First off, I should probably disabuse you of the notion that at some point during this film Zorro will be swinging from the curtains in Buckingham Palace and carving a “Z” on the Queen of England’s royal backside.
Zorro is in the Court of England only in the sense that he happens to be shacked up with his manservant Pedrito in the English colony of Bermuda. How he got there all the way from California and why he is surrounded by peasants with Spanish sounding names who are played by Italians is one of those questions best left for director Franco Montemurro. Forty percent of Franco’s five film directing output consists of Zorro movies, so he ought to know, right?
This particular Zorro film plays out precisely as you would expect with evil governor Basil Ruthford harassing local folks and Zorro in turn harassing him.
For instance Ruthford sets up an execution and Zorro saves the condemned from the hangman’s rope. And when Ruthford sentences a guy to a life time of hard labor in the mines Zorro invades the palace to set him free. It’s the usual “guy in a costume outwits the dimwits in government” stuff.
But it’s not like Zorro is just some proto Delta Force guy who hits you fast and hard and gets out before you know what happened. He actually announces to everyone at a party in the palace that he’s going to show up the next day and break the guy out of prison! Even you liberals who support a totalitarian regime intent on taxing its citizens into oblivion have to cringe at how inept Ruthford and his even more inept military man, Captain Wells are! Allowing a populist superhero to call his shot in your own seat of power never ends well!
And it doesn’t end well for Ruthford, but not because of Zorro. As is usually the case in life, Ruthford is ultimately undone by a jealous woman. A tip for all you would-be tin horn dictators of banana republics: while the local idealistic freedom fighter might have enough honor to fight you man to man with swords drawn, your ex-girlfriend will probably just shoot you dead in the guts once she discovers you traded her in for a newer model.
Ruthford’s girl trouble starts in far off England when word reaches the Queen that things in Bermuda are in the shitter because of unjust sentences, high taxes, and guys in black capes mincing around government buildings. The Queen sends an envoy to check up on things and report back to her. Lord Percy Moore (a singularly unattractive man) volunteers and takes his niece Patricia (a singularly hot babe) with him.
Moore isn’t going to Bermuda to help out the Queen though. He’s managed to squander all of his niece’s and nephew’s money and needs a place to bug out to until the heat dies down. He also is old friends with the governor so he surely figures that some kind of sweet deal can be worked out regarding his financial problems and the governor’s problem of needing Moore to deliver a favorable report to the Queen.
Despite the near constant one man invasions by Zorro, Ruthford finds time to hold balls, lust after Patricia and reach an agreement with Lord Moore to marry Patricia without receiving any sort of dowry while Lord Moore will deliver a bogus report on how awesome Ruthford is doing as governor. It’s all the more silly when the situation in Bermuda is so bad that the governor has to sneak off to some far away convent to marry Patricia without Zorro showing up to ruin things!
But guess who shows up at the last minute right as the ceremony is being performed doing his impression of The Graduate? Except about ten times cooler because he objects to the marriage with his sword!
First he dispatches Captain Wells and then dramatically takes his fight with the governor himself outside (Zorro declares that the governor is not fit to be in the church!) before the governor’s spurned old lady shows up to finish the job.
All’s well that ends well though as honest officials finally arrive from England declaring Zorro to be the new governor while Zorro gets to make out with Patricia, leaving her to no doubt wonder “who was that masked man in my panties?”
Colorful and fun, Zorro in the Court of England has a fair amount of action and delivers on the sword fighting and guys getting their face carved with a bloody Z just like all you Zorro Zombies demand! Though Zorro comes off as a bit of a suck up to English rule (he’s not opposed to being ruled by the English only to the nasty governor), I didn’t mind that much, mainly because I’m not from Bermuda.
Some humorous touches including snide comments by Zorro’s pacifist alter ego about Captain Well’s scarred face as well as amusing bits of physical comedy (Zorro tumbling down a hillside and hiding in a haystack as well as literally pulling the rug out from under Wells) make this Italian take on the Spanish-American character inexplicably set in an English colony a slashing success!
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