US, 1987, 93 minutes, Colour.
Wayne Rogers, Mariclare Costello, Earl Holliman, Casey Siemaszko.
Directed by Dick Lowry.
American Harvest is a telemovie plea for Middle America, the wheat farmers and the harvesters. It has comment on the economic situation of the USA in the 80s farm subsidies, the growing of wheat, the wheat surplus. It also highlights the hazards of the weather, contractors, machinery and breakdown.
The film would be popular for the audiences in Middle America, city audiences might find it difficult to sustain interest in a film about wheat harvesters. However, the film offers family drama and conflict, the elements, especially a tornado, a destruction derby with farm machinery. Wayne Rogers is good as the stern patriarch, ex-marine who is most demanding on family and employees. Earl Holliman is his antagonistic brother-in-law. The Kansas and Nebraska locations and the actual harvests are effectively photographed. Direction is by Dick Lowry director of a great range of telemovies.
1. Entertaining telemovie? A piece of Americana? Middle America, the grains states, the harvests, the harvesting? Personal dramas?
2. The Middle American locations, the wheat fields, the harvests? On the road? the elements, the tornado and its
effect? The musical score?
3.Walt and his determination, to hold onto the farm, the ruining of his crop? The grudge against Hogan, his dead sister? Support of Mary Alice? Roger working for Hogan but staying with his father? The decision to go on the road, getting the equipment, second-hand equipment? Bank loans and support? Mary Alice and her ability to get the good machinery? The employing of the young men - and his harsh attitudes? Dismissing those with poor motives? His demands? The tent, the caravan, on the road? The hard work, the equipment collapsing, the injuries? His pressing on? Sabotage by Hogan and T.J. - and the crew's revenge with the help of the girls? The young man hustling and getting the customers? Gambling with the money? The tornado, the broken machinery? The final confrontation with Hogan - and the truth about his alcoholic sister? The decision to combine? The incident of the brawl in the bar and being before the judge, the judge taking Walt's side? The old marine, his determination, his relationship with his wife - and her stubborn determination when he was wrong, even refusing to get out of the truck? His son and his support? Their future?
4.Hogan, his relationship with his wife, her alcoholism? The grudge with Walt, leaving his crop and its being destroyed? Losing their customers? His poor harvesting? The demolition derby - and the attack on Walt? The clash, the tornado, the confrontation and the truth, the reconciliation? Working together? His niece and her love for Roger?
5.The young men on the crew, motives, recruited, hard work, letting off steam, the fight, loyalties? The hustler and his gambling with the money?
6.The farmers and their needs, the bankers, the machinery men?
7. The demolition derby and the power and force of machinery?
8. A picture of Middle America, the grain, harvests, hard work?