- Movie Rating -

Zorro the Gay Blade (1981)

| July 17, 1981

There are a lot of things working against Zorro the Gay Blade, but I think where it fails first and foremost is that nobody ever really has an idea of what kind of comedy this should be.  It’s a parody, obviously, of all those Zorro movies of yesteryear, of the swashbuckling savoir who, like Robin Hood, becomes the masked hero who fights for the little guy, defeating those who would oppress and deny freedom to the huddled masses.

Yet, to make it a comedy requires that you take it seriously, and that’s something that this movie fails to do.  Zorro in this movie is a clown, a bumbling braggart who makes a fool of himself one minute and can play cool and collected the next.  That he is played by George Hamilton helps you understand why.  Hamilton is not a subtle actor and his comedy is always up front.  Despite his energy and good will, you can always see him trying to be funny.  That’s fatal to comedy because we never sense that he believes that he is really Zorro.

The story is kind of standard issue.  This Zorro is Diego, who is handed the legendary mask from his father – the real Zorro.  But after an injury, he is forced to then hand the mantel over to his long-lost twin brother Ramon, a gay caballero named Bunny Wigglesworth, also played by Hamilton.  Of course, there’s the standard issue weathly tyrant who needs to be brought to his knees.  He is Esteban, a landowner played in a fit of overacting by Ron Liebman.

The pieces are in place but the movie never really finds a genuine laugh, mostly because the movie is kidding the entire Zorro enterprise but never grounds it in any kind of reality.  We know at all times that we are watching a parody, a sideshow attraction that never convinces us that we should care.  I think it wants to do for Zorro what Airplane did for disaster movies, but there is too much clowning around and no place to plant your feet.

I was disappointed when this movie ended.  I smiled twice and sort of laughed once.  I don’t know what the thinking was here.  It has lots of energy but I always suspected that it was aimed in the wrong direction.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1981) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized