Thursday, June 27, 2013

Silent General inspires Lone Ranger?

If you've never seen Buster Keaton's The General -- or even if you have, but not recently -- you might want to take a close look at the classic 1927 silent comedy before you see Gore Verbinski's reboot of The Lone Ranger. Because, trust me, it's pretty dang obvious that both Verbinski and lead players Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer spent a long time scrutinizing Keaton's masterwork before they started filming their seriocomic western epic -- which climaxes with an extended and elaborate chase sequence that plays like a wink-wink homage to the full-throttle locomotion of Keaton's enduringly influential flick.

True, Keaton never rode a fiery white horse through the passenger car of a speeding train, as Armie Hammer does in Verbinski's movie. But, on the hand, Keaton never relied on CGI. And he did do all of his own stunts.

By the way: Looks like Depp also learned a lot simply by studying the graceful acrobatics and incredulous double takes of The Great Stone Face. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if Depp soon signs on for a Buster Keaton biopic. With all due respect to the late, great Donald O'Connor, I strongly suspect Depp would be a better fit in the lead role.

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