Blood Red , a saga of oppressed Sicilian winegrowers in 19th century California, is an unsucessful throwback to earlier forms of filmmaking. Project was announced in 1976 by producer Judd Bernard, filmed in 1986 and given a perfunctory regional release in summer 1989. It was the first-time screen teaming of siblings Eric and Julia Roberts.
A robust Giannini is patriarch of one of two families in Brandon, Calif., and soon is warring with robber baron railroad magnate Dennis Hopper (fitted with an unconvincing Scottish brogue here) determined to get his land for his railroad’s right of way. Giannini’s rebellious son (Roberts), is in love with the beautiful daughter (Lara Harris) of another winegrowing clan.
Roberts is more subdued than usual as the script fails to develop a three-dimensional character for him. His scenes with real-life sister Julia, cast as his sister, are intriguing because of the visual match. She doesn’t get much chance to emote, but that nascent star quality already is evident.