Based on Helen Hunt Jackson’s 1884 novel Ramona, starring Mary Pickford & Henry B. Walthall. The first film to identify filming locations in its credits. Was promoted as ‘The most expensive motion picture ever made’ by Biograph in 1910. Film debut of Mae Marsh.
Ramona is a 1910 American short drama film directed by D. W. Griffith, based on Helen Hunt Jackson‘s 1884 novel Ramona. Through a love story, the early silent short explores racial injustice to Native Americans and stars Mary Pickford and Henry B. Walthall. A copy of the print survives in the Library of Congress film archive. The film was remade in 1928 (dir. Edwin Carewe) with Dolores del Rio and 1936 (dir. Henry King) with Loretta Young.
Ramona chronicles the romance between Ramona (Mary Pickford), a Spanish orphan from the prestigious Moreno family, and Alessandro (Henry B. Walthall), an Indian who appears on her family’s ranch one day. A man named Felipe (Francis J. Grandon) proclaims his love for Ramona, but she rejects him because she has fallen for Alessandro. They fall deeply in love, yet their desire to wed is denied by Ramona’s stepmother, who reacts by exiling Alessandro from her ranch. He returns to his village, only to find that it has been demolished by white men. Meanwhile, Ramona is informed that she also has “Indian blood”, which leads her to abandon everything she has to be with Alessandro. They marry, and live among the wreckage of Alessandro’s devastated village. They have a child together and live at peace until the white men come to force them from their home as they claim the land. Their baby perishes, and then Alessandro is then killed by the white men. Ramona is then rescued by Felipe and returned to her family back on the ranch.
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I teach several classes for the Stephens College Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting, including History of Screenwriting. In fact, I created the curriculum for that course from scratch and customized it to this particular MFA in that it covers ‘Screenwriting’ (not directors) and even more specifically, the class has a female-centric focus. As part History of Screenwriting I, the first course in the four-class series, we focus on the early women screenwriters of the silent film era who male historians have, for the most part, quietly forgotten in their books. In this series, I share with you some of the screenwriters and films that should be part of any screenwriters education. I believe that in order to become a great screenwriter, you need to understand the deep history of screenwriting and the amazing people who created the career. — Dr. Rosanne Welch