'Don Q, Son of Zorro' (1925) on Friday, May 18 in Concord, N.H.
It wasn't planned this way. But sometimes the best plan is no plan at all!
Consider: On Thursday, May 17, we're screening 'The Mark of Zorro' (1920) at the Flying Monkey in Plymouth, N.H. Then, on Friday, May 18, we're running the sequel, 'Don Q, Son of Zorro' (1925), in Concord, N.H.
Why, Zorro himself could not have timed it better!
It's actually a total coincidence — 'The Mark of Zorro' in Plymouth was planned a long time ago, while the screening of 'Don Q, Son of Zorro' was just scheduled in Concord as a last-minute attraction. Still, it's a rare chance to see both movies (the original and the sequel) as they were intended: in a theater, with live music, and with an audience.
And back to back, or nearly so!
Actually, last year I did schedule both the original 'Zorro' and the sequel as one double feature in Wilton, N.H. But it turned out the program would have run nearly four hours long, so we had to change to just 'The Mark of Zorro' and then run 'Don Q, Son of Zorro' a year later. (Which we just did.)
And I just thought of something. Until recently, we had a restaurant in our part of the world that went by the simple name of 'Z.' Talk about your sponsorship opportunities!)
Well, restaurant sponsorships or not, it's a good time for the Douglas Fairbanks 'Zorro' films, as Fairbanks was used a model for the George Valentin character in the recent Oscar-winning silent film 'The Artist,' so there's been a bump in interest in him.
But the 'Zorro' films, and really just about any other Fairbanks picture, remain some of the most popular pictures from the silent era. No matter how much time passes or how different life may become, something in Doug's pictures still works with audiences.
See for yourself by taking in a screening of 'The Mark of Zorro' (1920) on Thursday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center, 39 South Main St., Plymouth, N.H. General admission $10 per person. And then follow it with 'Don Q, Son of Zorro' (1925) on Friday, May 18 at 7 p.m. at the Red River Theatres, 11 South Main St., Concord, N.H. General admission is also $10 here.
Both screenings will be accompanied by live music by yours truly. Here are the back-to-back press releases.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 9, 2012 — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more info, contact: Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Original 'Zorro' to screen with live music in Plymouth, N.H. on Thursday, May 17Silent adventure epic starring Douglas Fairbanks to be shown at Flying Monkey
PLYMOUTH, N.H.—It was the original swashbuckling blockbuster—the film that first brought 'Zorro' to the big screen, and also turned actor Douglas Fairbanks into Hollywood's first-ever action hero. 'The Mark of Zorro' (1920) will once again fill the silver screen, accompanied by live music on Thursday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center in Plymouth, N.H. Admission is $10 per person.
'The Mark of Zorro,' a major hit when first released, tells the story of young Don Diego Vega, the outwardly timid son of a wealthy ranch owner in Spanish California of the early 19th century. Witnessing the mistreatment of the poor by rich landowners and the oppressive colonial government, Don Diego assumes the identity of "Señor Zorro," a masked figure of great cunning and skill, and vows to bring justice to the region. As Zorro, he also woos the beautiful Lolita Pulido, a woman who is distinctly unimpressed with Don Diego, but who is captivated by the masked swordsman.
The film stars Douglas Fairbanks Sr., who until 'Zorro' had focused on playing traditional all-American leading roles in romantic comedies. The success of 'Zorro' launched Fairbanks on a series of historical adventure films that went on to rank among the most popular spectacles of the silent era, including 'The Three Musketeers' (1921), 'Robin Hood' (1922), 'The Thief of Bagdad' (1924), and 'The Black Pirate' (1926). The original 'Zorro' film was so popular it inspired one of Hollywood's first big-budget sequels, 'Don Q, Son of Zorro' (1925), also starring Fairbanks.
Fairbanks, one of the silent screen's most popular leading men, was the inspiration of the character George Valentin in 'The Artist,' the recent Oscar-winning Best Picture.
Critics have praised 'The Mark of Zorro' for its tight story, fast pace, and many exciting action sequences, which include numerous stunts performed by Fairbanks himself. Steven D. Greydanus of the Decent Films Guide wrote that the silent Zorro "...contains some of the most jaw-dropping stunts I’ve ever seen this side of Jackie Chan." Film writer Leonard Maltin described 'Zorro' as a "silent classic with Fairbanks as the masked hero...perhaps Doug's best film...nonstop fun!"
This genre-defining swashbuckler was the first movie version of the Zorro legend. The film was based on the 1919 story "The Curse of Capistrano" by Johnston McCulley, which introduced Zorro. The screenplay was adapted by Fairbanks under the pseudonym "Elton Thomas" and Eugene Miller. The story has since been remade and adapted many times, most recently in 1998 as 'The Mask of Zorro' starring Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas.
'The Mark of Zorro' was the first film released by the newly formed United Artists studio, formed in 1920 by Fairbanks with fellow silent film superstars Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and director D.W. Griffith. The silent version of 'Zorro' also played a key role in the formation of the DC Comics Batman character; in the original 1939 story, a young Bruce Wayne sees 'Zorro' on the same night that his parents are later murdered, which leads him to adopt Zorro's mask and cape as a basis for his own transformation into 'Batman.'
The May 17 screening of 'The Mark of Zorro' will be accompanied by an original score created and performed live by New Hampshire silent film musician Jeff Rapsis. Rapsis achieves a traditional "movie score" sound for silent film screenings by using a digital synthesizer to reproduce the texture of the full orchestra.
'The Mark of Zorro' will be screened on Thursday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Moviehouse and Performance Center, 39 South Main St., Plymouth, N.H. For more information, visit www.flyingmonkeynh.com or call (603) 536-2551.
FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2012 / FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more info, contact: Jeff Rapsis • (603) 236-9237 • email@example.com
Sequel 'Son of Zorro' to screen with live music in Concord, N.H. on Friday, May 18Silent adventure epic to be shown at Red River Theatres after 'Mark of Zorro' sell-out last week
CONCORD, N.H.—See Hollywood's first-ever big budget sequel! Following the huge success of 'The Mask of Zorro' (1920), silent-era superstar Douglas Fairbanks returned in 'Don Q, Son of Zorro' (1925), in which he played both the sword-brandishing avenger of injustice AND his whip-wielding son. 'Don Q, Son of Zorro,' widely regarded as one of the best action pictures of its time, will be screened with live music on Friday, May 18 at 7 p.m. at Red River Theatres in Concord, N.H. Admission is $10 per person.
The showing of 'Don Q, Son of Zorro' at Red River was arranged following a sold-out screening of 'The Mark of Zorro' earlier this month to mark Cinco de Mayo. After the strong audience reaction to the original 'Zorro,' Red River officials programmed the 'Don Q, Son of Zorro' sequel so audiences could see how the story continues.
Douglas Fairbanks, an immensely popular star whose career peaked in the 1920s, served as the model for the George Valentin character in 'The Artist,' the recent silent film that recently won multiple Academy Awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture.
In 'Son of Zorro,' Fairbanks plays Don Cesar de Vega, Zorro's grown son, a prodigy with the whip who is visiting the family's Spanish homeland to finish his education. It's anything but a dull semsester abroad: Cesar duels with Don Sebastian of the Queen's Guard (soon to be his rival for the hand of lovely Dolores de Muro), makes love to a general's daughter, and befriends the visiting Archduke of Austria. But a quarrel ending in violence gives Don Sebastian the chance to dispose of his rival by framing him for murder! Feigning suicide, Zorro's whip-wielding son escapes to the family's abandoned castle, where he makes plans to clear the family name.
Here's a Russian poster for 'Son of Zorro.' Douglas Fairbanks = Дуглас Фербенкс. Got that?
The May 18 screening of 'Don Q, Son of Zorro' at Red River will be accompanied by an original score created and performed live by New Hampshire silent film musician Jeff Rapsis. Rapsis achieves a "movie score" sound for silent film screenings by using a digital synthesizer to reproduce the texture of the full orchestra, and accompanied 'The Mark of Zorro' at Red River earlier this month.
"The Red River audience really enjoyed Fairbanks in 'The Mark of Zorro,' so it seemed a natural to follow up right away with the sequel," said Rapsis, who provides live music accompaniment for silent film screenings across New England and beyond. "'Son of Zorro' is a terrific popcorn movie by itself, but the chance to screen it directly following the original is a great way to present these two films as they were intended to be seen: on the big screen, with live music, and with an audience."
Red River Theatres, an independent cinema, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to screening a diverse program of first-run independent films, cult favorites, classics, local and regional film projects, and foreign films. The member-supported theater’s mission is to present film and the discussion of film as a way to entertain, broaden horizons and deepen appreciation of life for New Hampshire audiences of all ages.
'Don Q: Son of Zorro' will be screened on Friday, May 18 at 7 p.m. in the screening room of Red River Theatres, 11 South Main St., Concord, N.H. For more information, visit www.redrivertheatres.org or call (603) 224-4600.