For the Soul of Rafael (1920)

For the Soul of Rafael begins when a young lady, Miss Young, is ready to leave the convent where she has been reared. Dona Luisa Artega, mother of Rafael and the young girl’s guardian, arranges a marriage between the two, because she thinks that Marta’s influence will rescue her son from the wild life he is leading and make a man of him.  The film is a unique portrayal of Mexican-Spanish people as depicted by Hollywood in the silent film era.  Historians and technical experts were consulted concerning the life and customs of early Californians and many scenes were shot in the Californian locations mentioned in the novel.

For the Soul of Rafael was Dorothy Yost’s first script and was adapted from Marah Ellis Ryan’s 1906 novel of the same name. The Los Angeles Times praised Yost as being Hollywood’s youngest and most successful scenarist. Yost was a prominent screenwriter whose career lasted from the silent era well into the sound era. After high school graduation, she moved to California to begin work for the film industry. Yost worked on 94 films, including Alice Adams (starring a young Katherine Hepburn), as well as sophisticated Astaire/Rogers musicals such as The Gay Divorcee, Swingtime and Roberta. She specialized in westerns, musicals and films involving animals.

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