Main Menu Audio
Scene Selection Animation
|Year Of Production||1974|
|Running Time||83:58 (Case: 120)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Duccio Tessari|
Select Audio-Visual Distrib
Giacono Rossi Stuart
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
From what I could tell, Diego (the popular French actor Alain Delon) assumes the legendary role of Zorro in order to depose the rule of the vicious Colonel Huerta (Stanley Baker). He does this heroic turn to honour the dying wish of the freshly assassinated Governor Fernando, who wants tranquility restored to the land. With the help of Joaquin (Enzo Cerusico, in an Academy Award-losing performance), a young mute who communicates like a chimpanzee, the unassuming Diego manages to undermine the Colonel's offices by pretending to be the ineffectual, mincing replacement Governor. Further disguised as Zorro, Diego thwarts the Colonel's operations until they meet in the inevitable showdown. Along the way, 'Zorro' wins the heart of the resident village babe Hortensia (the sultry but wooden Ottavia Piccolo), and pits his fighting prowess against the Colonel's bully boys, chief amongst them being Sergeant Garcia (Moustache), the kind of ugly brute who appears to have been spawned from the shallow end of the gene pool. After much swordplay and frivolity, Zorro wins the day and peace reigns once more.
Apart from a handful of amusing action sequences, the best being Zorro's Jackie Chanesque assault on the Colonel's soldiers in the village shopping district, the movie offers little to videophiles with access to a marketplace saturated by far better choices. What, for instance, is one meant to make of a scene in which a doberman opens a secret passage in a wall for Diego? Or the lame attempt at comic relief as a guard repeatedly attempts to blow a horn? If Avenue One had put more effort and dollars into this DVD, the end result could have been a marvellous addition to the pantheon of fully restored European curiosities emanating from the US. Instead, we are left with an embarrassment that winds the clock back to the bad old days of Force Video's early excuses for DVD product.
Sharpness is wanting. The best that could be said about the poor level of detail is that it would look better here than on VHS. The fact that the image has been zoomed, possibly to hide frame damage, does not help matters. Shadow detail is virtually absent, with either smudges of black soot in its place, or soupy grey dishwater where there should be darkness.
Colours have faded from this print, sometimes to the stage where the image is monochromatic. At times there appears to be a greenish tint, while at others the balance is all over the place. Skin tones are generally okay, mainly because the sepia-toned photography just happens to favour warm fleshy colours.
The source for this transfer is a release print that looks like it was dragged behind a car on the way to the telecine facility. Scratches, grit, jumps, wobble, alignment circles, excessive grain, and print deterioration spoil every frame of this movie. The compression job did not help either, with motion artefacts running riot on almost every panning shot.
Dialogue is difficult to discern at times due to a combination of a poor original recording job, lousy dubbing, frequently out of sync audio, and distortion.
Sung by Oliver Onions, the main theme song, which goes "Here's to being free, la, la-la, la, oh Zorro's back...", is repeated about a dozen times to accompany what I called 'Zorro moments': fighting soldiers, scheming, making a triumphant get-away on horseback to the cheers of the oppressed villagers, and so forth. I fear to say that it has grown on me, like a wart. Other appropriately Latin guitar music by Guido Deangelis also punctuates various scenes. Like the sound effects and dialogue, it too is in a pretty sad state.
The subwoofer and surrounds don't get a look in.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is dreadful and the mono audio is barely serviceable. The paucity of extras makes this release from Avenue One completely useless for anything beyond a rental for Zorro and Italian cinema completists. Alas, an opportunity to release a definitive transfer of the film for posterity, as Anchor Bay and Image have done for other Italian titles, has gone begging. The only commendable aspect to this DVD is the menu authoring by BPS Video Services.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-737, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Ergo (81cm). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder.|
|Amplification||Arcam AV50 5 x 50W amplifier|
|Speakers||Front: ALR/Jordan Entry 5M, Centre: ALR/Jordan 4M, Rear: ALR/Jordan Entry 2M, Subwoofer: B&W ASW-1000 (active)|