A stagecoach headed from Sacramento to Santa Barbara is attacked by rebel men who work for a revolutionary general named Don Esteban Garcia (Roberto Paoletti). On the stage is Manuela (Maria Jose Alfonso), the daughter of the governor, Alfonso de la Riva (Jesus Puente). Also on the coach is Manuela’s cousin, Alicia (Mirella Maravidi) and two other passengers, Geronimo and his wife Serefina. Zorro shows up and lures the revolutionaries away. The coach takes off again.
On the way to Santa Barbara the coach stops at a way station in Camporitos. Waiting for the coach are Marcel (Pepe Rubio), an entomologist, and Alfonso Decosta (Tony Russel), a butler. Alfonso flirts with Manuela who seems to respond even though she is supposed to be engaged to Juan (Sancho Gracia). They all travel on to Santa Barbara where the stage is met by Manuela’s fiancé Juan.
When the rebels stopped the stagecoach, they gave Manuela a letter to deliver to her father. The letter states that on the nineteenth Garcia will attack and take over the palace putting himself in as Governor. Garcia, however, attacks before the nineteenth and overtakes the palace. The Governor is put in prison and Garcia installs himself as the new governor. Alfonso, the butler, flatters Garcia and manages to manipulate him into not immediately killing Governor de la Riva. With Alfonso constantly by Garcia’s side he is in the best position to know what Garcia is planning at all times.
As Alfonso continues to manipulate the situation, Zorro begins to assist the other prisoners in their escape. Garcia suspects that the entomologist, Marcel, is really Zorro and has him sentenced to be shot by a firing squad, but the real Zorro is the butler Alfonso. Zorro needs to come up with a scheme to save Marcel, take back the palace and squash the rebels. His various plans involve fake nuns, fake Russians and some fancy fencing.
“Behind the Mask of Zorro” AKA “Oath of Zorro” AKA “E Zorro cabalga otra vez” was released in 1965 and was directed by Ricardo Blasco. It is an Italian adventure film and a western. In many ways it is a parody of Zorro with a lot of comedic overtones.
The movie is slightly silly but a lot of fun. There isn’t much of a plot but there are quite a few nice swordfights to keep the action going. Although Zorro’s alter ego isn’t an aristocratic fop he is a bit of a stuffy butler. This way he can keep an eye on the evil Garcia and also make him look a little like a fool at the same time. The film is a spaghetti western with comedy.
Zorro is played by Tony Russel. Russel was an American actor and one of the contenders to play Zorro in Walt Disney’s television production of “Zorro” in 1957. He lost out to Guy Williams. Since Russel was proficient in fencing, he was given several roles during the run of the series. He moved to Italy to continue his career. Russel turned down the lead in “A Fistful of Dollars” 1964 believing that the idea of an Italian Western was ludicrous. Clint Eastwood got the role of the man with no name. Russel was also the founder and president of the English Language Dubbers Association in Italy.