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Currentfilm.com Review:

Originally airing in 1957, Walt Disney’s first stand alone 30 minute series, “Zorro” is probably one of the most beloved adaptations of the classic tale of the masked avenger. Recently released as a part of the Walt Disney Treasures series, Season 1 and 2 of “Zorro” are the complete seasons packaged in the collectible Disney Treasures Tins.

Season one begins with Don Diego de la Vega (Guy Williams) arriving in California after being away for three years, only to discover that military forces have taken over and are dictating the lives of the people living there. People are being overtaxed and when they can’t pay they’re put in jail, others are forced into slave labor. Having been in Spain studying, Don Diego has studied sword fighting which comes in handy once he reaches his father Don Alejandro (George J. Lewis), who sent for his son to return home to help him face the politicos. At Don Diego’s side is his trusted mute assistant, Bernardo (Gene Sheldon), who helps him devise a plan to come off as harmless in order to secretly overthrow the new captain. Don Diego pretends to be a scholar instead of a true swordsman, and Bernardo pretends to be deaf so he can be Don Diego’s eyes and ears.

As soon as Don Diego returns, everything goes as planned when he meets the new Capitán Monastario (Britt Lomond) who believes that Don Diego is a fumbling scholar. What makes the series so compelling is the fact that Don Diego keeps his identity secret from everyone, including his father for awhile who is dismayed by his sons lack of interest in what’s taking place around them. Williams gives a wonderful performance as a man torn between disappointing his father and knowing that deceiving him is the only way to fight without bringing harm their way. The transition from Don Diego to Zorro is also fantastic, and clearly shows that Williams was the perfect choice for the role.

It isn’t until over halfway through the first episode that El Zorro appears, and when he does, he delivers what we expect from the masked hero and friend of the people. From here on out the series is about the balance between Don Diego and Zorro and the long fight between Zorro and those mistreating the people. With 39 episodes, the first season manages to deliver on nearly every episode.

Season two is also a full 39 episodes and feels fresh and entertaining, despite continuing the same premise. With new characters introduced, new obstacles and new choices presented to Don Diego, this season does dig a little deeper than the first, but still holds true to the swashbuckling adventures that people had come to love and expect from the series. This season stands out in part due to the performance by Cesar Romero as Esteban de la Cruz. The performances remain strong in season two and the stories and action sequences continue to engage and entertain.

What makes “Zorro” so interesting is the fact that Zorro is a heroic character that doesn’t rely on superpowers, but rather his skills and intelligence. Often compared to the Lone Ranger and Batman, it’s clear to see why people are drawn to Zorro. Another fact that draws me back to the series and keeps me interested is how most of the episodes manage to approach the new situations Zorro finds himself in an original and clever way that still stands up nicely today. The series remains consistently entertaining with humor, romance, suspense, action and drama.

Episodes (Season One): 1. 1- 1 10 Oct 57 Presenting Senor Zorro
2. 1- 2 17 Oct 57 Zorro's Secret Passage
3. 1- 3 24 Oct 57 Zorro Rides to the Mission
4. 1- 4 31 Oct 57 The Ghost of the Mission
5. 1- 5 7 Nov 57 Zorro's Romance
6. 1- 6 14 Nov 57 Zorro Saves a Friend
7. 1- 7 21 Nov 57 Monastario Sets a Trap
8. 1- 8 28 Nov 57 Zorro's Ride into Terror
9. 1- 9 5 Dec 57 A Fair Trial
10. 1-10 12 Dec 57 Garcia's Secret Mission
11. 1-11 19 Dec 57 Double Trouble for Zorro
12. 1-12 26 Dec 57 Zorro, Luckiest Swordsman Alive
13. 1-13 2 Jan 58 The Fall of Monastario
14. 1-14 9 Jan 58 Shadow of Doubt
15. 1-15 16 Jan 58 Garcia Stands Accused
16. 1-16 23 Jan 58 Slaves of the Eagle
17. 1-17 30 Jan 58 Sweet Face of Danger
18. 1-18 6 Feb 58 Zorro Fights His Father
19. 1-19 13 Feb 58 Death Stacks the Deck
20. 1-20 20 Feb 58 Agent Of The Eagle
21. 1-21 27 Feb 58 Zorro Springs a Trap
22. 1-22 6 Mar 58 The Unmasking of Zorro
23. 1-23 13 Mar 58 The Secret of the Sierra
24. 1-2 20 Mar 58 The New Commandante
25. 1-5 27 Mar 58 The Fox and the Coyote
26. 1-26 3 Apr 58 Adios, Senor Magistrado
27. 1-27 10 Apr 58 The Eagle's Brood
28. 1-28 17 Apr 58 Zorro by Proxy
29. 1-29 24 Apr 58 Quintana Makes a Choice
30. 1-30 1 May 58 Zorro Lights a Fuse
31. 1-31 8 May 58 The Man with the Whip
32. 1-32 15 May 58 The Cross of the Andes
33. 1-33 22 May 58 The Deadly Bolas
34. 1-34 29 May 58 The Well of Death
35. 1-35 5 Jun 58 The Tightening Noose
36. 1-36 12 Jun 58 The Sergeant Regrets
37. 1-37 19 Jun 58 The Eagle Leaves the Nest
38. 1-38 26 Jun 58 Bernardo Faces Death
39. 1-39 3 Jul 58 The Eagle's Flight

Episodes (Season Two): 40. 2- 1 9 Oct 58 Welcome to Monterey
41. 2- 2 16 Oct 58 Zorro Rides Alone
42. 2- 3 23 Oct 58 Horse of Another Color
43. 2- 4 30 Oct 58 The Senorita Makes a Choice
44. 2- 5 6 Nov 58 Rendezvous at Sundown
45. 2- 6 13 Nov 58 The New Order
46. 2- 7 20 Nov 58 An Eye for an Eye
47. 2- 8 27 Nov 58 Zorro and the Flag of Truce
48. 2- 9 4 Dec 58 Ambush
49. 2-10 11 Dec 58 The Practical Joker
50. 2-11 18 Dec 58 The Flaming Arrow
51. 2-12 25 Dec 58 Zorro Fights a Duel
52. 2-13 1 Jan 59 Amnesty for Zorro
53. 2-14 8 Jan 59 The Runaways
54. 2-15 15 Jan 59 The Iron Box
55. 2-16 22 Jan 59 The Gay Caballero
56. 2-17 29 Jan 59 Tornado Is Missing
57. 2-18 5 Feb 59 Zorro Versus Cupid
58. 2-19 12 Feb 59 The Legend of Zorro
59. 2-20 19 Feb 59 Spark of Revenge
60. 2-21 26 Feb 59 The Missing Father
61. 2-22 5 Mar 59 Please Believe Me
62. 2-23 12 Mar 59 The Brooch
63. 2-24 19 Mar 59 Zorro and the Mountain Man
64. 2-25 26 Mar 59 The Hound of the Sierras
65. 2-26 2 Apr 59 Manhunt
66. 2-27 9 Apr 59 The Man from Spain
67. 2-28 16 Apr 59 Treasure for the King
68. 2-29 23 Apr 59 Exposing the Tyrant
69. 2-30 30 Apr 59 Zorro Takes a Dare
70. 2-31 7 May 59 An Affair of Honor
71. 2-32 14 May 59 The Sergeant Sees Red
72. 2-33 21 May 59 Invitation to Death
73. 2-34 28 May 59 The Captain Regrets
74. 2-35 4 Jun 59 Masquerade for Murder
75. 2-36 11 Jun 59 Long Live the Governor
76. 2-37 18 Jun 59 The Fortune Teller
77. 2-38 25 Jun 59 Senor China Boy
78. 2-39 2 Jul 59 Finders Keepers


VIDEO: Episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio by Disney. Image quality is quite pleasing, as while the series certainly does show some age at times, the episodes appear to have been given excellent treatment. Sharpness and detail are unremarkable, although considering the material, the picture probably appears as crisp as one could hope for.

Some minor wear and tear was seen on the elements, but the majority of the running time looked clean and well-preserved. No instances of edge enhancement or pixelation were seen. Overall, fans should be very pleased with this transfer.

SOUND: The mono soundtrack offered quality in-line with what one might expect from a soundtrack from this era. While somewhat thin, the audio quality was otherwise pleasing.

EXTRAS: On the Season One DVD Set:

“The Life and Legend of Zorro” - A decent look at the history of “Zorro” from its beginning in a pulp magazine in 1919, to the first film where Douglas Fairbanks Sr. played the role in “The Mark of Zorro”, and ultimately the transition to television as a series. An interesting fact pointed out is that each episode cost approx. $78,000 in order to get a near film-look to the series. The feature focuses more on the television series than the other projects, which fans of the show should enjoy, especially given the interviews and archive photos/footage.

Excerpt from “The Fourth Anniversary Show” - airing about a month before “Zorro” premiered, Walt Disney sits with the Mouseketeers and tells them about Zorro. It’s a promo for the series that plays well with an appearance from Guy Williams as Zorro.

Also included on the season one DVD treasures set is “Zorro: El Bandido- Part 1” and “Zorro: Adios El Cuchillo-Part 2”, that appeared on “Walt Disney Presents” a year after the series went off the air.

On the Season Two DVD set:

“Behind the Mask”: a look at Guy Williams who played Zorro as well as a look at Buddy Van Horn, the stunt double for Williams. The feature includes interviews with Williams’ son and those who worked with both Williams and Van Horn. Some interesting facts are shared here, including how Williams was taking up fencing to heal his broken arm when the call to audition for “Zorro” came through. This is a nice retrospective of the character Zorro, and the men who helped bring him to life. Definitely worth a look for fans of the series.

“A Trip to the Archives” -Film Historian Leonard Maltin visit’s the Walt Disney Archive to meet with Guy Williams Jr. to talk about and look at several of the costumes worn in the series, as well as “Zorro” merchandise.

Also included on the season two DVD treasures set is “Zorro: The Postponed Wedding” and “Zorro: Auld Acquaintance” that appeared on “Walt Disney Presents”.

Included on both sets, Film Historian, Leonard Maltin introduces the series in what is an interesting and informative look at the character and series, “Zorro”.

Each DVD Treasures set of Zorro includes a collectible pin, limited-edition lithograph and certificate of authenticity.

Final Thoughts: Zorro is a heroic character that doesn’t rely on superpowers, but rather his skills and intelligence. With adventure, humor, and suspense, “Zorro” rarely disappoints and provides consistently entertaining plots and incredible performances. Recommended.

DVD Information

Disney Home Entertainment
6-DVD Set (Both)
Subtitles: English
Rated NR
975 minutes (Season 1)
945 minutes (Season 2)
Dual Layer:Yes
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