Zorro: The Gay Blade (1981)

Zorro: The Gay Blade (1981)

Taglines: Zexy, Zany, Zensational!

Mexico, 1840s. When the new Spanish Governor begins to grind the peasants under his heel, wealthy landowner Don Diego Vega follows in his late father’s footsteps and becomes Zorro, the masked man in black with a sword who rights wrongs and becomes a folk hero to the people of Mexico.

When Vega sprains his ankle and cannot figure out how to continue his campaign against the corrupt Captain Esteban, luck stays with Vega when his long-lost twin brother Ramon, who was sent off by their father to the British Royal Navy to make a “man” of him, whom is also flamboyantly gay, and now known as Lt.

Bunny Wigglesworth, appears for a visit. ‘Bunny’ agrees to temporarily take his brother’s place as Zorro, but wishes to make some changes. Bunny becomes ‘the Gay Blade’ in which his new suits are lemon, plum, and scarlet colored, and Bunny insists on using a whip.

Zorro, The Gay Blade is a 1981 feature film. This comedy features George Hamilton in a Golden Globe-nominated dual role as both Don Diego de la Vega (Zorro) and his gay twin brother Bunny Wigglesworth, né Ramon de la Vega.

About the Story

In 1840s Madrid, Spain, Don Diego de la Vega, the archetypal Spanish Don Juan, is in bed with a woman who is married to someone else. They are caught by her husband, Garcia. Diego swordfights Garcia and his five brothers. During the fight, Diego’s mute servant Paco reads a letter (via gestures) from Diego’s father requesting that Diego return to California (then a part of Mexico). Diego and Paco jump from a high wall into a waiting carriage.

Diego and Paco arrive in Los Angeles, where they are met by Diego’s childhood friend Esteban, who has become capitán of the local guard and married Florinda, for whom the men competed when they were boys. Diego’s father was killed in a riding accident, when his horse was frightened by a turtle. Esteban is acting alcalde until a new one can be chosen by the dons (landowners) of the area.

Esteban is elected alcalde via an obviously fixed election, and gives his inaugural speech to the assembled peasants in the village plaza. He is interrupted by Charlotte Taylor-Wilson, a wealthy political activist from Boston. She and Diego meet, and despite their political differences, there is an immediate attraction.

Diego is invited to a masked ball to celebrate Esteban’s election. He is also given his inheritance, which turns out to be Zorro’s black cape, hat and sword. A note from his father reveals that he was Zorro. Diego decides it is the perfect costume for the ball.

On the way to the ball, Diego witnesses a peasant being robbed. Diego confronts and defeats the highwayman, and returns the money to the peasant, instructing him to spread the news that El Zorro has returned.

At the ball, Diego, under cover of anonymity, dances with Florinda while the peasant informs the people outside that Zorro has returned. The robber was Velasquez, the area’s tax collector, who reports the theft to Alcalde Esteban – and points out Diego. A duel ensues, and Diego escapes by again jumping from a high wall, but injures his foot in the process. Unable to walk without limping, he hobbles away. Esteban and Velasquez plan to use the injury to track Zorro down.

Zorro: The Gay Blade Movie Poster (1981)

Zorro: The Gay Blade (1981)

Directed by: Peter Medak
Starring: George Hamilton, Lauren Hutton, Brenda Vaccaro, Ron Leibman, Donovan Scott, James Booth, Helen Burns, Carolyn Seymour
Screenplay by: Hal Dresner, Greg Alt
Production Design by: Herman A. Blumenthal
Cinematography by: John A. Alonzo
Film Editing by: Lori Jane Coleman
Costume Design by: Gloria Gresham
Set Decoration by: James W. Payne
Art Direction by: Adrian Gorton
Music by: Ian Fraser
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: July 17, 1981