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Long Lost RAMONA (1928) coming to Blu-ray!


gagman66
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happy.gif Wow! So you never thought you would see this film? I sure didn't. I figured that even after it was restored by the LOC that it would probably only get a few live screenings now and again. No, looks like Kino or someone has licensed it for DVD release and it will be coming out soon! Here is the announcement from Rob Stone:

 

*"Some day very, very soon we will have a blog at work and people will know many things about the goings on at the Library of Congress' Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation. Until then, here are a few things we got going in the film preservation/restoration department: THE FAMILY SECRET (Universal, 1924 with Baby Peggy), RAMONA (UA, 1928 with Delores Del Rio), DUMB GIRL OF PORTICI (Universal, 1916 co-directed by Lois Weber) and THE HEAD WAITER (Vitagraph, 1919 with Larry Semon and Oliver Hardy).... all of these are cooperative efforts with a total of six other archives. Also, have some great DVD/BluRay news coming soon to go with our already cool set up with Kino.... who just released our OF HUMAN BONDAGE and HELL HOUSE both with Bette Davis.*

 

*Big news coming before the end of the year dealing with streaming and downloading films from LC. Also Dolores Del Rio's RAMONA is going to be a DVD/BluRay release probably near the end of the year."*

 

*Rob*

 

 

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I beg your pardon? This was a huge film back in the day, and has not been seen anywhere since it's original run. This is major, major news. a reviewer in 1928 panned Buster Keaton's STEAMBOAT BILL JUNIOR, while calling RAMONA one of the most beautiful films ever produced on the same page!

 

 

 

 

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Mark,

 

Thanks. The 1928 *RAMONA* was discovered in the Czech Archive at Prague in 2000. Apparently mostly intact. Although it took until 2011 before it was repatriated back to the United States. All indications are that the Nitrate was in very good condition.

 

While Dolores Del Rio was already a major Star, it's very possible that this is the film that made Warner Baxter one of the biggest leading men in Hollywood? He had been around for several years, but struggled to find that big break out picture, though he certainly had a loyal following, and devoted fan base.

 

 

On many websites this is still generally referred to as a Lost film. Well, no more but it likely hasn't been seen anywhere since International releases went abroad in '1929-'30. As far as I'm aware there has not even been a live screening of this new restoration to date? It was just completed no more then a couple-three months ago. Not sure if the Blu-ray is coming from Kino, Flicker Alley, Image or someone else at this point? Just hope it will debut on TCM.

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Wonderful news!

 

I hope TCM can show this down the road, perhaps in a compare-and-contrast with the 1937 three-strip Technicolor version from 20th Century-Fox starring Loretta Young (and, for that matter, the 1910 D.W. Griffith "Ramona" with Mary Pickford).

 

A song called "Ramona" was a major hit in the late '20s; did it derive from the Del Rio version?

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I think that the RAMONA song came out a year or two prior to the movie, but was used for the movie. It also became an even bigger hit. Dolores Del Rio even recorded her own version, which seems quite odd, because it was intended for a male voice. Gene Austin, Ben Selvin and many others recorded it.

 

RAMONA was one of the top grossing films of 1928. This is a very big find. Must confess I have not seen the Loretta Young version either. The Pickford one is just a short and has been on TCM several times in the past.

 

Few names where bigger at the Box-office in 1927-28 then Del Rio. As far as I can tell only 4 of her American Silent films are still considered lost. JOANNA (1925), PALS FIRST (1926), RESURRECTION (1926), and REVENGE (1928). I wish that Fox would reconsider the canceled Raoul Walsh- Howard Hawks at Fox Box-set collection, so we could get pristine transferrs of WHAT PRICE GLORY?, LOVES OF CARMEN, and THE RED DANCE. Although TCM has aired WHAT PRICE, and THE TRAIL OF '98 in the past, possibly EVANGELINE, by and large Del Rio's Silents have been little seen over the years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi gagman, nice to hear from you!

 

Here are a couple of links to the theme song from the film. One is a film soundtrack version sung by *Delores Del Rio*:

 

*Dolores del Río - "Ramona" Vals (1928)*

 

 

 

Here is a very listenable version of the film theme song recorded by the Brunswick Hour Orchestra. Band orchestration was taken to a high level of sophistication in that era. We don't hear bands that sound like this today. One can only imagine what some of them sounded like in real life. The recording technology of the time was still primitive, leaving us scratchy records where the sound seems to be coming to us from a tunnel.

 

*Ramona (1928) - Brunswick Hour Orchestra*

 

 

 

The spinoff of film music into records, piano rolls, radio performance and sheet music was a very big source of income to the film studios. Licensed versions of film tunes were often recorded by famous orchestras in the day. Many Silent films were actually "delivery systems" for hit tunes, something that would seem counter-intuitive to us today. (Studios would often provide a musical score along with a silent film, to be played by the theater pianist/organist or house orchestra.)

 

Music was written by *Mabel Wayne*. There were not many women involved at the time in the composing of film music.

 

It's encouraging to see that such things "turn up" somewhere and once more see the light of day. I've long held around here that many so called "lost" films are not lost, but better described by another "L" world such as languishing. Commercial interest and resources are very limited, as it is assumed by the players in the business that the market and interest in these products is miniscule. I better resist ascending my soap-box, because what I personally think of this state of affairs might cause me to violate another "L" word: ladylike behavior!

 

speakthelma.gif

 

 

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Hi Browne1,

 

I think the crux of your concern is that there seems to be an unfortunate process of "triage" going on with unreleased films of that era: Those deemed worthy of restoration and release, those that may qualify but have to be put on the "to do" list, and those for which there are no current plans for restoration/release. That is most unfortunate, as all films of that era are culturally and historically valuable artifacts, whatever country they are from. As I said below, interest and resources are limited.

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Thelma,

 

Wow, great slideshows and stills. I love the musical arragments. The second redition is especially stunning. Thanks so much. I'm sure that the the Movie-tone track, if it had one does not survive. So I hope that the new score will at least keep the classic RAMONA theme, but I don't have any information as of yet. I'll keep people posted, as I get additional details.

 

You know in 1927- '28, Dolores Del Rio and probably Billie Dove were generally considered the two most beautiful actresses in Hollywood. Both often referred two as "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World". But then every studio seemed to have it's own version of "The Most Beautiful Woman in The World" during the 20's! Now if we could get some of Billie Dove's First National Silents restrored such as THE TENDER HOUR with Ben Lyon which exists Nitrate only at UCLA.

 

 

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