The Vintage


1h 32m 1957
The Vintage

Brief Synopsis

Two fugitives hide out in a vineyard.

Photos & Videos

The Vintage - Pier Angeli Publicity Stills

Film Details

Also Known As
Harvest Thunder, The Purple Harvest
Genre
Romance
Drama
Crime
Release Date
Apr 19, 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Location
France
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Vintage by Ursula Keir (London, 1953).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m
Film Length
8,270ft (12 reels)

Synopsis

Fleeing a murder charge, Italians Ernesto Barandero and his brother Giancarlo cross the French border in search of work harvesting grapes during the "vintage" season. While they wait at a pastoral vineyard farmhouse for the owner, Louis Morel, to return, his wife Leonne and her sister Lucienne befriend the men. Hearing explosions nearby, Lucienne, an effusive teenager, explains that farmers are setting off explosives that stir the air to prevent hailstorms. Soon after, Louis, frustrated by the precarious weather and his inability to decide when to harvest, orders the brothers off his land, but elderly Uncle Ton Ton quietly suggests that they wait in a nearby shack. Once inside the house, Louis rants about the needy workers, prompting Leonne to wistfully recall when her now heartless and preoccupied husband was more generous with the pickers and kinder to her. Softened by Leonne, Louis decides to harvest the next morning and allows Lucienne to take food to the brothers. Later at the shack, Lucienne notes that the brothers' calluses are not that of pickers and offers to teach the inexperienced workers how to harvest if they are hired. As Lucienne returns to the house, her would-be fiancé, Etienne Morel, jealous of her time alone with the men, urgently suggests they marry after the harvest, but Lucienne refuses him. A rainstorm develops that evening, causing Louis to become drunk and deliriously pray to God to save his crops. When Giancarlo and Ernesto find Louis passed out in the vineyard and bring him home later that night, Ernesto's brooding eyes intrigue a grateful Leonne. The next morning a brief scuffle between the newly arrived Spanish pickers and the brothers ensues. Jovial Spanish leader Eduardo Uriburri diffuses the tension by offering his hand in friendship and agreeing to share the shack with the brothers. Despite Etienne's protests that the brothers do not have work cards, Louis hires Ernesto and Giancarlo that day and orders everyone to work. At lunchtime, Leonne's young daughter Yolande spies Ernesto carving a portrait of her mother in a small block of wood. Ernesto befriends the girl and asks her to keep his work a secret. That afternoon policeman Berger, prompted by a report from Etienne, asks Louis to fire the brothers, but after the entire crew threatens to strike if the brothers are fired, Louis is forced to keep Ernesto and Giancarlo in order to save his crop. The next day, when Leonne questions Ernesto about his sullen behavior, he reveals that he and Giancarlo lost their parents and their home during the war and were forced to fend for themselves in a violent environment. When Ernesto returns to the shack, Giancarlo warns him that any further contact with Leonne will cause problems and takes the sculpture from Ernesto, who then challenges him to a fight. While Giancarlo calms his frantic brother down, he unknowingly drops the sculpture. That night Giancarlo discovers the sculpture is missing and retraces his steps, but dogs, set out to catch a chicken thief, attack him before he can find it. Assuming Giancarlo is the thief, Louis locks him up and promises to call the police in the morning. That night when Lucienne secretly visits Giancarlo to reveal her affection for him, he tries to explain to the teenager that her longing will pass. As Lucienne persists in hugging him, Giancarlo cannot resist kissing the girl. The next morning, after Yolande hands the sculpture to her mother explaining that Ernesto made it, Leonne realizes that Giancarlo could not use the sculpture to clear himself of the crime for fear of inciting Louis' jealousy. When Ernesto comes to the house to beg Leonne for help, he admits that he killed a man to protect an innocent victim and insists Leonne keep the figure. Ernesto is forced to suddenly hide when Louis enters the house and, catching sight of the sculpture, accuses his wife of infidelity. Leonne slaps her husband and defends herself stating that although there were no indiscretions between her and Ernesto, she has no regret that the young man made her feel desired. Shocked by his wife's honesty, Louis leaves the house and releases Giancarlo, who tells Lucienne to forget their amorous embrace the previous evening. Meanwhile, Uncle Ton Ton is caught stealing chickens and explains that, having once been the family patriarch, he is too embarrassed by his diminished family role to ask for anything as trivial as chocolate, so he has been trading chocolate for chickens with Eduardo. Moved, Louis offers to give Uncle Ton Ton chickens of his own. Meanwhile, Eduardo offers to take the brothers to Spain with the crew the next day and advises them to avoid the harvest celebration that evening. Later, Lucienne leaves the party to offer herself and her dowry, a nearby vineyard, to Giancarlo. Meanwhile at the house, Ernesto, guilt-ridden by the burden his brother assumed by fleeing with him, tells Leonne that he is leaving without Giancarlo, to free his brother. Within moments, the police arrive and inform Louis that Ernesto is wanted for murder. When Louis finds the fugitive with his wife, Leonne defends the young man as Louis loads his gun. She insists that it is Louis' jealousy, not Ernesto's crime, that is driving her husband to kill. Louis, defeated, unloads his gun and leaves the house. Ernesto professes his love to Leonne, but she does not encourage him because of her marriage commitment. Seeing that the police are out of sight, Leonne ushers Ernesto out the door. Yolande, recognizing Ernesto, calls him by name, alerting the police, who shoot and kill him. The next day, a grief-stricken Giancarlo refuses Eduardo's offer to continue to Spain working as a picker. As Leonne and Louis look on, Giancarlo takes the path leading from the house, where Lucienne rushes to his side and offers to show him "their" vineyard. Giancarlo embraces the young woman and lets her lead the way.

Photo Collections

The Vintage - Pier Angeli Publicity Stills
Here are a few photos of Pier Angeli, taken to publicize The Vintage (1957). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Film Details

Also Known As
Harvest Thunder, The Purple Harvest
Genre
Romance
Drama
Crime
Release Date
Apr 19, 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States
Location
France
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Vintage by Ursula Keir (London, 1953).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m
Film Length
8,270ft (12 reels)

Articles

The Vintage - The Vintage


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gave TV pioneer Jeffrey Hayden (Goodyear Playhouse, The Milton Berle Show) his first - and as it turns out only - opportunity to direct a feature film with this Cinemascope/Metrocolor adaptation of the 1953 novel by Ursula Keir. In The Vintage (1957), Italian brothers Mel Ferrer and John Kerr escape a troubled past by taking work in the South of France - specifically the vineyard of winemaker Leif Erickson, whose beautiful, unfulfilled wife (Michèle Morgan) and flowering teenage sister-in-law ("shy, lovely Pier Angeli," as the film's breathless trailer proclaimed) take more than a passing interest in the handsome young strangers. Metro head of production Dore Schary had high hopes for this pastoral romance tinged with violence, to the point of purchasing an actual vineyard in Provence to serve as the film's shooting location, but shooting was hampered by unforeseen problems (including a plague of wasps that stung cast and crew alike and the slow ripening of the vineyard harvest, which required the props department to paint the grapes purple) while audience indifference and critical contumely made The Vintage a costly misstep for Metro - to the tune of over $1,000,000 in lost revenue. Though he was offered a long-term studio contract, director Hayden elected to remain a small screen freelancer, helming episodes of such popular TV series as The Loretta Young Show, Route 66, Batman, and the 1980 miniseries adaptation of From Here to Eternity.

By Richard Harland Smith
The Vintage  - The Vintage

The Vintage - The Vintage

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer gave TV pioneer Jeffrey Hayden (Goodyear Playhouse, The Milton Berle Show) his first - and as it turns out only - opportunity to direct a feature film with this Cinemascope/Metrocolor adaptation of the 1953 novel by Ursula Keir. In The Vintage (1957), Italian brothers Mel Ferrer and John Kerr escape a troubled past by taking work in the South of France - specifically the vineyard of winemaker Leif Erickson, whose beautiful, unfulfilled wife (Michèle Morgan) and flowering teenage sister-in-law ("shy, lovely Pier Angeli," as the film's breathless trailer proclaimed) take more than a passing interest in the handsome young strangers. Metro head of production Dore Schary had high hopes for this pastoral romance tinged with violence, to the point of purchasing an actual vineyard in Provence to serve as the film's shooting location, but shooting was hampered by unforeseen problems (including a plague of wasps that stung cast and crew alike and the slow ripening of the vineyard harvest, which required the props department to paint the grapes purple) while audience indifference and critical contumely made The Vintage a costly misstep for Metro - to the tune of over $1,000,000 in lost revenue. Though he was offered a long-term studio contract, director Hayden elected to remain a small screen freelancer, helming episodes of such popular TV series as The Loretta Young Show, Route 66, Batman, and the 1980 miniseries adaptation of From Here to Eternity. By Richard Harland Smith

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although at the onset of production the film was titled The Vintage, two weeks into production the title changed to Harvest Thunder and continued to be titled as such until the end of production. Another working title for the film was The Purple Harvest. The opening onscreen credits read: "Photographed in the vineyards of Southern France." According to the May 9, 1957 New York Times review, the film was television director Jeffrey Hayden's first assignment as a motion picture director. The Hollywood Reporter production charts for the film credit Daniel Cathcart as the art director; however, only Jean Douarinou is credited onscreen. A July 5, 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that Don Dubbins was cast in the film; however, his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. Several reviews lauded the film for the beautiful photography of the French countryside, while criticizing the implausible characterization of American actors John Kerr and Mel Ferrer as Italian migrant workers, who both spoke American-accented English.