Monday, August 16, 2010

Savage Harvest (1981)

On Friday it will be six months since I started this blog. The one thing that amazes me is that the more films I and my contributors write about, the more films we all find. It seems like the more they are making movies the more that get pushed aside.

In honor of the six month mark of the blog I'm going to do a week of really off the radar movies. I mean these are films that I'm guessing are only alive in the memory of the very few people who saw them, some appear never to have gone to home video, some, the one Friday, appears only to have been on a VCD from Mainland China. These are films you'll really have to search for and even then you may not find them.

I begin with Savage Harvest which I recently converted from VHS to DVD.

I saw this in a theater when the film was released in an abbreviated release in 1981. I remember riding my bicycle to the theater in Plainview to see it at a theater that's now a supermarket. There weren't many of us in the theater. If I remember correctly this was released right before Memorial Day and got a release that ran to the following Wednesday when what ever the big Memorial day release took its slot.

I next saw the film when it played on HBO the following year (when I taped it).

After that the film disappeared into the void.

The plot of the film is based on actual events in Africa. With a drought wiping out the natural food selection for the lions they started to come into camps and homes and attack people. This film concerns a divorced couple, their kids and the lions that attack their house in the country.

This is a small scale thriller with Tom Skerrit and Michelle Phillips. At the time this was big screen material, now its more the sort of thing that's TV movie fodder. This isn't to say its a bad film, its not, I simply say this to explain why the film has kind of fallen by the wayside, its too much like stuff they are making now (though its considerably better).

The film starts off with attacks in a village, warnings of the lions roaming about before focusing on the well off family of Michelle Phillips. She's divorced from Tom Skerrit who is, if I remember correctly, a guide or hunter of some sort. When word reaches him that there maybe trouble near his family's home he heads back and arrives in time to get trapped with everyone else.

Not overly graphic this is a good little film that tells its engaging story and then gets off. It is, as I said what would now be considered a really good TV movie.

The lions are a mixture of the real thing and men in suits or partial suits, but its so well done that I dare you to be able to tell where the real one end and the fake one's begin. I remember seeing a promotional making of film on HBO between screenings and I remember being really impressed at how well they blended it all together. Frankly I still am.

I like this movie a great deal. There has to be something about the film when it stays with you for almost 30 years between viewings.

If you can find a copy of the film its worth picking up for not too much. In trying to find pictures of the film I've run across several collectors who are offering the film for sale so it is out there.

Its another film that's really unfairly lost to the ages.


  1. I was 11 years old when I saw this movie. It scared the crud out of me and I loved it! I've tried to find it on dvd but it doesn't seem to be out there anywhere. I would seriously love to add Savage Harvest to my movie collection. Damn good movie!

  2. Would it be possible to share Your Home-made DVD with the world ?

  3. Like some, I have seen this movie at a very tender age, and after 30 something years, the title is still fresh in my mind. Although a bit scary, I enjoyed this movie. I have been searching for a copy but can't seem to put my hand on one and so my search contiues.

  4. i collected a copy way back .....recently i converted it into a dvd....but i never rechecked this dvd how it is done.....i simply love the movie and like to make a film of that standard next year,,,,

    1. This movie is just superb! But not available anywhere. Can you please share the DVD in any file format ?

  5. I saw this movie many years ago on VHS. It is just awesome..TOO GOOD! I tried everywhere but couldn't get it on DVD. If anybody has it, please share in AV file format. We all will be very thankful.

    1. All Clues and No SOlutions in the "Sources" listing in the sidebar has the film for sale

    2. That's great ! Any idea how is the A/V quality of that DVD on sale there ? Have you obtained it from there ?

    3. I bought a copy from them. Its a very good, very watchable copy that looks like it was taken off a clean VHS copy which is what the source would have to be at this point. Actually the print should graded

      Actually All Clues is a great place and if you have any questions ask Michael Little who is wonderful.

  6. I saw this movie many years ago on VHS. It is just awesome..TOO GOOD! I tried everywhere but couldn't get it on DVD. If anybody has it, please share in AV file format. We all will be very thankful.