Friday, February 11, 2011

Queen of Swords

Queen of Swords is a television series that aired in syndication during the 2000-2001 season. The series is set in 1817 and tells the story of Tessa Alvarado, whose father was recently murdered.  Tessa returns to California from Madrid and decides to become her father's "avenging angel."  Tessa dresses in black, wears a lace mask, rides a horse, and carries a sword.  Sound familiar?  Tessa calls herself the Queen of Swords.

Fans of the series refer to Tessa as a "female Zorro" even though the name Zorro is never mentioned.  The second episode does mention "the fox" and "the skin of the fox," which leaves little doubt as to the producers' intentions.

Zorro Productions, Inc., which owns all rights to the fictional character Zorro, has had a contract with Sony since the 1990s in which Sony has had the exclusive rights to produce filmed versions of Zorro.  The producers of Queen of Swords did not have permission to produce a Zorro-like series, and the production company was sued by Sony.  Sony lost the lawsuit, but the lawsuit still effectively ended Queen of Swords after its first season of 22 episodes.

The series was issued on an official VHS set soon after the series ended.  The series is currently available from France on a DVD set, which I have purchased.  The set is in PAL, and North Americans must have a DVD player that can play PAL.  I have read reports in which some people claim that the French release is region-free, but my regular DVD player will not play the DVDs.  I own a region-free DVD player, so I am able to play the discs.

The DVD set can be played in French or in English with French subtitles.  There are no English subtitles.  The picture quality is excellent.

If a person wishes to purchase Queen of Swords and does not own a region-free DVD player, then bootlegs can be purchased on iOffer.  At least some of the episodes are available on YouTube for people who would just like to get an idea of what the show is like.

Primary cast for the series:

Tessie Santiago as Maria Teresa Alvarado and the Queen of Swords
Paulina Galvez as Marta
Valentine Pelka as Colonel Luis Ramirez Montoya
Anothony Lemke as Captain Marcus Grisham
Peter Wingfield as Doctor Robert Helm
Elsa Pataky as Vera Hildalgo
Tacho Gonzalez as Gaspar Hildalgo

The series was filmed in Almeria, Spain.

The theme music, "Behind the Mask," was performed by Jose Feliciano.  The complete version is up on YouTube.

I will be reviewing the episodes in this blog in the near future.


jdmagg said...

Great Zorro blog!

I am interested in buying the French DVD set. Only there are two versions of this DVD set available: EAN: 3545020009772 and EAN: 3512391518103.

I would like to purchase the DVD set with all the 22 episodes and also with original English audio. I have looked for information about the differences between these two sets, but I am not sure. Which one should I choose? Thanks!

Jennifer said...

Here is a direct link to the one I purchased.

Queen of Swords DVD Set

I can't tell what the difference is between the two listings. It might help if I could read French, but I can't. :)

The above set has both French and English audio, and audio version can be changed to whichever one is desired.

Just remember that the DVD set is Region 2, so you have to have a DVD player that is region-free or that is set to play Region 2.

REVUpminster said...

I am pleased to see you are reviewing QoS from the French dvd but you must watch in episode order and not production order of the DVD for continuity. I wrote the episode synopsis on wikepedia but for greater detail see thr TVIV.
There were only a couple of poor episodes but all episodes had a unique point or classic stunt. I have just purchased the complete Zorro and will eventually wade through them.

REVUpminster said...

I am still awaitig your reviews so I can comment. Episode 6 Duel with a Stranger is a story only a female hero could do. My second favourite only bettered by The Serpent with superb acting from a pre Kill Bill David Carradine, Wingfield (his war speech), and Pelka. Incidently throughout the series British actors played many key Spanish parts.