The Mark of Zorro 1920 (USA)

The Festival and session will be introduced by the US Consul-General in Sydney, the Honorable Judith Fergin.

Starring Douglas Fairbanks, Snr
Directed by Fred Niblo

Tickets: $30/$15 concession
Film: digital presentation of restored film
Duration: 107 minutes

Live music: accompanist Ms Sharolyn Kimmorley and Ian Bloxsom, Australia's Percussionist Extraordinaire

Presenter:  Dr Stephen Juan
Anthropologist Dr Stephen Juan is a commentator on all things human in books, newspapers, on radio and television. For more than three decades he taught at the University of Sydney where in retirement he remains the Ashley Montagu Fellow. The author of several best-selling books and member of Channel Nine's Today, Stephen has long had an interest in cultural history generally and films in particular.

Long before Antonio Banderas, and before Tyrone Power – Douglas Fairbanks Sr. exploded onto the motion picture screen as the very first Zorro, firmly setting the standard for all swashbuckling action heroes with his dynamic personality, astonishing athleticism and physical prowess.

In one of the world’s best-loved action heroes, Fairbanks shines as the caped and masked crusader with the pathetic alter-ego of Don Diego, playing both roles to the hilt in this classic action-adventure from the golden age of the silent era.

In realistic early Californian settings, a yawning and bored Don Diego appears unmanly and even comical as he tries to impress the beautiful Lolita with childish magic tricks, while in actual fact he is her heartthrob in the dashing black disguise and slashing sword, saviour of both her family and the entire community that is under the yoke of a ruthless military government.

This original plot, adapted by Fairbanks himself from a short story in a readers’ magazine, is very familiar and popular with viewers of all ages, and Fairbanks gives the role extra flavour and excitement, and a thrilling edge in every scene.

Filled with history, drama, romance, humour and breathtaking action, The Mark of Zorro was one of director Fred Niblo’s finest accomplishments. Niblo was married to Australian actress, Enid Bennett, who was born near Perth, WA and began her acting career in Sydney, before embarking on a successful movie career in Hollywood in 1918. She is best remembered for her role as Maid Marian in another Fairbanks swashbuckling adventure, Robin Hood.