Blood Red, the history of a Sicilian family who emigrated to America years ago and now lives in California cultivating vine. The problems start when they have to confront themselves with a powerful landowner who comports like the local boss.
Bland script, bland direction…..
Blood Red, this film was actually shot and made in 1987 but it didn’t hit the theaters until 1990. As I watched this film I could see the good intentions that it had but I’m afraid there wasn’t much talent or experience behind the camera to make it work. Story takes place in California in the 1890’s and some Italian immigrants who own vineyards are told they have to leave their land so a railroad can come through.
Dennis Hopper plays William Berrigan who has offered money for the land but has been turned down. Giancarlo Giannini is Sebastian Collogero and he is to proud to leave and asks the other farmers to stand up and fight to keep their land. Berrigan grows impatient and hires a bunch of thugs to force everyone to vacate, Blood Red.
These thugs are headed by a man named Andrews (Burt Young) and he doesn’t hesitate to kill anyone who gives him problems. Andrews and his men kill Collogero one night and his son Marco (Eric Roberts) vows to seek revenge and get the land back for everyone. Marco blows up the bridge that the railroad was going to need and they also destroy a tunnel and this sets back the project for several months and Berrigan now starts to get heat from other investors. This film was directed by Peter Masterson and besides “The Trip To Bountiful” he has at best a spotty career in directing. He’s a fine actor but here he seems to be in over his head.
This was a film that desperately needed more attention to detail and its easy to see that it didn’t occur Blood Red. Roberts hairstyle is perfect for the 1980’s but this is suppose to be 1890! The cinematographer is Toyomichi Kurita who ended up being a good cameraman but this was only his fourth film and he certainly had not learned everything at that time. Its not a sharp looking film at all and I noticed in several shots during the day that the sun would be glaring off of something and the scenes just don’t have the crispness that would have helped the overall look. The script is just a revenge story and no surprises take place during the course of the film.
We know Giannini is going to get it and it seemed just a matter of time. The cast is top notch and they do their best but the whole film comes across as uninspired. This was promoted as Julia Roberts film debut but I’m not sure that is correct. She might have appeared in a film called “Firehouse” before this.