Zorro Rides Again

The California-Yucatan Railroad, being built for the good of Mexico, is under siege by a gang of terrorists hoping to force its sale; no one can prove their connection to profiteer Marsden. Manuel Vega, aged co-owner, calls in the aid of his nephew James, great-grandson of the original Zorro. Alas, James seems more adept at golf than derring-do; but after he arrives, Zorro rides again! Can one black-clad man on horseback defeat a gang supplied with airplanes and machine guns?

Zorro Rides Again (1937) is a 12-chapter Republic Pictures film serial. It was the eighth of the sixty-six Republic serials, the third with a western theme (a third of Republic’s serials were westerns) and the last produced in 1937. The serial was directed by William Witney & John English in their first collaboration. The serial starred John Carroll who also sang the title song as a modern descendant of the original Zorro with Carroll stunt doubled by Yakima Canutt. The plot is a fairly standard western storyline about a villain attempting to illicitly take valuable land (in this case a new railroad). The setting is a hybrid of modern (1930s) and western elements that was used occasionally in B-Westerns (such as the western feature films also produced by Republic). It was also the first in a series of five Zorro serials: Zorro’s Fighting Legion (1939), Zorro’s Black Whip (1944), Son of Zorro (1947) and Ghost of Zorro (1949).

In contemporary California, villain J. A. Marsden aims to take over the California-Yucatan Railroad with the aid of his henchman El Lobo. The rightful owners, Joyce and Phillip Andrews, naturally object. Their partner, Don Manuel Vega summons his nephew, James Vega, to help them as he is the great grandson of the original Zorro, Don Diego de la Vega. He is disappointed, however, to find that his nephew is a useless fop. Nevertheless, James Vega installs himself in the original Zorro’s hideout and adopts the Zorro identity to defeat Marsden and El Lobo. This Zorro uses twin pistols and a whip as his main weapons of choice, rather than a more traditional sword.

John Carroll as James Vega and his masked alter ego Zorro. Despite being the same character and actor, the secret identity of the title character is extended to the opening credits wherein “Zorro” and “James Vega” are credited as separate characters.
Helen Christian as Joyce Andrews
Reed Howes as Phillip Andrews
Duncan Renaldo as Renaldo
Noah Beery, Sr. as J. A. Marsden
Richard Alexander as Brad “El Lobo” Dace
Nigel De Brulier as Don Manuel Vega
Robert Kortman as Trelliger
Jack Ingram as Carter
Roger Williams as Manning
Edmund Cobb as Larkin
Mona Rico as Carmelita
Tom London as O’Shea
Harry Strang as O’Brien
Jerry Frank as Duncan

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