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Tyrone Power Westerns continued … The Mark of Zorro (1940) Part 4

17 Jul
ZORRO / Evivva

The Mark of Zorro (1940)

On most any Saturday, in 1954, myself and my 3 older brothers, would each be given a Quarter (25 cents!) and off we’d go to the Saturday Matinee at the local Movie Theatre (in Mission, British Columbia). A Quarter would get us in plus buy a bag of popcorn and a pop! Amazing!

In those days kids could walk around freely, with no fear. We never locked our doors. Never had to. Churches were open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

That was a different time. Not so long ago.

I was 6 years old

Then we’d breathlessly watch our Heroes of the day!

 14 years earlier, in 1940 – Tyrone Power had Starred in The Mark of Zorro.
I don’t recall seeing this movie until TCM showed it recently.
I loved it.

Tyrone Power – The Mark of Zorro (1940)

Obviously there is a Colorized version of The Mark of Zorro (1940).
Haven’t seen that one yet.

Basil Rathbone – The Mark of Zorro 1940

Linda Darnell was ‘Sweet 17’ when she Starred in The Mark of Zorro.

On the Screen, Gale Sondergaard was billed 4th. 

Reviews

Ratings were pretty high – for both Critics and the Public.

Upcoming:

Basil Rathbone ! Prince of FIends !

Tyrone Power Westerns continued … The Mark of Zorro (1940) Part 3 / Zorro Anomalies?

11 Jul
Fernando / Abba

The Mark of Zorro (1940)
Zorro Anomalies?

If I said to you that Zorro never used a gun, but only a Sword (rapier) and his Bullwhip,
would you challenge that?

Probably not.

And if I also said that Zorro only uses his famous black Eye Mask for his disguise,
would you disagree?

Likely not.

BUT …
… in The Mark of Zorro (1940) we see transgressions to both of these modern images of Zorro persona!

Observe:

Zorro pulls a pistol!

Zorro wearing a bandana!

Later Zorro uses a pistol again.

But at least he’s wearing the eye mask.

It seems that Zorro’s image has continuously changed and evolved over the years
– from creator (Johnston McCulley) original vision.

Zorro (Douglas Fairbanks Sr.) apparent master of disguise – silent movie (1920)

Guns? Bandanas? Masks? Bullwhips?

The Mark of Zorro (1920) – Douglas Fairbanks Sr.

“What’s all this nonsense about Zorro using a gun?”

Zorro (Fairbanks) using a gun.

Zorro’s Fighting Legion (1939) Movie Serial Starring Reed Hadley
(below)

Zorro using 2 guns.

Zorro using a machine gun !!!

The Mask of Zorro (1998) Starring Antonio Banderas
(below)

You call that a gun?”

Zorro’s Dilemma

I also noticed that in the Mark of Zorro (1940) Zorro doesn’t use a bullwhip?

While Reed Hadley in Zorro’s Fighting Legionserial (1939) surely does.

OK … I’m finding I don’t know much about Zorro!!!
But I’m learning quickly.
It’s all good.

Next:

Tyrone Power Westerns continued …
The Mark of Zorro (1940) Part 4

Tyrone Power Westerns continued … The Mark of Zorro (1940) Part 2 The Posters

9 Jul
The Mask of Zorro Soundtrack

The Mark of Zorro (1940)

The Posters

Since it seems The Mark of Zorro (1940) didn’t have any Trailers/Previews (??)
I searched the net like Sherlock – scouring fansites and archives. Finding none.
I
t looks like they exclusively used Posters instead? *shrug*
And I found over 30 different posters for the Movie!

Yet some were in such bad shape that they escaped any expertise I might possess to recover them. 

I spent 3 days trying to restore all these old posters to their original pristine wonderfulness.
Color was the main issue. Over the years the Posters fade and the former vibrancy of the colors is lost.
Would you make a Zorro poster in dirty, washed-out, dull Reds, for instance?
Nor I! The former Zing and Zest of Zorro had been lost in time …
and befell to me for restore the lost Lustre and Vitality of The Fox!

En Garde !!!


Next:

Tyrone Power Westerns continued …
The Mark of Zorro (1940) Part 3

Tyrone Power Westerns continued … The Mark of Zorro (1940) Part 1

5 Jul
Theme from the Mark of Zorro (1940) by Alfred Newman

The Mark of Zorro (1940)

 Ride With Zorro . . . The Dashing Don Of California’s Most Adventurous Era !
The Jagged Mark of His Sword Struck Terror to Every Heart – But One!

Tyrone Power made 6 Westerns:

And 5 Swashbucklers:

Zorro is unique – categorized as both a Western Hero and a Swashbuckler.
I can think of no other Hero with this distinction.

During the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s Swashbucklers sparred with Westerns for popularity.
In Zorro they found a perfect partnership.

I was unable to locate any Trailer/Preview for The Mark of Zorro (1940).
There must be one somewhere? Maybe not.
I substituted this vignette with the Chordettes singing
the Theme for Disney’s TV version of Zorro.
Not bad.
But I’ll keep looking.

Next:

Tyrone Power Westerns continued …
The Mark of Zorro (1940) Part 2

Jesse James (1939): Blood Brothers / Part 1

16 Apr


the night they drove old Dixie down / Joan Baez / written by Robbie Robertson

“Those who love are never parted.”
– anon

Jesse James (1939)

Young Jesse James

James Family Photo – Jesse James (back row third from the left) next to his first cousin Zerelda “Zee” Mimms who became his wife. 

If there’s a theme that runs through the Jesse James saga,
it’s 
Family and Brotherhood.
Blood.

The James – Younger Gang:

Brothers that rode together:
– Jesse and Frank James
– Cole, Jim, John, and Bob Younger
– Charley Ford and Robert Ford
– Ed Miller and and Clell Miller

James – Younger gang … 1876 edition

Blood Deep / Blood Strong

Back then people stuck together:
‘Right or Wrong’? ‘Law and Order’?
Be damned.
Family is Right. Family is Law.
Clan.
Kin deep.
No bullet could penetrate that.
(Unless it came from within)

No wonder Jesse James seemed so invincible and impossible to catch. And had such a Robin Hood image (that is still intact today)

And why Robert Ford’s betrayal is so unforgivable.

John Carradine

Which brings us to John Carrindine – who played Robert Ford in Jesse James (1939).

Between the 1930’s and he 1990’s John Carradine
appeared in about 230 movies!!!
– not counting TV appearances and TV movies.
That makes him one of the most prolific Actors in Film History.
Not sure how many Westerns he made,
but there would have been a lot.
Several were Western Classics including Stagecoach (1939),
Johnny Guitar (1954) The Kentuckian (1955), The Shootist (1970) …

Between scenes he had time for 4 wives and 5 children,
most of whom also became Actors.

3 of his sons Starred in another Jesse James Western called:

The Long Riders (1980)

Stacy Keatch (center) as Jesse James, David Carradine as Cole Younger (left ), and Randy Quaid as Clell Miller (right).

3 excellent posters

A   Remarkable Cast
of 4 sets of Brothers:

Jesse James (James Keach) and Frank James (Stacy Keach)
Cole Younger (David Carradine), Jim Younger (Keith Carradine) and Bob Younger (Robert Carradine)
Ed Miller (Dennis Quaid) and Clell Miller (Randy Quaid)
Charley Ford (Christopher Guest) and Robert Ford (Nicholas Guest)

Most of these depicted outlaws did ride for the James – Younger gang at one time or another, but the movie takes liberty in putting them all together at the same time. But, like most Jesse James movies, this is not a documentary.
Wikipedia says: “The James-Younger gang … had over 50 different members over the years.”
The actual gang that attempted the ill fated Northfield Bank robbery consisted of of brothers Jesse and Frank James; brothers Bob, Jim, and Cole Younger; Clell Miller; Charlie Pitts; and Bill Stiles.

more coming … 

Jesse James (1939) Continued: The Stunt of Infamy

5 Apr


The Long Riders Soundtrack / Ry Cooder

Jesse James (1939)

A Stunt of Infamy

Have you seen this stunt below? It’s in Jesse James (1939).
It’s one of the most famous movie stunts in Film History.

But not because it’s spectacular. (Though it is)But because of what it stirred up.  You see, the horse died. Panicked and drowned.  The public outrage and outcry was so great
that it led to the creation of:

The American Humane Association

http://www.americanhumane.org/

In 1940, American Humane (AH) became the sole monitoring body for the humane treatment of animals on the sets of Hollywood films and other broadcast productions. American Humane is best known for its trademarked certification “No Animals Were Harmed®”, which appears at the end of film or television credits.

“We are first to serve, wherever animals are in need of rescue, shelter, protection or security. Through our innovative leadership initiatives – from our “No Animals Were Harmed®” program in Hollywood to broad-based farm and conservation animal welfare certifications, to rapid response rescue and care across the country – American Humane sets the gold standard as the most visionary and effective animal welfare organization in the nation.”

Prior to this there were no safety standards for beast – or man – in film stunting.

This changed it all.

Meanwhile … 

Coming to the fore was legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt. He, along with other rodeo performers, brought a battery of rodeo techniques that Canutt would expand and improve upon, including horse falls and safer methods for many kinds of stunts, including gear and techniques for performing and planning stunts, harnesses, cable rigs and protective equipment to make many stunts almost foolproof. Both horses and stuntmen were now trained in stunt schools. Medical support and First Aide became readily available. 

Does that mean stunting is now 100% safe?
Of course not. Stunting is a dangerous by it’s nature.
And although such dangers have been greatly minimized and monitored there will always be occasional incidents/accidents.
Yet it is still vastly improved over what went on before.
Prior to 1939 nobody really seemed to care.

The Jump across Devil’s Gulch

But just where did the idea for the infamous stunt come from?

Presently there’s a bridge across the Gulch

I believe it was likely inspired by another piece of Jesse James lore:
Jesse’s famous jump across Devil’s Gulch.
(Good Grief!! I know that sounds like something from a dime novel or a matinee serial … or something?!)
But it isn’t.

The back story:

The James/Younger Gang’s bank robbery at Northfield, Minnesota was a disaster. When the smoke cleared the Younger brothers were badly wounded and captured. Jesse and Frank James raced out of town with a rabid posse hot on their tail.
The ensuing chase resulted in the legend of
Jesse James: the leap across Devil’s Gulch, South Dakota.
Much disputed.

Many believe the 18 to 20 foot jump is impossible
– or at least pretty unlikely .

I don’t. 

Why?

Ask these questions:

Did Jesse have the chops? the will? the courage? the bravado? the desperation? the horsemanship to pull off such a stunt?

Damn right. On all counts. 

The only question that remains is: did he have the horse to pull it off?
My guess is that Jesse wouldn’t be riding a nag. He was an expert horseman who had performed many robberies and holdups
and would likely have a pretty good steed for getaways.

And with a bloodthirsty posse hot on his trail
desperate times call for desperate measures.
The smell of death is a strong motivator.

I definitely think he would chance such a thing. And could pull it off.
But I’m not saying it really happened.
Just that he could have done it.

Doubt that we’ll ever know.

Tyrone Power / Jesse James / Part 2

29 Mar


1972 / Glendale Train / New Riders of the Purple Sage

Jesse James (1939)


Jesse James was a smash hit and the fourth largest-grossing film of 1939, behind Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and in front of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
That’s a hell of a year for Movies – those are 4 Classics.

A sequel, The Return of Frank James, directed by Fritz Lang and with Henry Fonda reprising his role as Frank James along with a variety of other actors playing the same characters as they had in Jesse James,
was released in 1940.

It seems almost daily that somebody finds another photo
of Jesse James or Billy the Kid.
A lot are fakes or false of course, but even some that
are authentic are so bizarre that you have shake your head.
Like this one with Robert Ford (Jesse assassin)
and Jesse himself seated together.
It’s rather amazing.

And is that a top knot on Jesse’s head?
Seem so.

I wanted to post an authentic Jesse James “Wanted Poster” here,
but I couldn’t identify even one that I can confidence in.

 

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