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Eléna Montero, as seen in The Mask of Zorro.
|First appearance||The Mask of Zorro|
|Last appearance||The Legend of Zorro|
|Portrayed by||Catherine Zeta-Jones|
Eléna de la Vega
|Family||Don Diego de la Vega (father)
Esperanza de la Vega (mother)
Rafael Montero (adoptive father)
|Spouse(s)||Alejandro de la Vega (husband)|
|Children||Joaquin de la Vega (son)|
|Relatives||Joaquin Murrieta (brother-in-law)|
Eléna Montero or Eléna de la Vega is a fictional character from The Mask of Zorro, the feisty daughter of the original Zorro (Anthony Hopkins), adoptive daughter of Zorro's nemesis Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson), and lover (and later wife) to his successor Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas). This was the star-making role for Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who managed to complement her dark hair and dark eyes with a pitch-perfect Spanish accent.[peacock term] She later appears in The Legend of Zorro.
The Mask of Zorro
When the evil Rafael invades Don Diego's (Hopkins) home, one of his men kills her mother by accident. Rafael kills the soldier, has Don Diego imprisoned and takes the infant Eléna as his own daughter.
As a beautiful, 21-year-old adult with no knowledge of her true family, Eléna first encounters the second Zorro (Banderas) when he steals some horses on his first night out and again, without realizing it, when he is hiding as a confessional priest and again when he is posing as an aristocrat and shares a passionate dance with him.
She sees him again when he breaks into her false father's home to steal plans and confronts him in the stable, wearing an angelic white bodice and armed with a sword, demanding he return what he has stolen. When he politely refuses, she challenges him to a duel. Having had the proper instruction from the age of four, she holds her own well and manages to disarm Zorro and forces him back. But Zorro manages to retrieve Eléna's own sword and cuts off her bodice, leaving her topless and in nothing but her underwear. With a humiliated gasp, she tries to cover her cleavage with Zorro's hat, but she soon finds herself in his arms. They kiss for a moment, her attraction grows and she leans in for more, but Zorro steps back, takes back his hat, bids her goodbye, and proceeds outside.
While Alejandro/Zorro sets off to save the mine workers, Diego heads to Montero's mansion to confront his old nemesis. At last, Montero recognizes Diego and realizes the identity of the new Zorro. Montero believes that Diego has come to punish him for the illegal mine, but his confident manner fades when Diego, with a sword to Montero's neck, orders him to call for Eléna. Eléna comes down to see her 'father' apparently being held hostage by a man she has only known as a servant. Eléna recognises the name Diego de la Vega and asks the two men what flowers used to hang on her crib. Montero then holds a gun to Diego's head and says he would shoot him even in front of his own daughter, forcing him to stand down. As he is led away by guards, Diego turns to Eléna and tells her that the flowers were romagna. This convinces Eléna that she is possibly his daughter rather than Montero's, and she later helps him escape. They then head to the mine to assist Alejandro. At the mine, Zorro encounters Captain Love as he is trying to transfer the gold. Zorro defeats the guards and then engages Love, as an unseen Montero prepares to shoot him from a distance. However, Diego arrives at the last moment and knocks Montero's shot off balance, before engaging him by the sword. After disarming Montero, Diego is free to kill him, but Eléna appeals for him to stop. Montero then takes Eléna hostage with a gun to make Diego drop his sword, which he does. Montero then shoots Diego, seriously wounding him, but he is able to continue to fight.
In the end, Zorro impales Love with the Captain's own sword, while Diego sends Montero off a cliff, dragged by a moving cart of gold, which crushes him and Love, killing them both. Eléna frees the captive workers before explosives set by Love to wipe out the evidence of the mine can go off. Zorro helps Eléna free the slaves just as the mine is destroyed by a spectacular explosion. Diego, whose gunshot wound is mortal, endorses Alejandro as the next Zorro and encourages a union between him and Eléna, who finally accepts him as her father and Diego informs his daughter that she is exactly like her mother: same mouth, eyes, spirit, and a Zorro who loves her. He dies in their arms and is given a grand funeral. Alejandro and Eléna marry and rebuilt the de la Vega family mansion and have a son whom they name Joaquin, in honor of Alejandro's brother, and Zorro returns as the defender of the People of California.
The Undressing of Eléna Scene
One of Zorro's most popular scenes was the one in which Alejandro renders Eléna topless with a flurry of sword slashes. Filmsite.org's Tim Dirks has called it one of the most erotic film moments of the 1990s, and in a 2006 E! television special, both Banderas and Zeta-Jones professed experiencing arousal during its filming; he by her beauty, and her by his character's innovative way of stripping her character.
In order to accomplish the effect of Catherine Zeta-Jones's dress falling off from being sliced up by Antonio Banderas, a thin wire was attached to the dress to yank it off when the director called "action". In the film, it is quite obvious that the dress is being torn off by a wire rather than simply falling off by itself. Additionally, the back of Zeta-Jones's dress opens, which causes the upper half to fall, exposing her upper body, and then her skirt crumbling. Note that the actress tried to cover for this movement by moving her arms slightly to suggest the fragility of the mutilated dress. Furthermore, after being undressed by Banderas, Zeta-Jones is seen wearing a kind of long underwear, colored a light blue, that covers her below her hips. In the next long shot where she is covering her breasts with Banderas's hat, her "underwear" changes in style, coloring and fabric.
The Legend of Zorro
In the second film, it is revealed that Alejandro took the last name de la Vega as a form of disguise (since Alejandro Murrieta is an outlaw), and thus Elena now bears the name of her father.
- Dirks, Tim. "Best and Most Memorable Film Kisses of All Time in Cinematic History". Filmsite.org. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- Dirks, Tim. "SEXUAL or EROTIC FILMS". Filmsite.org. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- Dirks, Tim. "GREAT MOMENTS and SCENES FROM THE GREATEST FILMS". Filmsite.org. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- "Sexiest..." (2006) - "E!". IMDB.
- ""Goofs" of The Mask of Zorro". IMDB. Retrieved 2008-03-13.