Combustible Celluloid
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With: Guy Williams, Gene Sheldon, Henry Calvin, Don Diamond, George J. Lewis
Written by: Norman Foster, Bob Wehling, Anthony Ellis, etc., based on characters created by Johnston McCulley
Directed by: Norman Foster, Lewis R. Foster, etc.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 1121
Date: 03/19/2013

Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro: The Complete First Season (1957)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Swords and Masks

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Walt Disney's "Zorro" TV series is quite a bit more daring and exciting than you might expect. It's not scrubbed or homogenized, and it takes into account a certain amount of intelligence on the part of the viewers. Guy Williams plays Don Diego de la Vega, who pretends to be a passive scholar by day, but dons the mask of Zorro at night, to battle corrupt leaders of Spanish California. The show has a great, black-and-white look with lots of gorgeous, exterior photography. (The series' first director was Norman Foster, who had worked with Orson Welles.) Surprisingly enough, the show appears to have a continuing story arc so that viewers needed to tune in each weed to follow along. It has some unfortunate touches though, such as Zorro's mute sidekick Bernardo (Gene Sheldon); the filmmakers sometimes add in goofy sound effects to accompany his hand gestures. But otherwise, this is a rousing, barely dated, undeniably fun adventure series. Disney has released the first two seasons as part of their deluxe "Walt Disney Treasures" box set series, complete with sturdy metal boxes and other goodies.

See also Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro: The Complete Second Season.

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