The Sugarland Express 1974 (1974) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: A woman attempts to reunite her family by helping her husband escape prison and together kidnapping their son. But things don't go as planned when they are forced to take a police hostage on the road. Runtime: 110 mins Release Date: 29 May 1974
Spielberg's sleeper- a tragic-comedy that delivers what it proposes (by Quinoa1984)
Before Jaws propelled Steven Spielberg to the moon, he was a television director, often on episodes of Columbo and Night Gallery. Then came Duel, his taut, experimental feat of man vs. man in machines thriller that made him notable, if not bankable, in the Hollywood eye. His first theatrical release, The Sugarland Express, is to me still one of his ten best maybe not top five, but up there . Along with his screenwriters whom would all go to win at Cannes , Spielberg brings a true story with a sense of the tragic realism, but also the sense of adventure and fun that goes into Spielberg's <more>
most entertaining films. There's usually a sense of excitement, but one can sense this is not the kind of story that will end up as the main characters think.Goldie Hawn as pretty as she is dramatic and chippy and William Atheron later impressionable in Ghostbusters, very much so here , are a husband and wife- the husband is in jail at the start of the film, and Hawn breaks him out with little trouble. They have a custody battle, literally, going on with their son, who is away at a home. They have to go through Texas- aka the 'Sugarland Express'- but it won't be easy. Soon there's a pursuit across the state, as the couple becomes rather famous in their simple pursuit of getting the one they love. Hawn and Atherton play off each other well, and Spielberg even at his young age as a director here gets very good performances out of them, especially out of Atherton who has a kind of urgent, tense, but focused way about him throughout. Hawn here isn't totally in the kind of mode like in her vehicle comedies- she's playing the worried mother, as determined as her husband, but her performance still contains a kind of naiveté that's crucial to the character.And in full widescreen glory Spielberg flexes his technical chops to a full capacity. He doesn't make the film as a thriller like with Duel, but it still drives suspense on in its road movie way. There are a couple of shots that are done for the first time see trivia to great effect, and there is a scene in a small town I still remember very well due to the amount of people that are in it, and how Spielberg directs this wonderfully. In some ways this is like one of those Lifetime movies crossed with Smokey and the Bandit only played more for realism; there's something very interesting that we don't get to see much with the son, he's always in a world of his own inside the house, as the situation builds on the outside.This all builds up to an ending that some have said doesn't work, or like with some of Spielberg's other films, War of the Worlds for example is too abrupt. I found that it worked just as well as with the opening scenes. It's realistic, at least for the period, and its important to remember this is based on a true story, and in these establishing and closing scenes the audience gets the real meat of the story Catch Me if You Can did this too, though in a different way , and then in the middle some of the more dramatized parts come in. It wasn't a smash success on its first release, but it made enough of an impression with its win at Cannes and its writers guild nomination ironically it was nominated for Best Comedy to get Spielberg his next gig, which ended up being the real test of his career. As a nifty tale of overly concerned parents on-the-run, its really very impressive.
The best movie I've ever seen!!!!! (by Atalya Nir)
This movie is truly the best film I have ever laid eyes on!!!!! Everything about it is just so perfect! The actors William Atherton, Goldie Hawn, Michael Sacks and Ben Johnson are all incredible, the directing is brilliant - you can hardly tell Steven Spielberg was only 26 at the time. The music by John Williams is also very good- especially the use of Harmonicas, which add a special effect to the country stile of the film.The film is based upon a real event, which makes it even more shocking. Although the movie is not completely loyal to reality, it still gives you stuff to thing about!A <more>
word or two about the plot: Lou-Jean, a young blond... and a bit naive and childish women -persuades her also young and naive husband Clovis to break out of a pre-release center, so they can both reclaim their infant son Langston who has been sent for adoption. Unfortunately for them, things don't go their way - and they end-up ,unwittingly, hijacking a Texas highway-patrolman and his car and being chased by more than 200 patrolcars led by captain Tanner while heading to a town called "Sugarland" to get Langston. A very special relationship is built between the couple and their captive, during which the young cop understands their causes and feels for them, to the point where he is willing to aid them as far as he legally can in their debious mission.I'm not saying who is wrong here and who's right and I'm not saying committing a crime is in any case okay, but this beautiful film makes you think: should the law be so quick in taring family apart? should all criminals suffer the same faith, regardless to consequences? How far should the long arm of the law reach and when should it back away? I don't know if the film answers those questions, but it sure brings 'em up, and that is not less important.While watching the film, you cry with the heroes, you laugh with them, you share their faith and most of all: you understand they are people like you and me.Don't rent this movie, but buy it! It is not enough to watch it only once or twice! this film is amazing! it would be a crime not to watch it!!
After 1 car purchased by 1 truck, now 1 car purchased by 206 cars ! cinematheque (by leplatypus)
I began my Spielberg Festival at the Cinematheque by his first movie done the year I was born. It's my first viewing and it's amazing to see how his first feature takes root from his first project "duel" , even thought the story is totally different. In fact, you'll see that all his movies can be tied by two, so check my pairing note at the end of my next reviews. It's maybe easy now to predict that Spielberg would become a master but on the other hand, all his future trademark are already there: He knows how to tell a story and i can tell the difference with today <more>
movies where the plot and edit are unintelligible transformers, cars, . Next, Spielberg has en "eye": he knows how to put the camera to have a stunning visual, especially his close-ups. Then, he is excellent with his cast and knows how to built emotions. Even if hundred policemen chased the couple, the audience supports the side of the family and don't view them as criminals. At last, with nearly 40 years behind thus nearly my age , the movie has a good historic and cultural value. In some ways, it announces the media folklore of the 80's and so on. At least, his screenplay won the Award at Cannes Festival and it's a sure proof that this newcomer would become a name!
25-year old Clovis Michael Poplin William Atherton is imprisoned waiting to be released.His 25-year old wife Lou Jean Goldie Hawn makes a visit and tells him to escape with her.They should get their child, baby Langston Harrison Zanuck back from the foster parents.Things don't go right and they have to kidnap a young Patrolman called Maxwell Slide Michael Sacks .Soon they have half of the country's police force behind them.The Sugarland Express 1974 is an early film of Steven Spielberg.This one of the greatest directors of all time will turn 60 in a week.He's the man <more>
behind many masterpieces but nobody seems to remember this one.I think that's a shame.I couldn't find anything wrong with the picture.William Atherton and Goldie Hawn are brilliant in the lead.Michael Sacks is terrific as the nice policeman.Ben Johnson is marvelous in the role of Captain Harlin Tanner.One thing that makes this movie so special is the fact you start caring about the main characters.This movie is based on true events dating back to 1969.Of course the movie differs from the real events a bit.The movie doesn't have to be like the reality.Those two are very different things.
Spielberg's Forgotten First Film (by joshbaileynch)
After the success of Duel which was really a TV movie Sugarland Express Spielberg's first feature film flopped at the box office, though it received a reasonably warm critical response. In fact this is a great little movie for all kinds of reasons.If you're interested in Spielberg as a director this is fascinating as it begins to lay out most of the themes that have driven his work ever since - family especially divided and dysfunctional families , childhood, parenthood, outsiders, America and Americana etc. It's also a really interesting piece in terms of his developing <more>
style. This is the first Hollywood film in which panaflex cameras were used allowing Spielberg to produce fantastically elaborate and fluid shots even in the confines of a car see the superb 360 pan fixed on Ben Johnson's car when he first talks to the Poplins - a kind of cinematography that has become a hall mark of Spielberg's, as have the rising crane shots and extended tracking shots that pepper the film. Spielberg skies and "God Light" his term for shafts of light in mist/at night also feature heavily.It's also a really interesting if somewhat unrecognised influence on films like Thelma and Louise which seems to lift its basic structure and characters right out of this film. The way Ben Johnson's Captain Tanner equates to Harvey Keitel's police officer in Ridley Scott's film seems particularly close.Fantastic performances all round too. Johnson, Horne and Atherton a much under-used actor who has been largely wasted since, playing roles like the self serving journalist in the Die Hard films particularly shine.It's also very funny, sad and engaging from beginning to end. Can't recommend this one enough - especially if you're a Spielberg fan.
Not many people have seen this one, and it doesn't show up on TV very often, but "The Sugarland Express" is a very good film. It is Spielberg's first major studio picture after the made-for-TV "Duel" , and while it certainly isn't as dynaminc as his second film, the flawless "Jaws", it IS a very fine movie. Goldie Hawn is actually quite good. This was before she adopted the "Private Benjamin" approach to all of her performances. She is really acting here and very convincing as the not-too bright Texas girl naively trying to keep her family <more>
together. William Atherton is also very good as her husband. If you only know him as the prick from such 80s movies as "Ghostbusters", "Die Hard", and "Real Genius" check this out to see his true range."The Sugarland Express" is actually quite similar to the Eastwood-directed "A Perfect World" another fine underrated film . Spielberg is already adept at filmmaking in his first feature. It has a sharper edge than the stuff he is most well-known for early in his career "E.T.", "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and such . And it was based on a true story to boot. If you can find a letterboxed copy you're in for a treat. The camera really makes Texas look otherworldly and a poetic backdrop for this sad tale.
Boy, did this get great press in 1974 (by Varlaam)
Critics at the time were impressed by this new director, Steven Spielberg, who had previously directed Dennis Weaver in that spooky TV movie "Duel", but they were really impressed with Goldie Hawn, still mainly known as the blonde nitwit from "Laugh-In". She had been quite respectable in "Butterflies Are Free" in 1972, but she turned in a beautifully nuanced performance in this one.I would certainly argue with any notion that this film is "underrated". It's always been well regarded, even back in the days when Spielberg was known as the clever kid <more>
who made "Jaws". That doesn't mean it has ever been easy to see.Now, with the passage of time, "Sugarland Express" looks even better than it did in the 1970's. One still has no trouble at all getting caught up in the quixotic mission of these characters.
Man, I forgot how much fun this movie actually was. In my mind it was a heavy drama but on my recent viewing finally it's on DVD! I rediscovered this movie and found out how fun it was. It kind of has the same fun feeling the other 'based on a true story' Spielberg movies: "Catch Me If You Can" and "The Terminal" have.The movie is made with lot's of profession and very little money. The small budget does not stop Spielberg of making a good movie. This movie was also the first Vilmos Zsigmond/Steven Spielberg collaboration. They later worked together on <more>
"Close Encounters of the Third Kind". But more importantly; it also was the first collaboration of John Williams and Steven Spielberg, one of the most successful collaborations in movie history, as later turned out.the movie features a young Goldie Hawn and William Atherton who I really like as an actor. Atherton is probably best known for his role in "Die Hard 1 & 2", "Ghostbusters" and the more recent movie "The Last Samurai" in which he has a small part early in the movie.It might be a bit too slow and probably boring for some people but I still recommend this movie. It has both action and substance. In a way also a must see because it was Spielberg his first real big hit and can be regarded as his breakthrough.8/10http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/
Early Goldie, early Spielberg, both first-rate... (by moonspinner55)
Petty crook is busted out of pre-release jail by his determined-yet-reckless wife; seems their infant son has been farmed out to a wealthy foster couple while the two were behind bars and the Mrs. wants her baby back now. Director Steven Spielberg's first theatrical film has a scene midway through that still takes my breath away: Goldie Hawn and William Atherton take refuge in a mobile home parked in a lot behind a drive-in movie theater, a cartoon is up on the screen and Atherton supplies the sound effects--but, as the cartoon descends into violence, he stares out the window while his <more>
wife giggles on, oblivious to the parallels between the film and the paths their lives have taken. It's a miraculous moment in a high-spirited comedy-drama about trying to get what you want--even at the expense of the law. I'm surprised most Spielberg fans turn their noses up at this movie, it's one of his best. The finale doesn't really work the picture switches gears too many times and eventually leaves us eating dust , but Goldie Hawn's performance is brave and funny and wonderful. In fact all the acting is excellent, right down to the last two-line player. *** from ****