|Index||8 reviews in total|
So many people seem to hate this film! Yes, it's flawed (script is generic and predictable) but I still liked it, as it entertained me and had interesting subject matter. And an interesting cast too... At least check it out to hear Hopper's Irish accent.
This is a very good movie. It is well done in all respects. It is a good script with good casting. It is a delight to see the two Roberts together even though Julia has a very small role. IF you like good old fashioned tales about good and evil, good guys and bad guys, crooks and decent people, you will love this movie. Dennis hopper does what he does best, play a mean and nasty person - in this case, the railroad baron. Eric Roberts takes on the role of hero and fills that role very well. He is forced into his heroic stance by circumstance not by choice, making it all the more entertaining. This movie has it all, a villain, crooked politicians, good politicians, betrayal, a love story, little guys against giants, people fighting for their land and homes, what more could you want. Fix yourself some popcorn, turn out the lights, sit back and allow yourself to be entertained in classic fashion. This movie does what all movies should do no political agenda, no great moral it is just good, old fashioned entertainment.
This was obviously a low budget film. It shows in every scene. What is nice to see is where it was made. A lot of the film was shot in Columbia, CA, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Sonora, CA. Some of the film was also shot in Jamestown, CA, very near Columbia. There is a railroad museum in Jamestown and they used some of the old trains in the picture. "High Noon" was also shot in Jamestown, as was "Back to the Future III".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Some Spoilers) Taking place in California's wine rich Naper Valley
circa 1895 the movie "Blood Red" has to do with a group of recently
arrived Italian immigrants who've finally achieved the American dream
of owning their own land. That's until a number of greedy and
unscrupulous railroad and cattle barons decided to take it away from
them! And with deadly force if necessary.
Using all the underhanded tactics available to him railroad bigwig Bradford Barrigan, Dennis Hooper, gets some of the wine growers-through treats and intimidation- to give up their land so he can bulldoze his railroad, the Barrigan Pacific, through it. It's when defiant Sabastian Collogero, Giancarlo Gianne, puts his foot down and cause a wine growers revolt that Barrigan calls in reinforcements, or paid head crackers, to put the wine growers in their proper place. Off their land and on the welfare rolls.
Not really interested in the family business young handsome and fun loving, especially towards the young ladies, Marco, Eric Roberts, is having a lot of trouble with his dad Don Sabastian is having an affair with his bitter rival, in the wine growing business, Don Antonio's, Al Ruscio, pretty daughter Angelica, Lara Harris. These differences between the two families, Marcco's and Angelica's, are soon forgotten when Barrigan through his top thug Andrews, Burt Young, starts making trouble for them.
With Sabastian refusing to give into Barrigan's unreasonable demands, give me your land or else, he ends up being brutally beaten and strung up by Andrews' goons who also attempted to burn down his home with his family in it. With negotiations, between the local wine growers and Barrigan conducted by the well meaning but very naive state Senator Endicott (Gary Swanson) falling apart, due to Barrigan's stonewalling, Carlo together with his two friends American Indian Samuel Joseph, Joseph Running Fox, and the not at all Italian looking fellow Italian Enzio, Michael Madsen, take matters-as well as their sturdy Italian shotguns-into their own hands.
Fine period piece reflecting on the bitter struggle of the common man against the big cooperations when the United States was coming into its own as a world power in the beginning of the 20th Century.
Feeling his native Italy Sabastian expected to realize his dream in finding a land of freedom justice and opportunities, not with its streets paved with gold, that would allow him to provide and care for his family. Having thugs like Barrigan and Andrews trying to take all he worked for, his land, away from him almost destroyed, as it did him, that dream. That's until his son Marco woke up and finally smelled the coffee-or cappuccino-and stopped chasing girls and got down to business by kicking a** in kicking Barrigan Andrews and all his goons out of Napa Valley.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
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. 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. 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.
Sebastian Collogero (Giancarlo Giannini) is the patriarch of a Sicilian
family farming and making wine in rural California. His roguish son
Marco (Eric Roberts) pursues neighbor Antonio Segestra's daughter
Angelica. They are an immigrant community proud to be new citizens.
Land baron William Bradford Berrigan (Dennis Hopper) is looking to take
over the valley to build his railroad. Sebastian Collogero leads the
farmers in opposition. Mr. Berrigan brings in Andrews (Burt Young) and
his thugs to kill Collogero. Devoted daughter Maria Collogero (Julia
Roberts) witnesses the lynching and Marco leads a war against Berrigan.
Eric Roberts has his fluffy flowing hair and struts around while overacting. The release was delayed and this is actually one of the first acting roles for Julia. That's probably the only interesting aspect of this movie. It is visually more align with a TV movie although director Peter Masterson obviously is shooting higher. The overall quality is not good and its higher aspirations only make it worst.
This is playing On-Demand and is presented in its original 1.85:1
aspect ratio for the first time on home video.
The Good: The acting talent speaks for itself: Eric and Julia Roberts, Burt Young, Giancarlo Giannini, Elias Koteas, Michael Madsen... The cinematography by Toyomichi Kurita is beautiful. Themes: Late 19th century California, the beginning of wine culture, immigrant vs. business interests, William Jennings Bryan populism vs robber baron statism. All the tools are there for a great film.
The Bad: The screenplay is the problem. It needed a page one rewrite from someone who could write dialogue, and who could write scenes to emphasize the political, religious, and economic issues of the period. The characterization is almost non existent, with only Giannini's part getting some depth. There is so much wasted talented in this film. Usually Eric Roberts is criticized for overacting, but this picture could have definitely benefited from his passion. Also the music by Carmine Coppola is so old-fashioned and silly that it borders on soap opera cues.
The first half will keep your attention. After that, it becomes boring. Bad dialogue, bad music, and pedestrian mise-en-scene kill the movie. I was actually rewriting the scenes in my head as I was watching the film.
If this movie hadn't been shot in color, I might have mistaken it for a '40s B Western. Tell the truth: the plot was lifted from The Mark of Zorro and the names were changed, right? At least those '40s actors didn't appear to forget their lines. Or maybe no lines were written for those embarrassing scenes in Blood Red where there are painful, inexplicable gaps in both dialogue and action. This film is noteworthy only as the single film to date in which both Julia and Eric Roberts have appeared together. That's the only reason I watched it as long as I did. And what brilliant, inspired casting! They played brother and sister. My Video Movie Guide is right: this is a turkey.
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