You come for a silent film. You stay for the great sound.

The multi-musician Paragon Ragtime Orchestra will perform the original score to “The Mark of Zorro,” while the 1920 silent masterpiece screens at The Community House in Forest Hills on Sunday, Feb. 9, starting at 5 p.m.

Based on the 1919 novella “The Curse of Capistrano” by Johnston McCulley, “The Mark of Zorro” follows Don Diego de la Vega, the foolish, effeminate son of a wealthy rancher in California during the time of Spanish rule in the early 1800s. He’s appalled by the way rich landowners and corrupt colonial administrators treat the poor farmhands. So he puts on a mask and becomes “El Zorro,” a macho adventurer with flashy sword-fighting skills who thwarts evildoers and leaves Z-shaped scars on their faces.

When not jousting for justice as El Zorro, which means “the fox” in Spanish, Don Diego tries to impress the beautiful Lolita Pulido, who is also being courted by the evil Capitán Ramón. Lolita can’t stand Don Diego and his corniness, but she’s enthralled by El Zorro.

One day, the Pulido family is jailed, and Don Diego must act before putting on his El Zorro mask. He heroically rallies soldiers in his favor, forces the governor to abdicate, and wins Lolita’s hand. It’s a classic tale, and one of the most respected actors of the day, Douglas Fairbanks, plays El Zorro. (Fairbanks is Robin Hood, who also takes on the rich to benefit the poor, in another blockbuster from the 1920s.)

Tickets are $20, but students can attend for $10 each. The event is organized by the Queens-based arts group Musica Reginae, and a post-screening reception sponsored by Finback Brewery will follow.

The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra is the world’s only year-round professional ensemble that is entirely dedicated to recreating musical cinema, dance and theater from the Silent Film Era, which stretched from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. Rick Benjamin, who is the conductor, founded the ensemble in the 1980s after discovering more than 4,000 turn-of-the-century scores that had belonged to trombone virtuoso, band leader and Victrola recording star Arthur Pryor.

Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the orchestra performs regularly around the United States. It’s the only ensemble of this genre to have presented at Lincoln Center.

Located at 15 Borage Place, The Community House frequently hosts public events, such as concerts, plays and blood drives. The facility includes a large gym with a stage and basketball court as well as an indoor swimming pool, large tea room, and multi-purpose room. It’s walking distance from the 71st-Continental subway station for the E, F, R and M lines and the Long Island Rail Road’s Forest Hills stop.

Images: All Things Zorro (top); Paragon Ragtime Orchestra (bottom)


Join The Discussion

Related Stories
Savor local suds, support global charity at ‘Beer in the Gardens’ in Forest Hills on Sunday
Savor local suds, support global charity at ‘Beer in the Gardens’ in Forest Hills on Sunday

Skip to toolbar