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One of the things that amazes me about this film is its surprisingly
attitude towards Native Americans (no, seriously!) The Indians in this
movie are portrayed with dignity and respect, similar to the way "Dances
With Wolves" would portray the Lakota years later. Naturally, the Lone
Ranger and Tonto are good friends and partners (Clayton Moore always said
loved Jay Silverheels like a brother), but the way the Ranger in which
treats the Indian chief, Red Hawk, is touching. No wonder this man is a
In an era when Hollywood more often than not used Indians as stereotypical savages and moving targets, "The Lone Ranger" makes a surprising plea for mutual respect and tolerance.
Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels reprise their television roles in this western classic that has the Lone Ranger and Tonto defusing a war between ranchers and Indians. A a greedy cattle baron wants to seize a silver-rich mountain on an Indian reservation and devises plans to have the Indians relocated or exterminated to achieve his ends. The picture was filmed in beautiful color with excellent sound, and has a solid cast and a very good music score, including the signature William Tell Overture. There are several fine action scenes, daring rescues and the familiar disguises used by the Masked Man to close in on the killer of a young cowboy. The grand mountain vistas of southern Utah provide the backdrop for this film and the Ranger and Tonto never looked better as they ride the trail for justice and bring peace to a young territory hoping for statehood. Moore and Silverheels get great support from Lyle Bettger as the scheming rancher, Robert Wilke, John Pickard, Michael Ansara, Frank de Kova and Perry Lopez.
"The Lone Ranger" was the first of two feature films made in the 50s
starring Clayton Moore as The Lone Ranger and Jay Silverheels as Tonto. It
was of course, based on the long running TV series that began in 1949 and
ended in 1957. It was produced by Jack Wrather who also produced the TV
Essentially a "B+" western it is nonetheless a well mounted production. It was made by Warner Brothers and is as good as any of the Randolph Scott westerns made by the studio at that time. Being a major studio production, it was filmed in color and Wrather was able to hire an above average supporting cast.
The story briefly, involves big time rancher Reese Kilgore (Lyle Bettger) trying to incite a war with the local Indian tribe on whose reservation a mountain of silver is located. The Masked Man and his faithful Indian companion ride in to try and prevent the conflict.
Moore and Silverheels, who had been around the "B" movie scene since the late 30s, play their parts pretty much the way they did on TV but with a little more edge. Moore has a knock down drag out fight with the Indian warrior Angry Horse (Michael Ansara) who is trying to take control of the tribe from sickly Chief Red Hawk (Frank DeKova). Tonto meanwhile, is beaten up by Kilgore's thugs (Robert J. Wilke, Mickey Simpson, Zon Murray). And the boys even get to gun down a couple of the bad guys. And, The Lone Ranger even gets wounded only to make a remarkable recovery. And oh yes, Moore also gets don the disguise of the old prospector again as he did several times in the TV series.
In addition to those mentioned, the supporting cast also includes Bonita Granville (wife of Producer Wrather) as Bettger's wife, Beverly Washburn as their daughter, John Pickard as the Sheriff, Perry Lopez as Pete Ramerez and Kermit Maynard and William Schallert in smaller parts.
The movie is not as corny as the TV series and turns out to be an entertaining western.
I found this film at our local library while searching for the old TV series. I never knew Clayton Moore had done a feature length movie as the Lone Ranger, so this was a pleasant surprise on many counts. It's a strong performance for a "B" movie, better in fact than many contemporary westerns with bigger stars. It has an excellent supporting cast (though Lyle Bettger as Reece Kilgore is just as weak here as he is as Ike Clanton in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral). Strong moral themes, lots of action and an interesting, even rather complex, plot for a piece like this. Michael Ansara is great as Angry Horse, the volatile Indian who is at odds with the Lone Ranger. A very re-watchable family favorite!
The last time I saw a movie with a Caucasian and a Red Indian partner,
was the French movie Brotherhood of the Wolf. Perhaps it's had its
origins of such a pairing from The Lone Ranger, or so I'd like to
believe. After having spent some time with old martial arts classics, I
thought I'd set my sights on the western genre, and what more
appropriate than the adventures of the legendary Lone Ranger astride
his steed Silver, and his Red Indian sidekick Tonto.
For those not in the loop of this character, he's like the daytime vigilante of the Wild Wild West, in his mask concealing his true identity, and loads his guns with silver bullets. The silver bullet also functions as a calling card of sorts, and come to think of it, it's like a friendlier version of Batman, only in a different setting. And with that theme music - William Tell Overture - blaring in the background as they ride into the sunset, it's pure nostalgia. Not hard to imagine that I actually grew up on such stuff.
The movie begins by diving right into the story, with our heroes up against some mean and corrupt and greedy cattle ranchers who are after more land, and some bad hats amongst them trying to stir up war with the Native Americans. So it's up to our heroes to expose the truth, and to prevent bloodshed. That pretty much sums up the gist of the plot.
Although this is not an origin movie, the beginnings of how the Lone Ranger came about was mentioned in passing - His brother and himself, both Rangers, were ambushed by outlaws and left for dead. But Fate has Tonto rescuing the Ranger, and he decided to use the clothes of his dead brother to make a mask, to stay mysterious, to be feared by the villains he hunted down. The origins of Silver, his mighty loyal steed, is also mentioned, but more to the effect that it was nursed back to health by the Ranger himself.
Given that this was made in the 50s, you'd come to expect some very stilted and stiff dialogues, as heroes in those days, are expected to be squeaky clean. You probably can't find a speck of dirt on the Ranger's character, as he embodies everything that is good, with that All American feeling. Called the "trusty scout' (Kemo Sabe) by his Red Indian ally Tonto, the movie also takes a look at the prejudices faced by the Native Americans amongst groups of white men, and the strong partnership between our leads, is testament to the fact that ignorance and the lack of understanding, isn't the way to go.
The visual transfer isn't all that great, and it looks like it's VHS based, with little remastering done to remove the cacks and pops. The colours were inconsistent at times, and although it comes in both full screened and wide screened versions on the same disc, it isn't anamorphic.
The DVD extras are on a second disc, and has two sections. The first section contains interviews, while the rest goes into "Special Features".
There are two interviews included, and the first is with Michael Ansara, who plays Angry Horse. Interviewed by Michael Druxman (writer/director of The Doorway 1999), this interview fell short in quality as Ansana wasn't too chatty, and Druxman was chatting most of the time like a fanboy. Nothing much comes out of this interview, although a trivia was shared that the Lone Ranger actually never kills anybody on screen. Running at 17mins and 15 secs, I would recommend going straight for the second interview instead.
The second interview has more substantial material discussed, and it's natural given that it's conducted by Leonard Maltin of Entertainment Tonight, with the guest Dawn Moore, daughter of the Lone Ranger himself Clayton Moore. Conducted and recorded on 9 Feb 2001 and clocking in at 39 minutes, it is a heartfelt session with recollection of memories of Clayton Moore, about her childhood and growing up with the legend, many behind the scenes discussion at the production, anecdotes shared that only a child will know, and even talk about Silver the horse. Given her account, you'll be amazed at how hard Clayton Moore actually worked for the character, in character, in publicity that the company wanted him to do. This is a gem that all fans should give a listen to.
The Special Features section contains the following, though nothing in particular stands out: a. Text biographies of main cast and director Stuart Heisler b. A photo gallery with colour and black and white movie stills c. Trailers for The Lone Ranger, The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold, and trailers for two non Lone Ranger, but Western, films - Ride in the Whirlwind and The Shooting (both starring Jack Nicholson) d. A text writeup on The Lone Ranger Creed, which is also available on the insert.
It's a shame that this film is not more widely known and available,
because it represents the pinnacle of the Lone Ranger, at least the
on-screen version. In addition to being the Lone Ranger's zenith, it
also ranks among the Greatest Super-Hero Films of All Time, and is very
good Western in its own right.
The TV series (which, BTW, I loved) was always hampered by shooting schedule and budget, so location filming, riding scenes, fight scenes, etc., were always kept to a minimum. And usually the sets always looked as if they were constructed in 3 hours by the technicians at a local TV station in Cleveland, Ohio.
But in this film, besides being in color and having lots of outdoors scenes, there are plenty of great riding and fight scenes, including a full blown stampede. Best of all, both the Masked Man and Tonto each get to do a full-blown, knock-down, drag out fist fight. (Tonto's fight sequence is the more impressive one, since he ends up holding his own against an entire mob, until the sheer numbers inevitably overpower him. I won't spoil it how that situation resolves ) Additional treats include the Lone Ranger donning the Old Geezer disguise he often used in the TV series, and Silver doing some memorable work (similar to Lassie or Flipper, yet amazingly, this does not come off as corny).
Certainly there were no other actors, at least on screen, who ever did or ever could portray the Masked Man and Tonto as good as Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels. Considering the material they had to work with, it would have been extremely easy for them to overdo it, or to be corny or campy. But no, they each had an almost magical ability to make these potentially ludicrous characters believable and likable.
I am especially impressed by Silverheels, whose dialog for some inexplicable reason was always written as Johnny Weismueller-style broken English, always delivered his lines with credibility. Tonto was never ridiculous, rather the opposite. In this film, unfortunately, all the Native Americans have to speak in this idiotic way, and you can see how hard it is to be take these guys seriously. Yet Silverheels' Tonto always projects intelligence and valor, despite horrible lines. I attribute this to Silverheels' ability as an actor.
It's undeniable that the Lone Ranger's target audience was mostly kids, and that his appeal to adults draws its strength from the well of our childhood. Yet it is a mistake to classify this film as being strictly for kids; there are in fact, many adult themes. For instance, in one very effective sequence, a racially-motivated mob attempts to lynch Tonto. I don't think there is anything on the Disney channel today, with our supposedly uncensored media, that deals with the American tradition of lynching (which was never formally outlawed until the 1960's).
The plot itself is concerned with a very adult theme, something that is perhaps more timely now even than in 1956. The main action is concerned with the activities of a wealthy white man and his vicious second-in-command who engineer a series of 'false flag' attacks and incidents so as to cause a group of darker-skinned persons to be blamed. (No, this is not the story of the Bush Administration, except as allegory.) The false flag attacks are intended to promote a war between whites, who have greater wealth and weaponry, and the Indians, so that the small group of whites can seize control of the natives' valuable mineral resources.
This film has a view of Pioneer/Indian conflicts that, besides being historically accurate, is surprising to find in 1956. The Lone Ranger himself says outright that in all the fights between Whites and Indians, it's the Whites who have always started the trouble. There are anti-war as well as anti-racism messages that seem ahead of their time.
The Masked Man and Tonto, as unequivocal representatives of Good, channel their energies into a desperate campaign to prevent a destructive war. These two heroes have no super-powers or abilities, but appear to draw their strength from a respect for human life and a sense of fairness. They remind us of what we knew to be right when we were children, and inspire us to believe in those things again.
Enjoyable Lone Ranger western film about the Masked Man and his
faithful Indian sidekick . All new and a brand new thrills , the story
of desperado riders in the Old West and the silver bullet that stopped
the most savage Indian uprising ever to menace America's vast frontiers
. The legend of the Lone Ranger is ¨the untold story of the man behind
the mask and the legend behind the man¨ . This flick follows the
adventures of the Ranger , his white stallion Silver and his American
Indian pal Tonto, as they attempt to bring local criminals to justice
once again. This cinematic adaptation deals with the Lone Ranger , here
he comes , thundering up the West's deadliest silver mines trail ,
blasting his way and confronting baddies . The Ranger accompanied by
the Indian Tonto who rides with him, on Silver and Scout, throughout
the West, doing good deeds and they dedicate their life to combat the
evil that Reece Kilgore -Lyle Bettger- represents. As they must prevent
a war between Indians and nasty ranchers disguised as Indian riders in
a dangerous adventure . The Kilgore's start a mining company on Indian
territory, and the Indians aren't glad about it. The Lone Ranger must
fight the savages and find away to make peace between Red Skins and
White Men . The two heroes ride off in a cloud of dust under classic
musical background composed by Rossini and shouting ¨Hi-Yo silver¨.
¨The Legend Of The Lone Ranger¨ is crusader's first silver screen outing . The film contains action , thrills , great scenery with spectacular outdoors magnificently photographed in Warnercolor . This shows a campy and entertaining glimpse at nostalgic television series . It packs some fine action , adequate musical score and emotion ; as children as well as adults will undoubtedly love this film . Clayton Moore is good as the mysterious and righteous gunslinger, yet he shows have an endearing innocent charm , while Jay Silverheels is acceptable as his faithful sidekick Tonto. Jay Silverheels played as Tonto in the long series and two films , he also played Geronimo in ¨Broken Arrow¨(1950) . ¨The battle of Apache Pass¨(1951) and ¨Walk to proud land¨(56) . He performed about 30 Western from 1957 to 1973 in important roles such as ¨Brave warrior¨, 'The pathfinder¨, ¨Drums across the river¨, ¨Indian Paint and ¨Santee¨ . In addition , he played a cameo as Tonto in the parody ¨Alias Jesse James¨ with Bob Hope . Furthermore , there appears Bonita Granville , she married producer Jack Wrather in 1947, who became the longtime producer of the "Lone Ranger" TV series and films. Following this movie, Granville retired from acting to become a producer on the long running "Lassie" TV series ; her final film appearance was a cameo in ¨The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981)¨, also produced by Wrather . Atmospheric as well as thrilling musical score by David Buttolph . In the scene where the Ranger meets the governor with his mask on, the music in the background is the soon to be "Maverick" theme , both this film and Maverick credit David Buttolph with the music. The motion picture was professionally directed by Stuart Heisler . His movies had a professionalism and a verve that many of those made by his fellow directors lacked . He also filmed detective thrillers , action and dramas . Stuart started his directorial career at Paramount in 1940 and turning out mostly "B"-grade films but was occasionally given an "A" picture. The majority of his output was routine but he did turn out several first-rate films, his best-known probably being the sleeper hit The Biscuit Eater (1940), garnering the best reviews of his career. He realized his first Western titled ¨Along Came Jones¨ (1945). After leaving Paramount he free-lanced. He directed Bette Davis in The star (1952) and directed Ginger Rogers and Ronald Reagan in the hard-hitting anti-Klan drama Storm warning (1951). He made his last film, the underwhelming Hitler (1962).
¨The Lone Ranger¨ was originally created as a radio play in 1933 by George W. Trendle and well developed by Fran Striker . The Lone Ranger started off as an America radio show started in the 1930s and finally ended in 1954 . It began in a ¨Lone Ranger¨ serial (1938) , a program burdened by noisy action and starred by Lee Powell , being directed by William Witney and John English . It later expanded on to the big screen with 1938's "The Lone Ranger," 1939's "The Lone Ranger Rides Again" , a Republic serial in 15 whirlwind chapters with Robert Livingstone , Chief Thundercloud and Duncan Renaldo . The Lone Ranger was also a television series from 1948 through 1957 in which gained widespread notoriety on ABC television, as Clayton Moore donned the mask each week to fight crime and corruption in the old west and of course Jay Silverheels as Tonto . The second film was co-starred by Douglas Kennedy , Charles Watts and Ralph Morris . Furthermore , new version by Willam A Fraker titled ¨The legend of the Lone Ranger¨ that wavers between irony and seriousness , starred by Klinton Spilbury and Michael Horse ; but the film bombed so badly at the box office , as the movie's star Klinton Spilsbury never worked in Hollywood again. The last appearance of The Lone Ranger was in 2003 for a two-hour special on WB Network starring Chad Michael Murray and Nathaniel Arcand . Jerry Bruckheimer Films has debuted a logo for the upcoming adaptation of The Lone Ranger , this is the last big screen iteration of the famous character . The tagline on the site reads, "The Legend Returns." Gore Verbinski has been contracted to filmmaking the classic TV show film , a blockbuster retelling for the big screen, and Johnny Depp is attached to play Tonto .
Near the end of his famous TV show of the 1950s, "The Lone Ranger,"
Clayton Moore made this feature film with costar Jay Silverheels as
"Tonto." The main plot revolves around Lyle Bettger, who has plans of
running the Indians off their land, so he can claim it and the silver
mountain they revere. Lyle of course has his field hands who do his
dirty work, which includes posing as Indians and causing trouble around
in their name, so as to get the town folk on his side and against them.
In turn, they will come to insist on the Indians leaving. Robert Wilke
is memorable as the meanest guy under Bettger's pay, who looks like he
enjoys every minute of it. What Bettger and Wilke don't plan on is the
presence of "The Lone Ranger," who has gotten a bandit/outlaw
reputation with the town folk, even though he seems to only help those
in peril and is always on the right side of the law.
Enough of the plot, the star of the film is Clayton Moore as the bigger-than-life Lone Ranger. Throughout the film we find out how he became The Lone Ranger. Some may think this film, his and Silverheels' performances and his duds of a blue skin-tight suit and black mask are all kind of corny and/or campy. But all of it is the heart of the film, which makes us feel like we the viewer are The Lone Ranger. (He wears his disguise until injustice has come to an end and there is no further need for his alter-ego.) And, this film really delivers the goods. It contains the realistic dangers of the people's lives in jeopardy (who know too much and have to be dealt with,) while embracing the outrageousness of this mysterious ranger and his sidekick. It entertains without being too silly or too violent. Little boys today and of future generations would love it still. It is reported that Clayton Moore loved this chance to be The Lone Ranger, because, as a boy, he dreamed of being a cowboy or a policeman. With this role, he was able to be both. The Johnny Depp remake, which I have no desire to see, can't touch this nostalgic and captivating (with its iconic and timeless trademark scene thrown in at the end) bigger-than-life film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Masked Man and his faithful Indian companion Tonto struggle to thwart a greedy cattle baron from igniting a full-scale war with Native Americans on a nearby reservation. Compared to the Spartan production values on the ABC-TV series, "The Lone Ranger" movie looks like a million-dollar spectacle. Lensed in vibrant Warnercolor with a sturdy cast, featuring villainous Lyle Bettger and Robert Wilkie, Jr., this fast-moving, 80-minute horse opera never wears out its welcome. The Lone Ranger investigates trumped-up claims that the Indians have been straying off the reservation and committing havoc. The man arousing all the ill-will toward the Indians is the same dastard that hungers their land. As it turns out, the last surprise in this western is the revelation about the mineral rich ground on which the reservation lies. "The Glass Key" director Stuart Heisler maintains a sense of urgency throughout this tightly knit western and scenarist Herb Meadow provides a good line of dialogue occasionally. Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels reprised their roles, and they have no trouble stirring up action. When you think about it, westerns during the post-war years constituted pictures about race-relations. Although the dastardly Reece Kilgore sets things in motion for a showdown, the outcome isn't what he expected. The Lone Ranger swaps blows with a potential Indian chieftain and gets clipped by a bullet to the head. Nevertheless, our hero re-emerges and resolved to capture the felons. This well-made western is worth watching at least once.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Turner Classic Movies was showing this and I decided to DVR it, I'm really happy I did. You can probably catch it there again since they repeat their showings throughout the year. So what do I know about the Lone Ranger? Well, I actually didn't know much about him until I watched this film, lol. My background with him is they would play the 1950's TV show after school in repeats in the 1970's at least for awhile they did, along with the Adventures of Superman, and Lassie, those were three shows I grew up with as a pre teen (maybe even younger) funny how that is what was on the TV for kids in liberal New York City in the 1970's, I doubt seriously that those three shows are on NYC TV today for kids. I would also watch the low budget animated Lone Ranger from the 1960's, although it was made cheaply I remember the stories as being exciting to watch. Anyway I was a big fan of the Lone Ranger and his message of justice and racial tolerance definitely had an impact on my life, but he had been out of my life for at least 30 years until last night when I watched this film on TCM. Why this film was not shown on TV is anyone's guess since they showed the TV show for so long, but whatever the reason, bottom line, if you are a Lone Ranger fan this is the movie to see. If you are looking for an introduction, of all the LR material I have watched this would be the best introduction I can think of. Really high quality and a typically good storyline as all of the Lone Ranger material is. This is great entertainment for kids but it's also interesting enough for adults. I like also that there is death and injustice and prejudice, these are all adult themes that most kids shows lack, that is what sets the Lone Ranger apart from other kids shows of the past and today. Why this has a rating under 7 is a sin, it deserves at least an average of 8. I suspect some vote it a 1 because of it's wholesome messages of good vs evil, rich injustice vs poor etc etc and just because people are hateful trolls and want to bad mouth good things from the past. With the new Johnny Depp film coming out, watch this one first as a primer to see how the character was known for 50 years and see if they distorted it or added to it's legacy with the reboot. 10 of 10.
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