Sunday, October 16, 2011
The Mark of Zorro
This was a film that I loved as a kid, for a host of reasons, not the least of which is the fight between Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone. Wish I had a dollar for every time I've watched it since then.
This piece was under-cranked to speed up the action, in keeping with the common misconception that faster is better. When I was in film school in the way back when, I got a print of this and ran it on the moviola at about half speed -- a speed that would be realistic for weapons with a little bit of weight to them, instead of the silly fencing "sabres" they're using.
What I find interesting is that the actions hold up very well at a slower speed. The choreographer of this piece knew his swordsmanship very well. Try watching it in slowmo sometime.
Though his character gets the worst of it, Rathbone steals the show for me. He's crisp, precise, balanced -- a study in impeccable form.
I love the footwork of both actors (and their doubles, of course!) Perfectly centered, what I call "collected," every part of the body an element in a coherent whole, nothing flapping, dangling, loose or out of control, and no wasted movement.
That's the way to train.
And that's the way to fight.
Posted by Adam Crown, M.d'A. at 7:04 PM