Friday Flicks: Masked men on horseback

The Lone Ranger, Zorro, The Phantom… this week, HN film critic Amanda Ronan looks back on Hollywood’s most famous masked men and their faithful steeds.

From Amanda:

The word on the street is that the Lone Ranger is making a comeback in 2013, starring none other than…wait for it ladies…Johnny Depp as the infamous sidekick, Tonto.  You’ll find Mr. Depp in the photo below.  He’s the one with the crow on his head.  Only Johnny could pull THAT look off.

This news got me thinking about some other handsome masked men and their ever-faithful horses.

First off, the original Lone Ranger played on television by Clayton Moore from 1949 to 1957.  The story of the Lone Ranger’s long-term relationship with Silver began in 1938 on the original radio series.  The Lone Ranger saved Silver’s life from an enraged buffalo.  In gratitude, Silver gave up his wild life for a life of service and honor.  The rest is history.  “Hi-yo Silver!  Away!”

Next up is Zorro, aboard Tornado.  These heroes began their story as early as 1919, serialized in a New York pulp magazine.  The original opinion was that Tornado was a spirit guide for Don Diego de la Vega, who hoped to embody the horse’s primary traits of loyalty, strength, and endurance.  The more recent Zorro, 1998 and 2005 Disney films starring Antonio Banderas, use the horse more as comic relief.  He frequently disobeys, but it is understood that he only does so because he does not understand the English commands.  Banderas’s Tornado was played by two Friesians, Tonka and Ariaan.

My final masked hero is one I had never really heard of until two days ago, Phantom.  The Phantom started as a daily comic strip in 1936.  He is always aided by his faithful horse, Hero.  Not much is known about Hero, other than the fact that he is awesome and can converse with the Phantom’s mountain wolf, Devil.  The Phantom, 1996, stars Billy Zane and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  The movie itself is a bit campy, but I must say I was rather impressed with Mr. Zane’s riding skills.

Go Riding! …in a mask…and save a damsel if you can.

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