If you've never seen The Mark of Zorro, you should be watching it now (not reading this blog). It's splendid. Based on a story by Johnston McCulley (this AFI catalog entry talks about the legal status of the character), it had been previously filmed as a highly regarded silent film, with Douglas Fairbanks in the lead. Since then, it has been revived as two television series (starring Guy Williams and Duncan Regehr), several films, (including two with Antonio Banderas in which he portrayed the protege of the "original" Zorro, Anthony Hopkins), one with Frank Langella, and a spoof with George Hamilton. The story of Zorro has also been reused - most notably in the character of Batman - Bob Kane has been quoted as crediting the Fairbanks Zorro as the inspiration for his character.
TCM articles) ceded some of his action to his double (the son of film's fencing master Fred Cavens), the effect is unnoticeable in the finished product, in part because of Rathbone's expertise.
Rathbone is high on my list of favorite actors. The man can do anything - from villain to hero, from Richard III to Sherlock Holmes. Though he started in silent films in 1926, it's hard to imagine that magnificent voice silent. We've viewed a number of his films - one of my personal favorites is Confession, in which he has a very small, but crucial part as the evil seducer of women. He's probably best remembered today for his 12 appearances as Sherlock Holmes (thirteen, if you count a cameo in Crazy House), but he is so much more than the one part - he could do Shakespeare and Dickens; comedy and tragedy. Rathbone was an actor's actor, with a body of work that consistently demonstrates excellence. He was nominated for the Oscar twice, both in the Supporting Actor category (for Romeo and Juliet (1937) and If I Were King (1939)). He won a Tony Award for his performance on Broadway in The Heiress; he also toured in a one-man show An Evening with Basil Rathbone. He married twice - to Ethel Marion Foreman (they divorced after 12 years) and then to Ouida Bergère, to whom he was married for 41 years, until his death at age 75.
I don't usually include scenes with spoilers, but this duel between Don Diego and Captain Estaban is one of the best on screen. If you've not seen the movie, get hold of it asap. You'll love it.