"Ramona Waltz," 1927. Sheet music for piano and ukulele. Price: 2 shillings. Licensed by Leo Feist Inc. of New York; this edition with allegorical cover art by Fred Lowe "authorized for sale in the British Empire, exclusive of Canada, Newfoundland & Australasia, but not elsewhere."
The song was intended to accompany showings of Native American (Chicasaw) director Edwin Carewe's 1928 "Ramona," which is truer than other film versions to author Helen Hunt Jackson's intent of calling attention to the maltreatment of California Indians, which continued for many years after publication of her 1884 novel. (Most Native Americans had no standing in court after statehood and were denied U.S. citizenship until 1924.) One direct and chilling example is Carewe's portrayal of American settlers riding circles around and shooting up Ramona and Allesandro's home, in a reversal of early Hollywood's idea of Indians encircling covered wagons. Such a scene does not appear in other film adaptations.
The sheet music states the song is "dedicated to Dolores Del Rio," whom Carewe had discovered in Mexico. Del Rio portrays the title character; Carewe features Warner Baxter as Allesandro, Roland Drew as Felipe and Vera Lewis as the Señora.
This publication is a bit unusual in that most other versions of the sheet music feature the likeness of Dolores Del Rio on the cover.
About Edwin Carewe's "Ramona."
Director Edwin Carewe's "Ramona" is one of a handful of film adaptations of Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel, which was based in part on the people and settings of Rancho Camulos in the western Santa Clarita Valley.
While readers of the novel and most filmmakers were drawn to Jackson's idyllic portrayal of Old Spanish California, the author's actual intent was to draw attention to the mistreatment of Native Americans. Carewe's adaptation is truer than others to Jackson's intent in its depictions of white colonizers' abuses.
Like many films of the silent era, Carewe's "Ramona" was lost — until a copy turned up in Prague in the early 2000s. The story of the print is at least as fascinating as the movie itself.
The Nazis confiscated what proved to be the last surviving copy of Carewe's "Ramona" in the former Czechoslovakia, which they occupied in 1939, and brought it (and countless other films) to Berlin. Then, when the Soviet Union liberated Berlin, "Ramona" was removed to the Soviet film archive, Gosfilmofond, outside of Moscow. Next, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Czech archivist Myrtil Frida found it in Gosfilmofond (now the State Film Fund of the Russian Federation) and carried it back to Prague.
Finally in about 2009, Hugh Munro Neely, longtime (now former) curator of the Mary Pickford Institute of Film Education, learned of its existence. Together with colleagues Joanna Hearne, an authority on early native American representations in cinema, and Dydia DeLyser, author of the book, "Ramona Memories," Neely traveled to Prague. "Over the next several years," Neely writes, "we were able to help coordinate the return of this print to the United States where it was preserved by the Library of Congress."
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LW3696: pdf of original sheet music purchased 2020 by Leon Worden. Download individual pages here.