Ramona (1936 film)

Ramona is a 1936 American Technicolor drama film directed by Henry King,[3] based on Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel Ramona. This was the third adaptation of the film, and the first one with sound. It was the fourth American feature film using the new three strip Technicolor process. It starred Loretta Young and Don Ameche.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byHenry King
Produced byJohn Stone
Sol M. Wurtzel
Written byStuart Anthony
Paul Hervey Fox
Sonya Levien
Lillian Wurtzel
Screenplay byLamar Trotti
Based onRamona
1884 novel
by Helen Hunt Jackson
StarringLoretta Young
Don Ameche
Music byAlfred Newman
CinematographyWilliam V. Skall
Edited byAlfred DeGaetano
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • September 25, 1936 (1936-09-25)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1 million[2]

The New York Times praised its use of new Technicolor technology but found the plot "a piece of unadulterated hokum." It thought "Ramona is a pretty impossible rôle these heartless days" and Don Ameche "a bit too Oxonian" for a chief's son.[4]


Ramona, Loretta Young, is raised in the romantic hills of Southern California by Senora Gonzago Moreno, Pauline Fredrick, on her beautiful ranch. Senora Morena is tied to raising Ramona as her own because it was Ramona’s foster mother’s dying wish. She raises Ramona along with her own child Felipe, but never truly loves Ramona because of her illegitimate status.

Every year Senora Moreno hires Native Americans from Temecula to shear the ranch’s sheep. Alessandro, son of the chief, is the head of the sheep shearers. Alessandro, played by Don Amache, is admired by Native Americans and the residents for being wise, piously Catholic, and very attractive. Along with the arrival of the Native Americans, Father Salvierderra, a priest very close to Felipe and Ramona, visits the ranch so the shearers can worship before going back to Temecula.

The shearing of the sheep has evolved into an event for the ranch as many people come to participate in its celebrations. Men from “over 40 miles away ride on horseback just to dance with Ramona” as she arrives back from her covenant. Senora Moreno correctly suspects Felipe to be falling in love with Ramona and constantly criticizes her for nothing. Over the course of the sheep shearing days, Alessandro falls in love with Ramona and her gentle yet strong nature and Ramona quickly falls in love with Alessandro. A worker of the ranch hints at the romance to Senora Moreno and she catches the lovers declaring their love.

Senora Moreno is outraged and forbids Romona to marry Alessandro. In her rage, Senora Moreno exposes Romana’s illegitimate status and the fact that her real mother was a Native American. With this new knowledge, Ramona exclaims she must be with Alessandro and “return to her people”. That night Felipe and Father Salvierderra assist Ramona to escape from the ranch and elope with Alessandro. The movie picks up many months later days before Ramona and Alessandro’s wheat is ready to harvest. Ramona takes care of their newborn daughter “Eyes of the Sky” and Alessandro prepares for a day trip to shear sheep. Out of nowhere, Alessandro’s community of natives is attacked and evicted from their land by American settlers. The attack marks the beginning of Alessandro and Ramona’s troubles as they wander throughout Southern California trying to find a permanent home not threatened by American settlers. When a white doctor refuses to treat Ramona’s baby because of their ethnicity, Eyes of the Sky dies and Alessandro begins to go insane.

Alessandro slowly loses his mind due to constant humiliation. He feels guilty for taking Ramona from a life of comfort to “bootless wandering”. One day, Alessandro going through one of his episodes rides off on the horse of a white man and is shot and killed. Devastated and newly widowed, Ramona returns to Felipe and the ranch. Felipe falls quickly back in love with Ramona and marries her. They live happily with their children and the daughter of Romona and Alessandro becoming their favorite child.



  1. Solomon p 240
  2. Aubrey Solomon (2002). Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial History. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1.
  3. "New York Times: Ramona". NY Times. Retrieved June 2, 2008.
  4. New York Times: Ramona (1936), October 7, 1936, accessed February 14, 2011
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