June 20, 2024
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Ethan Frome Comes to Life in Frigid Peacham, Vermont

Ethan Frome movie

The film successfully captures the winter atmosphere and blustery snowstorms of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. In 1996 a movie called ”The Spitfire Grill,” was also filmed in Peacham, VT. That movie was about a young woman who leaves prison and moves to Gilead, Maine (which was actually Peacham, VT, including scenes in the iconic Peacham Country Store)

Please note that due to any potential copyright issues, we have included illustrations rather than actual photos from the movie or the actors.

Filmed in Vermont, Ethan Frome starred Liam Neeson and Patricia Arquette

The movie, Ethan Frome, was based on the novel of the same name by Edith Wharton. The movie was set in the bleak, wintry countryside of New England and follows the story of Ethan Frome, a bitter and unhappy man trapped in a loveless marriage to his sickly wife. When a young, vivacious woman named Mattie Silver comes to live with the Fromes, Ethan finds himself drawn to her and begins an ill-fated affair. The film explores the themes of desire, isolation, and the consequences of forbidden love.

Ethan Frome Movie Vermont

The drama centers around a husband and wife (Ethan and Zeena), who need an extra hand around the house due to Zeena's weakening body and constant illnesses. The young woman who joins them, Zeena's pour cousin Mattie Silver, is a charming, vibrant person. Mattie and Ethan fall in love, creating a love triangle that eventually ends unhappily for all. Their triangle sets up a tragedy that scandalizes the whole town.

The Filming of Ethan Frome in Peacham, Vermont

Ethan Frome, was filmed on location at Peacham, VT., for seven weeks, with filming wrapping in March 1992. The film was released on March 12, 1993.Though it was filmed in Vermont, the Wharton's story was based in the fictional Berkshires town of Starkfield, Mass.

The Vermont winter temperatures were often minus-20 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Oh, it was very cold,” Neeson recalled. “It was a hard shoot,” Neeson commented. “Everybody who worked on it wasn't there for the money, but were there because they loved the story and wanted it to work.”

In the film, George Woodard, who plays a farmhand, recalls that camera equipment wouldn't work due to the low temperatures. Trailers with heaters were kept nearby so the actors could warm up. The property was sold just before filming, about 10 miles south of Groton.

Ethan Frome

According to an article in The Morning Call, Neeson was asked about the moral of the story of “Ethan Frome”…

“Don't cheat on your wife. Don't go sledding. Don't show off on a sled,” he joked. “No, you know, I think you follow your heart … We all try to … “

“I was staying in this fantastic little house in the middle of nowhere. There was a little grocery story two miles down the road,” he said. “After my third day I came back from work and there was this cardboard box full of groceries and a note from the store owner saying ‘Thought you might need these, pay me whenever you're passing or when you get time. ‘ “They were fabulous people. It was a hard shoot, but everybody who worked on it weren't there for the money but were there because they loved the story and wanted it to work, so it was a wonderful support team.”(courtesy of The Oklahoman)

Vermont locals including David Dellinger, Burt Porter and Rusty DeWees (best known as “the Logger”) also have small parts in the movie.

Ethan Frome
Ethan Frome
Wharton, Edith (Author); English (Publication Language)
$5.89 Amazon Prime
Sale
Ethan Frome
Ethan Frome
Joan Allen, Liam Neeson, Tate Donovan (Actors); Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
$10.29 Amazon Prime
Ethan Frome
Ethan Frome
Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand); Liam Neeson, Gil Rood, Tate Donovan (Actors); John Madden (Director) – Richard Nelson (Writer) – Stan Wlodkowski (Producer)
$3.59
Ethan Frome Illustrated
Ethan Frome Illustrated
Wharton, Edith (Author); English (Publication Language); 108 Pages – 07/01/2022 (Publication Date) – Independently published (Publisher)
$8.99 Amazon Prime
Ethan Frome (Dover Thrift Editions: Classic Novels)
Ethan Frome (Dover Thrift Editions: Classic Novels)
Edith Wharton (Author); English (Publication Language); 77 Pages – 01/01/1991 (Publication Date) – Dover Publications (Publisher)
$4.99 Amazon Prime
Sale
Ethan Frome (AmazonClassics Edition)
Ethan Frome (AmazonClassics Edition)
Audible Audiobook; Edith Wharton (Author) – Christopher Lane (Narrator); English (Publication Language)
$14.00
Ethan Frome
Ethan Frome
Wharton, Edith (Author); English (Publication Language)
$5.89 Amazon Prime
Ethan Frome
Ethan Frome
Wharton, Edith (Author); English (Publication Language)
$5.89 Amazon Prime
Ethan Frome (Wordsworth Classics)
Ethan Frome (Wordsworth Classics)
Edith Wharton (Author); English (Publication Language); 128 Pages – 10/05/2000 (Publication Date) – Wordsworth Editions Ltd (Publisher)
$6.99 Amazon Prime
Ethan Frome (Reader's Library Classics)
Ethan Frome (Reader's Library Classics)
Wharton, Edith (Author); English (Publication Language); 130 Pages – 12/22/2021 (Publication Date) – Reader's Library Classics (Publisher)
$6.99 Amazon Prime
Ethan Frome: The Original 1911 Unabridged And Complete Edition (A Edith Wharton Classics)
Ethan Frome: The Original 1911 Unabridged And Complete Edition (A Edith Wharton Classics)
Amazon Kindle Edition; Wharton, Edith (Author); English (Publication Language); 70 Pages – 09/24/2023 (Publication Date) – Global Publishers (Publisher)
$0.99

Update: We had posted some rare American Playhouse video links here that documented the making of Ethan Frome on location in Peacham, but unfortunately they have been removed from YouTube due to copyright issues.

Here's more information:
The Crossroads crew visited the set of “Ethan Frome” in Peacham, Vermont in February of 1992 and spent a day interviewing and filming the cast and crew of the feature film. Cast interviews include Liam Neeson in the lead role as Ethan; Joan Allen as Zeena; and Patricia Arquette as Mattie. Other interviews include: Francis Carlet of Peacham, the horse wrangler for the production; and Bess O'Brien who along with Jay Craven of the Northeast Kingdom-based “Kingdom County Productions,” did the local casting for “Ethan Frome.”

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