The Mark of Zorro (1920, Fred Niblo)

Douglas Fairbanks is the proto-Batman title character, a rich property owner’s dullard son by day, masked avenger of the poor locals by night. He even has a batcave beneath the mansion, but of course no batmobile because Zorro rides a horse. As “Don Diego,” he bores the lovely Lolita and shames his father, performing handkerchief tricks and playing with shadow puppets – but as Zorro he kicks the asses of oppressors who would beat the natives and over-tax the whites. I liked the swordplay and acrobatics, but I admit I also liked the shadow puppets.

The first of at least thirty Zorro movies. Fairbanks was transitioning from comic hero to action star, would somewhat reprise his role in Son of Zorro five years later. Niblo was probably best-known for directing the original Ben-Hur. Very good live organ score at the Fox.

preceded by…
Three For Breakfast (1948, Jack Hannah)
An uncensored vintage Disney cartoon complete with culturally-insensitive Asian caricatures. Donald sees his pancakes stolen by Chip ‘n Dale (chattery, but with no actual dialogue), cooks up a rubber-cement pancake to thwart them, but fails, gets brutally beaten for refusing to share his meal with home intruders.

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