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Posted in Uncategorized on June 1, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

Tomorrow (Saturday, June 2), at 4:30 PM Eastern time, Turner Classic Movies will be running The Lone Ranger (1956), which in my humble opinion is the best celluloid incarnation of this character. A Warner Brothers feature film directed by the underrated Stuart Heisler, this is a happy example of a Western made on an A-movie budget with B-movie pretensions. Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, TV’s Ranger and Tonto, never looked better. The script recycles many familiar elements of the TV series — i.e., the Lone Ranger masquerades as a crusty old prospector to get information, Tonto goes to town and gets beat up — but sports a relatively mature storyline and even humanizes its chief villain by making him a doting father whose atrocities are committed for the purpose of building an empire he can leave to his only child. The film was clearly designed for family audiences, not just for kids. The narrative is undergirded with a muted plea for racial tolerance that’s just as timely today as it was in 1956. I love this movie — every bit as much now as I did when I first saw it some 50 years ago. It’s a must-have for Lone Ranger fans and well worth recording even if you don’t have the typical baby boomer’s nostalgic fondness for the character. Oh, and did I mention that it has the all-time best “who was that masked man” finale?

19 thoughts on “DVR Alert: THE LONE RANGER (1956)

  1. Don’t know how I missed spotting this one as I usually check what is coming up on TCM. Did you see all the Joel McCrea films they had on in May. Many westerns including one from 1937 I’d never seen before. “Wells Fargo” was the sort of epic they did rather well beck in the 1930’s. I did not know Frances Dee was McCrea’s wife in real life. She was quite the stunner.
    Regarding The Lone Ranger. When the William Tell overture musice came on I was struck with the memory of my grandfather and I listening to the radio show together when I was a little kid.

  2. You missed a good ‘un, Barry.

    I didn’t see all the McCrea films on TCM, but I’m familiar with most of them. And, yes, Frances Dee was indeed a stunner. I knew her, and even in her eighties she was still turning heads.

  3. I saw WELLS FARGO on TCM and enjoyed it. One of the few A westerns to be made during the 1930’s.

    I watched THE LONE RANGER also. I used to buy my SF magazines at a deli in the 1950’s and the old man who owned it seemed to always be listening to the Lone Ranger radio show.

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