Wild Harvest

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Wild Harvest
Directed by Tay Garnett
Produced by Robert Fellows
Screenplay by John Monks, Jr.
Based on story by Houston Branch
Starring Alan Ladd
Dorothy Lamour
Robert Preston
Lloyd Nolan
Music by Hugo Friedhofer
Cinematography John F. Seitz
Edited by Billy Shea
George Tomasini
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
September 26, 1947
Running time
92 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2,550,000 (US rentals)[1]

Wild Harvest is a 1947 film directed by Tay Garnett. It stars Alan Ladd and Dorothy Lamour.[2]

Plot[edit]

Joe Madigan's crew harvests wheat for farmers. Jim Davis, a good mechanic who irresponsibly drinks and gambles too much, is fired by his friend, but atones with a heroic act during a fire.

Alperson's rival crew is getting jobs by under-bidding Joe's. A farmer's flirtatious niece, Fay Rankin, finds a field for Joe's workers and then unsuccessfully tries to seduce him. She wants to come along and sets her sights on Jim instead, marrying him.

Fay's interference becomes a problem. Joe ends up owing money and Alperson tries to buy his combines. Fay makes another play for Joe, who calls her "cheap" and "poisonous." Jim catches her slapping Joe, which leads to a fight between the men.

Joe's loyal crew member King catches thievery of wheat by Jim and reports it. Joe, almost broke, is saved again by a penitent Jim, who sells Fay's car, enraging her. Fay finally reveals to Jim that she never loved him at all and that their marriage was a "joke." Joe and Jim team up on a new 3,000-acre job, making them prosperous at last.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was based on an original screen story called The Big Haircut by Houston Branch, which focused on wheat harvesters who travel across the country doing their job. "The big haircut" was their slang term for the work they do; the topic was thought to be especially topical because of a world wide bread shortage at the time. It was bought by Paramount in May 1946 specifically as a vehicle for Alan Ladd. A.I. Bezzerides was hired to work on the script.[3] Tay Garnett signed to direct and Brian Donlevy was originally announced as Ladd's co star.[4]

Before a final script and cast had been confirmed, second unit filming commenced in July 1946 at the Russell Giffen ranch, 47 miles north of Fresno in the San Joaquin Valley. Tay Garnett and the film crew shot footage of a real wheat harvest involving 27 combines and Alan Ladd. [5] Female lead Dorothy Lamour was not cast until August.[6] William Demarest also joined in the cast.[7] Eventually Donlevy was replaced by Lloyd Nolan, who was borrowed from 20th Century Fox. Demarest dropped out and Robert Preston was cast as the third lead.[8][9]

The cast included a young woman called Caren Marsh. She was a bit part actor who had appeared in a Paramount training film warning military personnel against the dangers of women. So many navy and army men wrote in asking for Marsh's picture that Paramount signed her to a long term contract; Wild Harvest was her first appearance.[10]

Filming was meant to start on 2 September 1946 but was postponed a day so Alan Ladd could enjoy his birthday.[11] Filming did not finish until November 1946, ten days behind schedule, casting production of Ladd's next film, Saigon, to be postponed.[12]

The film was retitled Wild Harvest in December.[13]

The wheat field fire was filmed in part by using miniatures and special effects. These were overseen by Byron Haskin, his last assignment in that capacity for Paramount before he became a director.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Top Grossers of 1947", Variety, 7 January 1948 p 63
  2. ^ http://allmovie.com/work/wild-harvest-117037
  3. ^ PARAMOUNT BUYS HARVESTING STORY: Studio Will Produce Houston Branch's 'The Big Haircut' --Lead to Alan Ladd Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 11 May 1946: 34.
  4. ^ LIBERTY FILMS BUY NOVEL BY BELDEN: George Stevens Will Produce 'Give Us This Night,' Story of Australian War Bride Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 13 June 1946: 24.
  5. ^ Epic of Wheat Harvest Filmed: Combines by Score Chug Through Fields of Grain for 'Big Haircut' Millier, Arthur. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 14 July 1946: C1
  6. ^ PRESSBURGER BUYS MAUGHAM'S NOVEL: United Artists Producer Pays $200,000 for 'Then and Now' --Gov. Davis to Do Film Achard Signed by Paramount Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 05 Aug 1946: 17.
  7. ^ ennifer Likely 'Lily;' 'U-I' Buys First Story Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 20 Aug 1946: A3.
  8. ^ Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 21 Aug 1946: 26.
  9. ^ KELLY AND GLAZER BUY 'HALF CASTE': Australian Novel to Serve as Basis for First of Their Two United Artists Pictures Brandt Engages Lavery Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 05 Sep 1946: 34.
  10. ^ RKO, ARGOSY PACT APPEARS IMMINENT: Two Studios Likely to Work Out Production Agreement --Roles for James Mason Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 29 Aug 1946: 36.
  11. ^ Looking at Hollywood Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) [Chicago, Ill] 03 Sep 1946: 26.
  12. ^ PARAMOUNT NAMES LAKE, LADD TO FILM: Studio Will Co-Star Team in 'Saigon,' Adventure Story-- Fenton to Be Director Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 29 Oct 1946: 42
  13. ^ 'PADDY' LEAD GOES 'TO PEGGY CUMMINS: Actress Will Depict Irish Girl in Remake by Fox Studios of Gertrude Page Novel Film on Whitman Poem Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 06 Dec 1946: 28.
  14. ^ EXPOSING A FEW SECRET CAMERA TRICKS: An Expert on Special Effects Lets a Few Illusions Fall Where They May By ELIZABETH PALLETTE. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 25 May 1947: X4.

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