Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro - The Complete First Season

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Guy Williams as Don Diego de la Vega
Gene Sheldon as Bernardo
Henry Calvin as Sgt. Demetrio Lopez Garcia
Don Diamond as Corp. Reyes
George J. Lewis as Don Alejandro de la Vega

Special Features:
Zorro: El Bandido -- Part 1

Zorro: Adios El Cuchillo -- Part 2

Excerpt From "The Fourth Anniversary Show"

"The Life And Legend Of Zorro"

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital Mono Sound
Running Time: 18 Hours 41 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Out of the night, when the full moon is bright, comes the horseman known as Zorro. Debuting October 10, 1957, Walt Disney's thrilling series about the masked avenger was so successful, it made Zorro a household name -- and quashed every series that went up against it. Filled with action, adventure and suspense, this volume presents the first season's 39 episodes (all newly restored and remastered) in their original black-and-white format. To enrich your experience of Disney's unforgettable classic, this six-disc set also includes 'Zorro: el Bandido' and 'Zorro: Adios El Cuchillo, the rarely seen two-part, one-hour specials shown on Disney's anthology series, Walt Disney Presents. Then discover the many faces of Zorro from his literary beginnings through the creation of the Disney TV series. Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come."

"Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro - The Complete First Season" is not rated.

Mini-Review:
Any comic fan out there should be familiar with Zorro. Created in 1919 by pulp writer Johnston McCulley, he laid the foundations for modern comic book superheroes. Zorro was a high society wuss by day and a masked vigilante by night. Sound like anyone you know? While Zorro got his start in pulp novels and early cinema, the Walt Disney TV series featuring the hero cemented his popularity in the hearts and minds of baby boomers.

I had seen episodes of the TV series before, but it was interesting to revisit it again. The acting and writing have the distinct Disney style equal amounts of humor, drama, and action. I was also impressed with some of the effects in the show. The intro used animation while elaborate matte paintings were used in some of the action scenes. The end result was an action series that raised the bar for 1950's television.

It's easy to see how kids could have become hooked on Zorro back in 1957. My kids wandered through the room while I was watching the episodes. While the quiet scenes didn't interest them, they stopped dead in their tracks and watched transfixed during the action scenes. From racing horses to elaborate swordfights, the stunts still hold up pretty well today.

The DVD has a brief retrospective on the series. A few Zorro experts discuss the book origins of the character as well as his early years. We then learn how Disney became drawn to the project and developed it for television. It's an interesting story. Two Zorro movies are also included as an added bonus. Rounding out the extras is a brief portion of the "Fourth Anniversary Show" where Walt Disney rolled out the series to the public. Disney fans that collect the pins at the parks will also be interested to know the DVD set comes with an exclusive Zorro pin. Fans will also want to be sure to pick up "Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro - The Complete Second Season" which is also hitting stores at the same time.

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