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September 1996, Week 4


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"Brian P. Taves" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Brian P. Taves
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 14:56:35 -0400
text/plain (80 lines)
> Date:    Mon, 23 Sep 1996 11:06:35 +0200
> From:    Alvaro Ramirez <[log in to unmask]>
> Melissa:
> Here in Norway, and for the young audience, they are broadcasting a reprise
> of "Zorro" the television series. I am tempted to follow it a little and
> write something about it. That is a good source if you have access to it.
> Scholarly I think there is very little done on the matter.
> I saw last year (but I will have to find out with my colleague Jostein
> Grisprud, titlle and author) a very interesting tv research program with an
> overview of the way Latins have been portrayed in Hollywood's history.
> I think it was Paper Tiger who made the program.
> At 15:18 17.09.96 -0600, you wrote:
> >Hello.  My name is Melissa Bahs and I am currently doing research for a
> >thesis concerning Hispanic American women in film.  I am having
> >difficulty finding films and books.  I am hoping to explore the
> >stereotypes that Hollywood perpetuates of the Hispanic American.  ie.
> >machismo/gang member/the latin lover/senorita/mexican spitfire etc....
> >If anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it.
> >
> >Thank you,
> >Melissa Bahs
> >[log in to unmask]
> Alvaro Ramirez-Ospina
> Associate Professor
> Department of Media Studies -University of Bergen
> Fosswinckelsgt 6
> 5007 Bergen - Norway
> Tel:   (47) 55 58 91 35
> Fax:   (47) 55 58 91 49
> Email: [log in to unmask]
Millicent and Alvaro,
The recent Duncan Regehr ZORRO tv series (shown in the US on Family
Channel) was significant in a number of respects for taking the myth in
new directions. The heroine, Victoria Escalante (played by Patrice Camhi)
is, unlike the classical swashbuckler model, an independent "career
woman." She manages an inn in Los Angeles (but is very different from such
western precursors as Kitty in GUNSMOKE). In ZORRO, Victoria makes the inn
a center of political dissent from the oppressive rule of civilian and
military authority in the city and becomes a leader of the people. It is
precisely these qualities, her courage, independence, and commitment to
the cause of freedom, that fuel the romance with Zorro--despite the class
differences between her position and the democratic aristocrat Diego de la
Vega (aka Zorro).
All of this was not present in the old Disney ZORRO series with Guy
Williams in the lead; he had no romantic interest continuing throught the
series. Other significant changes were made in the new Regehr series:
Diego's mute servant was transformed into an orphan boy he adopts, and the
comical sergeant was less buffoonish. In most of the movie versions,
Diego's romance was with a woman of his own class.
I suspect that the primary impetus for giving new, more modern elements to
the heroine figure in the Regehr ZORRO series came less from a move to
enhance images of Hispanic women than from the general tendency in more
recent historical adventure productions (on both film and television) to
feature stronger female images.
Incidentally, does anyone know what the status is of the recent theatrical
remake of ZORRO announced to star Antonio Banderas?
Brian Taves
Motion Picture/Broadcasting/Recorded Sound Division
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C.  20540
202-707-2371 (fax)
Internet:  [log in to unmask]
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