Antonio Banderas in “The Mask of Zorro”

16 Jun

MV5BOTk5MTM0ODI0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNDc0MTI3._V1_SX640_SY720_When I was growing up, swashbucklers were the men to admire among my circle of family and friends. Especially Errol Flynn and Orlando Bloom. They were the beautiful, athletic, pretty-faced charmers of choice and because I was young and ornery, I remained impervious to their charms and teased mercilessly about it. I was not going to be taken in by a pretty face. I was steadfast. I was proud of it.

But I did have a secret crush. Actually, it wasn’t really that secret, but somehow I managed to underplay it in comparison with everyone else’s crushes.

(Actually, I have always thought Errol Flynn was a man of distinct charm and handsomeness, but it took a movie other than Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood to make me admit it – I didn’t like his longish hair in those two movies.)

I wasn’t even a fan of swashbucklers. I was more of a BBC/Masterpiece Theatre kind of gal (which might point to another not-so-secret crush on Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy). Long miniseries were my thing. Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens. Literary stuff. Talky stuff. Not muscular, roguish, sweaty action heroes.

But I saw The Mask of Zorro and I had to admit that I liked the movie. I seemed to be watching it quite often and I had to admit that Antonio Banderas was a large reason for that. He was awfully handsome, but he was more than that. He had a goofy charm as Alejandro Murrieta. He begins as an uncouth bandit, bumbling, bull-in-the-china-shop, until Anthony Hopkins takes him under his wing and gives him a make-over in a gender-reversed Pygmalion/Cinderella story twist and turns him into a gentlemen. Alejandro even gets to go to a ball of sorts and dance with Catherine Zeta-Jones. By the end, he can out-swashbuckle anyone.


It’s not a traditional Zorro story. It’s channeling serial tropes and traditions. Revenge, secret identities, make-overs, good-old-fashioned sword fights, romance, children who don’t know who there parents are. Actually, the more I think of it the more it seems clear to me how much this film owes to Dumas’ novel The Count of Monte Cristo.

But I like Alejandro so much better than I ever liked the Count, who was often an implacable man in the novel, good at everything and very nearly a demi-god. He’s so perfect and so convinced of the righteousness of his mission that he’s irritating. Not Alejandro.

He’s not infallible, he has his awkward moments, he jumps the gun often, he’s not an aristocrat born to the graces of his position (like Anthony Hopkins’ Zorro). He has some ridiculously maladroit moments. He’s essentially a regular guy being beaten down by the authorities. Becoming Zorro gives him power to fight back. Like the Count of Monte Cristo, he is able to engage his enemy at their level and defeat them at their own game, but he’s doesn’t lose his humanity in the process.

He also looks pretty gorgeous while he does it.

This post was written as part of The Reel Infatuation Blogathon. Be sure to look up the rest of the posts for Days 1, 2, 3 and look out for more updates this week. Many, many thanks to Font & Frock and Silver Screenings for hosting!

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Posted by on June 16, 2016 in Movies


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8 responses to “Antonio Banderas in “The Mask of Zorro”

  1. Silver Screenings

    June 16, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    I’ve not seen this film, but it sounds like a lot of fun! For some reason, I’ve always steered clear of Zorro films and books. But based on your review, I’m clearly missing out by refusing to see this one. Besides, what’s not to like about a man with goofy charm?

    Thanks for bringing your well-written and thoughtful review to the Reel Infatuation party!

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      June 16, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks for hosting! In many ways, The Mask of Zorro actually feels somewhat different from the other Zorro films, more in the tradition of The Mummy and Indiana Jones, less focused on the secret identity and more on the serial-like action, fun and romance.

      It was that goofiness, I think, that won me over, though he gets less goofy as he becomes a more polished Zorro. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul S

    June 17, 2016 at 7:51 am

    I love this film, it’s one I’ll often return to when I need something to cheer me up and make me smile. Antonio is pretty much the perfect Zorro!

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinawehner

      June 17, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Yes, it’s really a great one to lift one’s mood – I never do get tired of watching it!


  3. maedez

    June 17, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Nice post! Thanks so much for participating in the blogathon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Le

    June 21, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Who doesn’t love Antonio Banderas? Every now and then my mom swoons over him when his films are on TV. A very good post, Christina!
    Don’t forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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