Recovered and Restored: 'Ramona,' Silent Movie by Chickasaw Filmmaker
Edwin Carewe’s real name was Jay Fox, and he was born in Gainesville, Texas, in 1883 and died in Los Angeles in 1940. His brothers Finis (1881-1949) and Wallace (1885-1958) were both accomplished Hollywood producers and screenwriters. All three brothers appear on the 1907 Chickasaw rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes.
Today, few are aware of Carewe’s rather prolific Hollywood career. According to Imdb.com, he directed 58 films, produced 20, acted in 47, and wrote screenplays for four. Older brother Finis had written Ramona’s screenplay and created its intertitles.
But for decades, Ramona was thought to be lost until archivists rediscovered it in the Národní Filmový Archiv in Prague. (Studios distributed their movies overseas, and many have since surfaced in Eastern Europe’s hidden vaults.) The Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress later transferred Ramona’s highly flammable original nitrate print to acetate safety stock.
The job of translating the Czech intertitles into English was especially challenging. “To us, the key was trying to get the [English] words back in there,” says Rob Stone, the Library’s Moving Image Curator. He adds that Ramona “is a downer of a story, but it’s a great movie.”
The UCLA Film & Television Archive will premiere Ramona in its Billy Wilder Theater with live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra. The Archive’s Head of Public Programs Shannon Kelley says the opportunity to screen Carewe’s restored film at UCLA “represents a tremendous honor.”
Visit edwincarewe.com for more information on Carewe’s life and career.
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