Thursday, June 17, 2010

100 years, 100 films 11: The Mark of Zorro (1920)

Head over to good ol', and search for 1920's "The Mark of Zorro". Scroll down to the reviews section, click on "see more." Click on the "filter" button, and filter it as "Hated it". There you will find two reviews. One of those reviews describes the movie as "outstanding" (but incongruously gives the film just six stars). The other review describes the film as "well done" and "enjoyable". It gives the film seven stars.

Now see if you can find any other film on where the worst reviews call the film "outstanding" or even "well done" and "enjoable". It's pretty much impossible. Casablanca? Nope. Apparently that's a tedious pile of shit. Citizen Kane? Nope. Apparently there's some retards in the world who had to turn the film off after half an hour. Singin' in the Rain? Nope. Apparently that film is stupid and annoying. The Errol Flynn version of The Adventures of Robin Hood? Nope. Apparently that film is incredibly lame (although, bizarrely, the first review to come up claims that it is a "really good movie", but gives it three out of ten anyway.)

I spent quite a long time being baffled by people's taste in films (seriously who hates The Band Wagon? Or Annie Hall? Or High Fidelity? Or goddammit who the hell hates The Princess Bride?) and I could only find one other movie that had no real negative reviews. That movie was Harold Lloyd's excellent Safety Last, and even then the first review to come up under the "Hated it" section describes it as reasonable, but underwhelming. Even the two other Zorro adaptations that anybody cares about, The Mark of Zorro remake with Tyrone Power, and Antonio Banderas' The Mask Of Zorro, have negative reviews.

My point here, is that I think it is actually physically impossible to dislike this movie. Sure, you can quibble with it. You can claim that such and such an actor was a bit hammy, or that the blabadee bloo scene dragged for a bit longer than necessary. Or that Douglas Fairbanks has a weird frog face, and was overplaying his 'fop' scenes like crazy.

I'm not saying that this is the greatest movie ever made or anything, because it really isn't. It isn't really even a great film at all. But it is a good film, and one I think it's physically impossible not to enjoy.

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