AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Rose of the Rancho
Director: Marion Gering (Dir)
Release Date:   10 Jan 1936
Premiere Information:   New York opening: week of 7 Jan 1936
Production Date:   began 27 Jun 1935; retakes shot late Oct--early Nov 1935
Duration (in mins):   85
Duration (in reels):   9
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Cast:   John Boles (Jim Kearney)  
    Gladys Swarthout (Rosita Castro [also known as] Don Carlos)  
    Charles Bickford (Joe Kincaid)  
    Grace Bradley (Flossie)  
    Willie Howard (Pancho Spiegelglass)  
    Herb Williams (Phineas P. Jones)  
    H. B. Warner (Don Pasqual Castro)  
    Charlotte Granville (Dona Petrona)  
    Don Alvarado (Don Louis [Espinosa])  
    Minor Watson (Jonathan Hill)  
    Louise Carter (Guadalupe)  
    Pedro de Cordoba (Gomez [also known as] Cortez)  
    Paul Harvey (Boss Martin)  
    Arthur Aylesworth (Sheriff James)  
    Harry Woods (Bull Bangle)  
    Russell Hopton (Stranger, Frisco)  
    Benny Baker (Hill-Billy boy)  
    James Marcus (Very old Spaniard)  
    Robert Kortman (Kincaid henchman)  
    Ted Oliver (Kincaid henchman)  
    Merrill McCormick (Kincaid henchman)  
    Evelyn Selbie (Old woman)  
    George Bookasta (Bellows boy)  
    Harry Semels (Blacksmith)  
    Lalo Encinas (Overseer)  
    Eleanor Virzie (Small girl)  
    Ernest S. Adams (Bus boy)  
    Robert E. Homans (Passenger)  
    Lew Kelly (Coach driver)  
    Ed Dearing (Stranger)  
    Russell Powell (Bartender)  
    Jack Norton (Croupier)  
    Eddie Dunn (Waiter)  
    Sam Blum (Master of ceremonies, Tecolaro)  
    Nelson McDowell (Decrepit old man)  
    Eddie Borden (Barfly)  
    Redmond Flood (Drunk at table)  
    Lester Sharpe (Bystander in saloon)  
    S. S. Simon (Man at pancho's table)  
    Olin Francis (Bouncer)  
    Paul Sotoff (Bystander)  
    Ivan Christy (Bystander)  
    Sam Lufkin (Bystander)  
    Edwin J. Brady (Bystander)  
    Lillian Pearl (Comedy dancer)  
    Charles Stevens (Peon spy)  
    Frank Lackteen (Peon spy)  
    Charles Middleton (Horse doctor)  
    Charles Morris (Old Spaniard)  
    Jules Cowles (Vigilante)  
    Sam Appel (Vigilante)  
    Jack Perry (Vigilante)  
    Harry Lamont (Vigilante)  
    Nick Thompson (Vigilante)  
    John Nasborough (Vigilante)  

Summary: In Monterey, in 1852, shortly after California is made a state, the peaceful Spanish region lies helpless against the plundering of ruthless land grabbers. To protect families and property from murderous attacks, the ranchers band together as vigilantes and are led by the mysterious, masked Don Carlos. Although elderly Don Pasqual Castro urges the alcalde to use his influence to stop the vigilantes, the alcalde will do nothing to thwart the predatory raids of Joe Kincaid and his men. Kincaid files claims on local ranches that were given to various families generations before by the king of Spain, violently expelling the occupants as squatters when they are unable to provide deeds to the land. Pasqual's daughter Rosita is engaged to Don Louis Espinosa, who does not believe in taking action to thwart Kincaid, but Rosita listens to Dona Petrona, who urges taking the law into one's own hands. Rosita is, in fact, the masked Don Carlos. Juan, the bartender in the Golden Nugget, which Kincaid's men frequent, regularly sends word to Rosita of Kincaid's upcoming attacks, and Rosita sings to alert her men to assemble. From the stagecoach, Jim Kearney sees Kincaid about to be lynched by the vigilantes and saves him, believing that executions should be the government's business. That very evening Rosita transforms herself from Don Carlos to the queen of the fiesta and meets Kearney on the way to the celebration. There, she makes Kearney aware of her interest in him by dancing on his sombrero during a song. Rosita and Kearney begin to meet regularly until Pasqual makes her pledge, as a woman engaged since birth, to see him no more. Kearney, meanwhile, has become a friend of Kincaid, who is sincerely grateful to him for saving his life. Rosita learns of their fellowship and suspects Kearney is an outlaw, but is more concerned that Kearney might meet another woman. Rosita summons the vigilantes to a meeting, and when Kearney interrupts her as she is changing her dress, he assumes she is Don Carlos' mistress. Upon arriving at the rendezvous, the vigilantes take Kearney prisoner, and when Rosita releases him, they disband, assuming she has betrayed them. Frisco, a recently released convict, informs Kincaid that Kearney is a federal agent. Rosita is warned by Juan that Kincaid is planning a final raid, and as Kearney finally realizes that Rosita is Don Carlos, he joins the vigilantes in the defense of the Pasqual ranch and kills Kincaid and defeats his forces. 

Production Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Marion Gering (Dir)
  Robert Florey (Dir of retakes)
Producer: Adolph Zukor (Pres)
  William LeBaron (Prod)
Writer: Frank Partos (Scr)
  Charles Brackett (Scr)
  Arthur Sheekman (Scr)
  Nat Perrin (Scr)
  Harlan Thompson (Adpt)
  Brian Hooker (Adpt)
Photography: Leo Tover (Photog)
Art Direction: Hans Dreier (Art dir)
  Ernst Fegte (Art dir)
Film Editor: Hugh Bennett (Ed)
Costumes: Travis Banton (Miss Swarthout's cost des by)
Sound: Martin M. Paggi (Sd rec)
  Louis H. Mesenkop (Sd rec)
  Frank Goodwin (Sd rec)
Dance: LeRoy Prinz (Dance ensembles staged by)
Country: United States

Songs: "If I Should Lose You," "Thunder Over Paradise," "Little Rose of the Rancho," "Got a Girl in Cal-i-for-ni-ay," "There's Gold in Monterey," "Where Is My Love" and "The Padre and the Bride," music and lyrics by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin.
Composer: Ralph Rainger
  Leo Robin
Source Text: Based on the play Rose of the Rancho by Richard Walton Tully and David Belasco (New York, 27 Nov 1906).
Authors: David Belasco
  Richard Walton Tully

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Paramount Pictures, Inc. 20/1/1936 dd/mm/yyyy LP6071 Yes

PCA NO: 1463
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Noiseless Recording

Genre: Western
Sub-Genre: Historical
Subjects (Major): California--History--1846-1850
  Land rights
  Male impersonation
Subjects (Minor): Bartenders
  Fathers and daughters
  Government agents
  Law and order

Note: According to the HR review, the film, which was in production for nearly five months, cost over $1,000,000. According to a news item in DV on 25 Oct 1935, Robert Florey directed ten days of retakes for this film after director Marion Gering left the production to work on another film. According to a modern source, Florey directed retakes of the opening scenes of the film at the Paramount ranch. The pressbook noted that the film was the first to use the "so-called 'reverberation track,'" which used two non-directional microphones, and had just been developed by Electrical Research Products Corp. The microphones enabled photographers to shoot nearly a 360 degree circle around actors Gladys Swarthout and John Boles during the singing of "Rose of the Rancho." This film marked the screen debut of Swarthout, a Metropolitan Opera star. This was the first film in which Willie Howard acted. He also appeared in the 1935 Paramount film Millions in the Air , which was released first, but was shot later. A news item in HR on 28 Dec 1935 stated that Ralph Rainger was a guest artist on the Shell radio broadcast, where he played the score he wrote for this film. Rose of the Rancho was first filmed in 1914 by Paramount. Cecil B. DeMille and Wilfred Buckland directed and Bessie Barriscale starred in this silent version (see above). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   2 Aug 35   p. 2.
Daily Variety   25 Oct 35   p. 5.
Daily Variety   26 Dec 36   p. 1.
Daily Variety   7 Jan 36   p. 3.
Film Daily   4 Jan 36   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jun 35   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Dec 35   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Jan 36   p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily   4 Jan 36   p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald   17 Aug 35   pp. 41-42.
Motion Picture Herald   11 Jan 36   p. 52.
New York Times   9 Jan 36   p. 25.
Variety   15 Jan 36   p. 18.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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