The Legend of the Lone Ranger

1981

Action / Adventure / Western

3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 40%
IMDb Rating 5 10 1523

Synopsis


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Cast

Christopher Lloyd as Maj. Bartholomew 'Butch' Cavendish
Jason Robards as President Ulysses S. Grant
Richard Farnsworth as Wild Bill Hickok
Matt Clark as Sheriff Wiatt
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
697.77 MB
1280*534
English
24 fps
1hr 38 min
P/S 5 / 1
1.47 GB
1920*800
English
24 fps
1hr 38 min
P/S 4 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Stephen Abell 6 / 10

Tonto... and... er... The Lone Ranger...

As a kid, I remember watching the old black and white television series at my Nan's while mum and dad did their shopping. Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels bringing much-needed justice to the wild west. In 1981 they brought out The Legend Of The Lone Ranger, another big budget movie, for its time, and I remember I enjoyed that too. So when this was released I had to watch it, after all, it was The Lone Ranger, starring one of my favourite actors, Johnny Depp...

... However...

This is the most ludicrous telling of The Lone Ranger mythos ever filmed. It verges on the insane and stupid. It definitely feels as though they had too much money in the budget to burn and they did just that with the completely farcical CGI, of which there is way too much. In one section it looks like the director was trying to better the awesome, and equally silly, horseback running of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, by having The Lone Ranger ride Silver on top of the train carriages and then through them; it's just not awesome, just silly.

Poor Johnny Depp's acting skills seem to now range from Jack Sparrow to Native American Jack Sparrow, even the headdress he wears gives his silhouette an all-to-familiar feel. He's also brought across Helena Bonham Carter from his directing buddy Tim Burton. It's a shame though as it appears only Mr Burton can give these two good actors decent enough characters to push them into giving a great performance.

Unfortunately, the director here, Gore Verbinski, can only manage mediocre performances from the talented cast. The worst thing being the actual acting scenes. These look to have been added so the actors can actually stretch their acting legs a little. These scenes though appear boring and dull, nearly to the extreme. I think the main problem is there's not much characterisation to be done, apart from Tonto... and one man cannot hold a film of this size together. The other characters should have been deeper and better thought out. When you have a cast like this use them to their best potential, even if you need a rewrite, or two, to do it. Spend the budget there and not the needless CGI segments.

So why the average rating if I didn't like the movie? Well, there are a few things which give the mythos of The Lone Ranger a more powerful storyline. Tonto's story is the prime example; as far as I remember no film or television series touched on why Tonto is called Tonto (which means fool); in this telling, there's a perfectly good and plausible explanation for his naming. There's also a nice spiritual side with The Lone Ranger's horse, Silver, actually being a Spirit Horse who chooses which ranger to bring back from the dead, after Cavendish's ambush.

The comedy, which mainly comes from Johnny Depp, is right on point and pretty funny. There are also some great Iconic moments in the film, especially Tonto standing at the top of a ladder on a speeding train, once you see it you'll understand.

So it's these issues that raise the film out of the doldrums to become a "watch once" film, possibly on a wet Sunday afternoon, after a decent dinner, and with the family.

Reviewed by michaeldouglas1 1 / 10

The producers wanted publicity & sure got it -- but all bad!

No need to belabor the excellent points brought up by posters who have already rightly panned this poor excuse of a movie (and disgrace to an American legend). Klinton Spilsbury? Not only an untalented actor who's voice was so bad they had to dub over, but his on-set and off-set antics fairly screamed "unprofessional". According to reliable sources, this was his only motion picture credit, though Wikipedia does say he had a few bit roles in soap operas before making "Lone Ranger". Actually the most interesting (an unintentionally humorous) thing in his Wikipedia article was this: "An article about him in The Los Angeles Times in 1989 revealed that he had spent some time in Europe and was working as a model. He had hopes to revive his career as an actor, but admitted in the article that he was not having much luck..." Hmmmm -- "revive his career"? WHAT career? To paraphrase, "One movie not maketh a career".

Of course the thing most people remember about this wretched movie (if they remember it at all) is the injunction against 1950's Lone Ranger actor Clayton Moore from wearing his mask in public. The resulting negative publicity pretty much insured this movie would fail at the box office. In an odd twist, they had the right idea in appealing to Baby Boomers with a Lone Ranger remake, but you don't then jeopardize that same target audience by persecuting the man who WAS the Lone Ranger for a whole generation! A truly GOOD movie might have overcame such a handicap... but this movie simply wasn't good enough to save itself.

As the for legal case -- it was a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge named Vernon Foster who was the culprit in "unmasking" Clayton Moore with an injunction. The judge's action was highly questionable from a legal standpoint, as Clayton Moore had freely used the mask and term "Lone Ranger" for 22 years without any objection from the copyright holder of "The Lone Ranger(the Wrather Corp. of Beverly Hills). From 1957 when Moore ended his association with the Ranger, all the way up to 1979 when the injunction was sought, Wrather Co. never attempted to challenge or block Clayton Moore in literally hundreds of public appearances -- because his use actually kept up at least SOME interest in their franchise, including television syndication, and brought them profits. Then suddenly in 1979 -- and only when a "major box-office motion picture" was in the works -- did Wrather find his persona of the Lone Ranger "objectionable".

In 1985 a California Court of Appeals finally set aside Judge Foster's injunction as a violation of two basic legal doctrines. The first is of "Laches" which in equity means "a lack of diligence and activity in making a legal claim, or moving forward with legal enforcement of a right." The Appellate court found that 22 years was simply too long for the Wrather Corp. to allow such characterization by Moore without making a legal effort to assert their copyright against him. Moreover, during those years, Moore's defense proved that Wrather Corp had benefited financially from Moore's use of their "copyrighted" name and image (the mask), all while suffering no detriment. The other well-established legal doctrine the appellate court found protected Moore's use was the "Fair Use Doctrine". Fair use is a US legal doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights-holders, in certain circumstances. So finally, after 6 years was "justice served" and Clayton Moore allowed to resume his full persona as The Lone Ranger, upholder of justice in the Old West. Too bad Judge Foster shamed himself by failing to serve justice and throw those Wrather Corp. lawyers out on their butts -- their request for injunction denied.

Ironically, by 1985 "The Legend of the Lone Ranger" had long sunk beneath the waves without a trace... a forgotten failure (like Mr. Spilsbury's so-called "career"). Whether Clayton Moore could run around in a mask or not was pretty much "mooted" (as even the losing Wrather Corp lawyers had to admit after the verdict). But the final irony was that, while "Legend" lost for Universal Studios and it's production company ITC (Sir Lew Grade) millions of dollars, it was the Wrather Corp ONLY that actually made money on the film -- they were paid upfront for selling their "Ranger" copyright to ITC!

Reviewed by tglennintheflesh 5 / 10

Honest but underwhelming

I bought the novelization to this when I was little. My parents thought it might entice me to read. It sat on a shelf forever, unread. I always wanted to see the movie, but it came and went so fast that while I was on kid-time, I missed it.

So I watched it last night, 35 years after I bought the book. I hated it in terms of where movies stand today, sensibilities, special effects, writing, etc. So thinking back to the time it was created, around the time of "Superman: The Movie," I considered a few elements that might not stand up today, but may have sort of worked in the past.

First of all, the narration was quaint and more southern than western, like "The Dukes of Hazard" which did it better. The score was more melodramatic and almost inappropriate for the genre though it may have been a homage to the past.

The lead character had the right size for the role, but his hair style seemed more like a guest role on "The Love Boat" or "Charlie's Angels" than a cowboy in the streets of Texas.

While I like the back story, it was too long and too "after-school special" for me.

In conclusion, the film seems dated, understated, simple, and tonally neutral. The Lone Ranger is one of America's greatest stories, but not even Disney could do it right.

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