P. J. Ramster

P. J. (Percy John) Ramster opened an acting school in Sydney in 1918, promising to give roles in his own films to the students. His recruits included many from Sydney's high society, only a few of whom graduated to professional acting careers. Elsa Granger, the star of several Ramster productions, had acted briefly on the Sydney stage before joining Ramster, and in 1922 sought work in Hollywood, without success. William Shepherd, another of Ramster's trainees, later became a highly proficient film editor and worked on numerous features.
P. J. Ramster ventured into production energetically but, hampered by ineffective distribution and exhibition, his work became increasingly sporadic, until he ceased production altogether in 1928 after The Russell Affair. Mated in the Wilds was his first feature and because the cast was unpaid and could work only on weekends, it took a year to complete. Locations were used in and around Sydney, with much celebration of fashionable society and with motorcycles replacing the customary horses in the bush scenes. The film opened commercially at the Shell Theatre, Sydney, on 13 August, but attracted little attention from either the public or the press.
In addition to features, Ramster produced a number of short comedies and dramas, including High Heels (1918), a one-reel drama with Fred Oppey and Elsa Granger; a comedy, Should Girls Kiss Soldiers? (1918), the first of several Ramster films titled with rhetorical questions; Jasamine Freckel's Love Affair (1921) an imitation of Mack Sennett's 'bathing beauty' comedies, starring Nancy Simpson; The Tale of a Shirt (1922), a two-reel comedy starring the story's author, Charles Russell, about a man who learns on a holiday that he is not as old as he thought; and Cattiva Evasione (or A Naughty Elopement), a comedy made in 1923 ostensibly for Sydney's ltalian community, with a story by a local ltalian actor, Angelo Zommo. None made much visible commercial or critical impact. Pike & Cooper: 107.

Mated In The Wilds (P. J. Ramster, 1921) 55 min.

Triumph Of Love, The (P. J. Ramster, 1922)

Should A Doctor Tell? (P. J. Ramster, 1923)

Rev. Dell's Secret, The (P. J. Ramster, 1924)

Should A Girl Propose? (P. J. Ramster, 1926) P J Ramster Photoplays, prod, wr P J Ramster, dp Jack Fletcher; Cecil Pawley (Ellis Swift), Thelma Newling (Esma), Rex Simpson, Joy Wood, Norma Wood; "... rescue of the heroine by rope from the surf and rocks at Bondi." (Pike & Cooper); 4000 ft

Those who Love (P. J. Ramster, Paulette McDonagh, 1926) MCD Productions, prod. Paulette McDonagh, wr. Paulette McDonagh, prod. manager & art dir. Phyllis McDonagh; Marie Lorraine [Isobel McDonagh]

Uncertain of their ability, the [McDonagh] sisters hired a more experienced director, P. J. Ramster, to direct the film, but found that his work did not meet their demands. Paulette progressively assumed responsibility for the production, and Ramster was relegated to the position of 'technical director'.

Russell Affair, The (P.J. Ramster, 1928)


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