Zorro the Gay Blade,
directed by Peter Medak
(20th Century Fox, 1981)

Zorro has thrilled moviegoers since the 1920 silent original titled The Mark of Zorro, but we have never seen him like this. Zorro the Gay Blade puts a hilarious spin on one of the movie industry's first heroes.

Diego Vega (George Hamilton) is summoned home from Spain after his father's death. He inherits the secret identity and trappings of Zorro, but in his arrogance, he falls off a balcony and injures his leg during his first raid on the Alcalde, Spanish Captain Esteban (Ron Liebman).

Poor Diego. Surely his father never had problems like these. His childhood amigo and rival, Esteban, is hot on his trail. Esteban's wife, Florinda (Brenda Vaccaro), is also hot on his trail, but in a dramatically different way. She is also much closer to catching him. He is falling in love with the rebellion-instigating Charlotte Taylor Wilson (Lauren Hutton). And his faithful servant and sidekick, Paco (Donovan Scott), is mute.

Luckily, Diego's twin, Ramone, arrives on leave from the Navy. He has changed his name legally to Bunny Wigglesworth and is proudly and openly gay. His only skill is with a whip, but he agrees to put that to use for the people. However, there must be some changes. The outfit definitely needs color. If he is going to be Zorro, then he intends for the world to know "Zorro the Gay Blade."

What a cast! Here is acting at its finest. George Hamilton has the perfect opportunity to demonstrate his acting versatility and skill. He rises to the occasion and takes the dual role over the top. Liebman and Vaccaro match him tit for tat with exuberance and excellence. Hutton and Scott fill the supporting roles equally well.

This movie is a laugh a minute. The action is exhilarating. The swords and whips will keep you flinching and gasping. Your head will ache as you watch Hutton pounding soldiers with her parasol.

The costumes and sets are lavish for the wealthy, but pitiful for the peasants. The whole film is a visual treat. The camera work is fine and the musical score appropriate.

The one thing this movie could have used more of was the stunts. What it has are excellent, but Zorro fans never get enough.

If you like comedy or action, you need to see Zorro the Gay Blade. You will laugh yourself silly.

review by
Alicia Karen Elkins

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