In early California, Señora Morena (Vera Lewis) runs a large sheep ranch. Her son and heir Felipe (Roland Drew) has fallen in love with her adopted daughter Ramona (Dolores Del Rio)... See full synopsis »
Dolores del Rio,
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Roy Del Ruth
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Some of the silliest casting in Hollywood history--but still a decent movie.
Back in the 1930s and 40s, Hollywood was extremely insensitive (and stupid) about casting folks for minority roles. However, that was the time and you just need to keep your politically correct instincts in check when you watch this one! Imagine.....Loretta Young playing a woman who is half American Indian and half Mexican! While this sounds dumb, understand that the likes of Rock Hudson played Indians in films--or Don Ameche cast as a full-blooded native like he is in "Ramona"!! As for J. Carrol Naish--like Anthony Quinn, he played just about everything (except blacks) in films--so it isn't surprising he's in this one playing a Mexican. Plus, frankly, he's played so many nationalities, most everyone at the time had no idea what his heritage really is!! But Loretta Young and Don Ameche--with their lovely American diction (especially Ameche, who is practically the epitome of politeness and class)!!! What were the executives thinking (or smoking)?! "Ramona" must have been a prestige picture for 20th Century-Fox, as it is filmed in beautiful 1930s-style Three-Strip Technicolor--a HUGE expense at the time and something reserved only for the best films. In fact, it was the first such film made by the studio.
When the film begins, Ramona is in love with a cultured man from a very good family. So does she....or so she thinks. Eventually the truth is discovered--she's a half-breed! And she's forced to leave her home by some real jerk-faces. But before she goes, her native friend (Ameche) tells her that he's loved her--and she is thrilled, as she loves him, too. So, they run away together and get married. However, their life is tough, as folks are quite prejudiced towards them--throwing them off their farm. Can they somehow find a place that will accept the strangely cultured couple--and their new baby?! Overall, I'd say the writing isn't bad (but it is a bit schmaltzy) and the film manages to be watchable in spite of some terrible casting.
By the way, if you want to see other films with equally ridiculous casting, try finding "The Conquerer" (with John Wayne as Genghis Khan and red-headed Susan Hayward as his bride, Bortai)--or most any Charlie Chan film.
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