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Revel In The Very UN-PC ‘Zorro: The Gay Blade’

As we’ve mentioned before, there are very few Latino superheroes out there. However, we can say that we had one of the first: Zorro. The masked man who fights against the evil Spanish governor in colonial California is the prototype for everyone from Batman to Spiderman. There have been many Zorros in film and on TV over the years. He was first played by Douglas Fairbanks in 1920, and most recently in the telenovela Zorro: La Espada y La Rosa by Christian Meier. They are all great and all, but the best one thus far is George Hamilton in the campy classic Zorro: The Gay Blade.

Released in 1981, Zorro: The Gay Blade is a parody of the Zorro legend. George Hamilton and his cancer-mocking tan star as Don Diego De La Vega, the arrogant and sexy son of a rich landowner in colonial California. He returns from studying in Spain to find that his father has died and that his father’s post as alcalde has been taken by his childhood friend Esteban, played by Tony award-winning actor Ron Leibman. He performs the roll by screaming like an asthmatic chihuahua on crack for the entire movie. Diego finds out that his dad was secretly El Zorro, and that it has now fallen to him to take up the mask to fight “injoostices”. Unfortunately, he breaks his leg after his first outing. Luckily, his twin brother Bunny Wigglesworth, who is both inexplicably British and gay, shows up to take over. Bunny sets about giving Zorro a makeover, with flashy costumes and flamboyant style. All the while Diego is trying to woo an American missionary played by Lauren Hutton. Because in 1981 having extremely gapped teeth and a jacked up grill was obviously all kinds of hot.

Everything about this movie is excessive. The accents are purposefully ridiculous, the acting is unbelievable, and the costumes are insane. This is what makes it fun, though. It’s like a dessert that’s too rich but you eat it anyway because it’s damn tasty. The irony is that in making a parody, Zorro: The Gay Blade only enriched the Zorro legend (very much like what the original Casino Royale did to the James Bond series). It reminds us that the legend shouldn’t be taken too seriously, and subsequent Zorros have had a tongue-in-cheek quality to them. Plus, George Hamilton’s tan really is stunning. Seriously, it reminds us of the sheen that comes off the crispy skin of a pig that’s been roasting for 14 hours.

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