October 4, 1994
THE LEGEND OF ZORRO
Screenplay by Ted Elliot & Terry Rossio
Synopsis by Brian Aldrich
Long ago in Alta California (1840's), the masked defender, ZORRO, is the hero of the people. Behind the mask, he is a prosperous gentleman, DIEGO DE LA VEGA, married to ESPERANZA and father of ELENA, a baby girl. When VICEROY MONTERO wants to execute some peasants, Zorro frees them and wounds Montero with a "Z" scar. Young ALEJANDRO & JOAQUIN MURIETTA help Zorro escape and he gives them a signature medallion. Montero has always believed Diego to be Zorro, so before Montero leaves for Spain, he kills Esperanza, kidnaps Elena, burns down the hacienda, and imprisons Diego in the dungeons. He takes off for Spain with Elena.
Twenty years later, the Murietta brothers and THREE-FINGERED JAKE are famous rebels and desperadoes. Montero returns from Spain with Elena whom he has raised as his daughter. She is beautiful and completely ignorant of her true parents. Montero checks the dungeons for Diego, but not finding him, considers him dead. However, Diego sees Montero. Diego is an old, bitter, crippled man, but he is still "Zorro" and he escapes. Montero meets with all the rich men and proposes a plan to purchase Alta California from Mexico before the United States conquers it. SANTA ANNA is due to arrive to negotiate with Montero. Joaquin is killed by CAPTAIN LOVE, a soldier interested in Elena. Jake is imprisoned. Alejando joins up with Diego. Diego will teach Al how to swordfight and Al will help Diego kill Montero.
After being trained, Al poses as Zorro to steal gold from Montero. He also poses as a Spanish gentleman and Diego as his servant. Elena is attracted to Al and Captain Love is jealous. Eventually, Al finds out Montero has a secret gold mine, a bunch of slaves (including Jake), and ambitions to become EMPEROR of California and Mexico. Zorro tells Santa Anna. Before Montero can hide his gold mine by blowing it (and the slaves) up, Al saves the slaves and kills Captain Love. Elena finds out the truth and kills Montero to save Diego's life. Diego is reunited with his daughter and California is safe for someone else's exploitation.
Summary Criticism: While the politics are not clear enough, this script is excellently-crafted. The characters are compelling and the plot is engrossing.
The Mask of Zorro (1998) - imdb
The Mask of Zorro (1998) - wiki