mantle as governor to his friend, is that "the new governor will never kill". Diego fulfills the promise long enough until he eventually realize against Colonel Huerta, Violence is the Only Option.
  • Villainous Glutton: Sergeant Garcia, Huerta's Fat Bastard of a subordinate, frequently indulges in feasts, when most of the citizens of Nueva Aragón barely had any food. Best exemplified in a scene where he wolves down a huge, three-layer sandwich, in front of three starving child servants.
  • Working on the Chain Gang: Innocent civilians who tries to speak for their own rights or oppose Colonel Huerta's rules are subjected to getting arrested and thrown into the mines for their troubles. Zorro ends up liberating the enslaved civilians and releasing them from the mines before the third act of the film.