Zorro - The Legend Through The Years

   Zorro - 1974

Note:  The summary on this page is based upon the full-length 120 minute film.  Please scroll to the bottom of this page for more information.

Alain Delon is Don Diego, Zorro, and the false Miguel de la Serna Alain Delon
Don Diego, Zorro, and the false Miguel Vega de la Serna
Ottavia Piccolo
Hortensia Pulido de Olividades
Ottavia Piccolo is Hortensia Pulido de Olividades
Stanley Baker is Colonel Huerta Stanley Baker
Colonel Huerta
Sergeant Garcia
Moustache is Sergeant Garcia
Giacomo Rossi-Stuart is Fritz von Merkel Giacomo Rossi-Stuart
Fritz von Merkel
Adriana Asti
Aunt Carmen
Adriana Asti is Aunt Carmen
Giampiero Albertini is Brother Francisco Giampiero Albertini
Brother Francisco
Enzo Cerusico
Enzo Cerusico is Joaquin
Marino Mase is Miguel Vega de la Serna Marino Mase
Miguel Vega de la Serna
Paulino Rita
Paulino Rita is Chico
Theme Music (full version, 3:58)
Diego warns Miguel about Nuova Aragon.

Serna makes Diego promise not to use violence.

Diego masquerades as Governor Serna.

A man named Diego is returning to Spain from the New World and chances to meet his old friend Miguel Vega de la Serna.  Miguel greets Diego as the best swordsman in both the Old and the New World.  Miguel has just been appointed the new governor of Nuova Aragon after the death of his uncle, the ruling governor, of malaria.  Diego scoffs at Miguel's vision of creating a society that is a model of humanity and justice.

Diego tries to warn Miguel that Nuova Aragon has been ruled by greed and hatred for generations, but Miguel will not listen.  Miguel goes for a walk with his mute servant, Joaquin, who is able to hear.  During their walk, Miguel is shot.  Diego promises to go in Miguel's place, but Miguel makes Diego promise to never shed blood.  Diego reluctantly agrees, and Miguel dies.

In Nuova Aragon, Colonel Huerta asks the council for complete control of the army and government so that he can reestablish law and order in the territory.  Diego appears at the meeting as the new governor, Serna.  Diego speaks in an effeminate manner and claims to be quite shaken by how bad the situation is in Nuova Aragon.

As Miguel, Diego asks Miguel's Aunt Carmen exactly how her late husband contracted malaria.  Aunt Carmen gives no answer and shows her utter disdain for both Miguel and her late husband.  Aunt Carmen introduces Diego to her husband's dog, Assassin.

Diego is brought a meal by Fritz von Merkel.  Fortunately, Assassin knocks over the table of food before Diego can begin eating, because a few birds sample the food and fall over dead.  Somebody desperately wants the new governor dead.  Oddly, Miguel's Aunt Carmen finds all of this extremely funny.

Diego and Joaquin watch Colonel Huerta force his men through a grueling fencing practice which results in several of the men being injured.  At the conclusion of the practice, Huerta slices the candles in the candelabra expertly.  Diego asks Huerta for protection, and Huerta assigns Garcia, a bumbling soldier with a great appetite.  Diego returns to the governor's quarters.  Assassin shows Diego and Joaquin a secret passage, and the two men try out the secret passage. 

Diego asks Aunt Carmen how the former governor caught malaria.

Fritz von Merkel brings Miguel his meal.

Colonel Huerta puts his men through a grueling practice.

No one will tell Diego and Joaquin anything.

Diego watches a boy leave a Z on a fence.

Diego and Joaquin attempt to get information from the people, but nobody will speak to them.  While Diego is wandering around on the streets, he sees a young boy release a man's goats and leave the mark of the 'Z' on the fence.  Later, the same boy lets out another man's chickens and leaves another 'Z.'  Meanwhile, Brother Francisco urges the people to approach the new governor and tell him of their troubles.  Brother Francisco is chased off by the soldiers.

Diego makes friends with the boy, Chico, and asks the boy to take him to the monk.  Chico refuses until Diego says he is going to tell who let out the goats and chickens.  Diego asks Chico what the 'Z' means.  Chico says that the 'Z' is the sign of Zorro, the spirit of the black-masked fox who is a great fighter.  Chico says that Zorro can never die.  Zorro will return someday and free all the animals.

Chico tells Diego the legend of Zorro. Diego and Chico arrive in time to see Brother Francisco arrested.  Since Diego swore to Miguel that the new governor would never shed blood, Diego decides to become Chico's hero, Zorro. Diego comforts Chico after Brother Francisco is arrested.
In the plaza, Brother Francisco is sentenced to 20 lashes for selling worthless hides.  As Brother Francisco is lashed, Zorro appears and lashes the soldiers.  Zorro forces the soldiers to release Brother Francisco and then forces the soldiers to lash the men who were responsible for Brother Francisco's unfair prosecution. Zorro demands that Brother Francisco be released.
Diego asks Aunt Carmen about Hortensia.

Zorro addresses the soldiers.

Hortensia urges Zorro to be careful.

While speaking to Aunt Carmen, Diego sees a portrait of Hortensia Pulido and comments on her beauty.  Diego is told that her family was once wealthy and is now poor.  Later, Hortensia urges the people to rise up against the soldiers.  She tells them that the scales are rigged and that the soldiers are cheating them.  Zorro appears and ridicules Garcia.  After toying with Garcia for some time, Zorro makes his escape, aided with the help of Chico.  Hortensia watches Zorro's actions with admiration.

Afterwards, Zorro visits Hortensia, displaying more than a casual interest in her.  The soldiers approach and Hortensia urges Zorro to run.  She states that she is very worried for him.

Hortensia watches the soldiers with disdain.

Zorro makes a fool out of Garcia.

Zorro reassures Hortensia.

Colonel Huerta suggests that Hortensia might enjoy being his wife.

Zorro tells Hortensia that she has given him another reason to live and fight.

Colonel Huerta arrives at Hortensia's home and orders his men to search the premises.  Huerta proceeds to make unwanted advances upon Hortensia.  He offers to marry her and tells her that it will redeem her entire family.  When Huerta adds that it might even prove to be a pleasurable experience for her, Hortensia slaps him.  Huerta grabs Hortensia and kisses her forcefully.  Zorro emerges from the garden, disarms Huerta, and forces Huerta to go down on his knees and ask Hortensia for her forgiveness.  Zorro and Hortensia walk outside as Huerta is leaving.  Hortensia tells Zorro that she is still frightened for him and wonders how she can help him.  Zorro kisses her hand and replies, "You've given me another reason to live and fight.  That's help enough.  Thank you."  Hortensia kisses Zorro's cheek, and Zorro leaves.
Aunt Carmen departs with Fritz von Merkel and a large amount of jewelry.  A group of soldiers sent by Colonel Huerta is disguised in white hoods and white robes.  The men attack Aunt Carmen and Fritz during their journey.  Fortunately, Diego had suspected trouble and appears as Zorro, defeating the men.  Aunt Carmen and Fritz think that Fritz overpowered the men with his superior skill.  Despite Fritz's amazing skill, the bandits take off with the coach.  Zorro later overtakes the coach and takes control of it. 

Upon Aunt Carmen and Fritz's return, Aunt Carmen proclaims her love for Fritz.  Diego, as Miguel, wearing a lounging robe and hairnet, reacts excitedly to Aunt Carmen's news, but is likely more amused than not.

Zorro enters a church during a service, and with sword drawn, requests that the wealthy churchgoers give generously of their gold and jewelry to all of the innocent victims of corruption and robbery.  The soldiers begin a reign of terror, taking men prisoner and forcing them to work in the mines.

Fritz fights the bandits.

Diego reacts as Aunt Carmen speaks of Fritz's bravery and gushes with love for Fritz.

Zorro asks the wealthy churchgoers to donate to the poor.

Diego, still in his assumed role as the governor, presides over a dinner party for Aunt Carmen.  Assassin arrives with a note signed Zorro that threatens the governor's life.  Diego pretends to be terrified that Zorro is after him.
Colonel Huerta visits Diego and tells him that he has devised the perfect plan to capture Zorro.  Huerta plans to imprison Hortensia and cart her around the plaza until Zorro rescues her.  Soldiers will be hidden everywhere so that there will be no possible way Zorro can escape.  Zorro outwits the soldiers by going to the jail first and waiting in Hortensia's cell.  After rescuing Hortensia, Zorro cleverly escapes.  As Zorro makes his escape, he overhears Colonel Huerta saying that the governor was the only other person who knew of the plan.  Huerta hurries to the governor's bedroom, but Diego beats him there by just a few moments.  As Diego and Huerta converse briefly about the failed plan, it is clear that Huerta is suspicious of the governor.  Diego suddenly insists that he, the governor, serve as bait for Zorro, since he is the one Zorro wishes to kill. Colonel Huerta is suspicious of Diego.

Hortensia is imprisoned and carted around the plaza.

Diego fishes with Garcia.

Huerta is exultant that Zorro and the governor are dead.

Continuing his masquerade as the governor, Diego goes on a fishing trip with Garcia.  While Diego and Garcia fish, Joaquin appears as Zorro.  Joaquin is chased by the soldiers and seeks refuge in the same mission where Hortensia is hiding.  The children of the mission help by disguising themselves as Zorro and making several appearances that keep the soldiers chasing along false trails.  Diego pretends to be going to the carriage to sleep but instead makes an appearance as Zorro.  Zorro then enters the carriage and pretends to have the governor at gunpoint.  By using the governor as a hostage, Zorro is able to get the soldiers to release the men who have been forced into labor at the mines.  Zorro flees in the carriage, hotly pursued by the soldiers.  Zorro drives the carriage off of a cliff into the water, and it appears that both Zorro and the governor are dead.
Huerta plans to marry Hortensia now that both Zorro and the governor are dead.  Just as Hortensia arrives for the wedding, Brother Francisco appears with the freed workers, demanding justice.  Zorro arrives and tells Huerta that he has a rebellion on his hands.  Huerta shoots and kills Brother Francisco, which angers the people as well as Zorro. Brother Francisco leads the people in an uprising.
Zorro comments that the murder of Brother Francisco releases him from the promise he made a friend.  Zorro and Huerta begin a very long duel.  Early in the fight, Zorro shows Huerta that he, too, can expertly slice candles by slicing them horizontally and vertically.  At one point during the fight, Huerta believes that he has killed Zorro only to discover that Zorro has survived.
Zorro removes his mask. Finally, Huerta and Zorro end up on the roof, and Huerta says that one of them must die.  Zorro says that it shall now be the moment of truth and removes his mask.  Huerta sees that his suspicions about the governor were correct. Colonel Huerta reacts to Zorro's identity.
Zorro runs Colonel Huerta through with his sword, and Huerta falls from the roof of the building.  The people react with shock at the sudden end to the battle.  The movie ends with Zorro riding off on his horse into the distance . . . la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-Zorro's back! Zorro rides off into the distance.

While overall very different from McCulley's original story, this film uses several key elements from that story.  Once again, the Pulidos are present and have lost their fortune; the daughter, now Hortensia, is jailed and rescued by Zorro much like Lolita was in the original story.  Another familiar scene occurs when Huerta makes unwanted advances towards Hortensia, only to be forced down on his knees by Zorro very much like the scene from the original story.  The ubiquitous mute servant, now named Joaquin, takes on the Zorro disguise to throw off Zorro's pursuers just as Bernardo did for Don Diego in the Disney series.  Finally, Colonel Huerta and Zorro try to impress each other by using their swords to slice through the candles just like in the 1940 film.

The theme music to this film seems to be what makes it or breaks it for most people.  Viewers either love or hate the theme music.  For some people, it is so bad that it is good; for others it is just plain bad; and for others, like myself, it is a fun song.

Another reason that many people have never liked this film is that the version that has been readily available on home video is the 90 minute version.  The original film was around 120 minutes long and for some unknown reason was highly edited down to around 90 minutes.  The result is a film that makes very little sense.  All of the explanatory parts of the film are removed from the 90 minute version, leaving a chopped-up incomprehensible film.

Finally, in April 2006, the complete 120 minute film was released on DVD in France.  The DVD contains both the French and the English audio and has subtitles in both French and English.  The DVD is Region 2, so the viewer must own a DVD player that will play Region 2 DVDs.  The DVD is available from www.Amazon.fr.

This particular page covers the complete film.  This page is my original page on this film, and it is based on the 90 minute version.  While I did not necessarily cover every single scene from each version, I did cover what I felt was important in both cases.  A comparison of these two pages will plainly show how very much is missing from the 90 minute version.

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