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  • Circle Cinema 10 South Lewis Avenue Tulsa, OK, 74104 United States (map)


Year: 1928 / Runtime: 82 min. + Panel: 30 min.
Directed by Edward Carewe

Ramona Come Closer: Composing and Adapting an Historically-based Score for a Lost Silent Classic. Walter Aaron Clark, Aaron Fruchtman and Victor Payan

In 1928 United Artists released the silent film Ramona, based on Helen Hunt Jackson’s beloved tale of Old California. A star vehicle for Dolores Del Rio, Ramona was an early example of producing a new song to promote the movie. The song, “Ramona” written by Mabel Wayne and L. Wolfe Gilbert, became an international hit. The worldwide popularity of the title song endured, yet the film, unlike the tune, was lost for 80 years. Alone print was discovered in the Czech Republic in 2010 and restored by the Library of Congress.

In 2015 David Spear and Joseph Julian Gonzalez composed a new score of original themes, arranged the title song, and adapted sacred and Spanish classical music. In the main title, “Ramona” is sung and recurs throughout in instrumental variations. In “The Sunrise Hymn,” a scene where Ramona meets her future husband, a friar sings a hymn and is joined antiphonally by his congregants. Cántico del Alba (Morning Song), chanted daily in the California missions of the mid-1800s, was adapted and synchronized in an effective vocal arrangement matching the on-screen performance. Enrique Granados’s song, “La Maja Dolorosa” is arranged for violin to underscore two final scenes.

The composers will mount a screening of Ramona and lead a performance of their score with NYU musicians. After the screening a discussion of the scoring process and use of historical musical sources will be held with the composers and the authors of the abstract before being opened up to the audience.

Presented by the University of Tulsa, Tulsa American Film Festival and Turner Classic Movies Backlot and screened as part of Circle Cinema's: Second Saturday Silents.

Tickets available at

Earlier Event: September 29