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Rating: Not Rated
Restored Black and White Feature
Commentary by Film Critic Richard Schickel
“Tyrone Power: The Last Idol” as seen on Biography on the A&E Network
“Tyrone Power stars as 19th Century nobleman Don Diego de Vega, whose father, the mayor of Los Angeles, is removed from office by the sinister Captain Pasquale (Basil Rathbone), now corrupt “alcalde”.
By day, the crooked politicians rob the citizenry at every turn, and at night, Don Diego, wearing a mask, defies their laws and avenges the innocents. As he leaves his trademark – the letter “Z” – wherever he goes, he also leaves an impression on the mayor’s niece (Linda Darnell), who can’t help but love the hero in disguise.”
One of the most notable things about the movie in my mind was the stunts. Some of them are spectacular even by today’s standards. For example, there’s a scene where Zorro is being pursued by the army. Cornered on a bridge, he and the horse actually jump off of it into the river. It’s a great shot and one you probably wouldn’t see today without CG. Late in the film is a great swordfight between Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone. It’s as fast paced and as intense as any you’ve seen recently. If you’re a fan of action, you’ll enjoy this.
The movie is also quite funny. Tyrone Power as Don Diego Vega acts like a high society dandy in order to deflect suspicion that he might be the vigilante Zorro. He takes it to comic extremes, so it’s amusing when he finally reveals that he’s more heroic than he previously let on. The romance in the film is also entertaining. Again, Don Diego fools Linda Darnell as Lolita Quintero that he’s a snob until later, when he sneaks into her room, he shows his true colors. It provided solid footing for the romance in the 1998 Zorro film.
For all the coolness, the film is still dated in many ways. A bunch of white actors try and pass for Spanish settlers in California. Some of the acting is rather stiff as well. But all of that is of minor concern and it’s really expected from movies of this era. This DVD also offers both black and white and colorized versions of the movie. I watched the colorized version and it looked pretty good. The colors were not overdone and the effect was generally convincing. But if you prefer the original version, it’s here for purists.
Commentary by Film Critic Richard Schickel This commentary was a little dry for my tastes. Schickel offers up a lot of trivia about the actors and the movie, but he’s not a very dynamic speaker. He also misses a few prime opportunities to make comments at key scenes in the film. Upon my second viewing I saw a lot more camera tricks used during the spectacular jump from the bridge. Schickel is quiet during this.
“Tyrone Power: The Last Idol” as seen on Biography on the A&E Network This is an hour long biography on Tyrone Power. They cover everything from his birth to his untimely death. The show follows his acting career, his high profile romances, and his time in WWII. It’s a really thorough and interesting biography.
Classic Trailers Some trailers from a number of classic films are included here. One features an incredibly awkward Newsweek reporter interviewing Betty Davis about her latest film. Another features reviews of “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”. Overall they’re a novelty worth checking out.
The Bottom Line: