Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


THE LONE RANGER (1938) 15 Chapter Republic serial. Directed by John English and William Witney.

"Hi Yo Silver -- Away!"

A massacre of Texas Rangers has only one survivor, the "lone ranger" who's rescued by Tonto (Chief Thundercloud). Now the evil Captain Smith, posing as Colonel Jeffries (Stanley Andrews) is behind many nefarious acts in the district -- he hopes to become the "dictator of Texas" -- and is out to get his adversary, The Lone Ranger -- if he can figure out who he is. There are five rangers, any one of which could be the masked man. Let's not forget pretty Joan Blanchard (Lynn Roberts) and the little kid who hero-worships LR (and is not a bad actor to boot). Frankly, I didn't find The Lone Ranger to be quite the classic I was hoping for, although Lone Ranger and western fans might give this serial higher marks. There are some exciting moments, however, such as a thrilling chase after a stagecoach in chapter 12, culminating in a harrowing dive off a cliff. And yes, Giacomo Rossini's wonderful overture from his final opera William Tell makes exciting -- if bizarre -- background music. Stirring conclusion, too, as the true Lone Ranger is finally revealed.

Verdict: Didn't every kid want to ride Silver? **1/2.

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