The Sugarland Express (1974)

PG   |    |  Crime, Drama

The Sugarland Express (1974) Poster

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.

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  • Steven Spielberg in The Sugarland Express (1974)
  • William Atherton and Michael Sacks in The Sugarland Express (1974)
  • Goldie Hawn and William Atherton in The Sugarland Express (1974)
  • Michael Sacks in The Sugarland Express (1974)
  • Steven Spielberg and Goldie Hawn in The Sugarland Express (1974)
  • Steven Spielberg and Vilmos Zsigmond in The Sugarland Express (1974)

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3 April 2018 | slightlymad22
| Hawn Could Have Been A Fine Dramatic Actress
Following Duel, movies heavily featuring cars were what Spielberg seemed to be offered, as he was set to direct Burt Reynolds in the action film White Lightning. He worked on it for a few months before quitting to take on this movie. "The one thing that I almost made was White Lightning the Burt Reynolds picture," Spielberg said "I spent two-and-a-half months on the film, met Burt once, found most of the locations and began to cast the movie, until I realized it wasn't something that I wanted to do for a first film. I didn't want to start my career as a hard-hat, journeyman director. I wanted to do something that was a little more personal." Reynolds was hurt by him quitting saying " He wanted out and it really hurt me, I felt like he just didn't want to work with me, and that was the reason. And he didn't."

Shot in perfect continuity (for financial reasons) The majority of this movie is filmed in a car. But there was no rear view projection or shoot it and then have the actors lip-sync later. Spielberg's timing was just right Panavision inc had recently developed and the Paraflex, the first totally noiseless camera, compact enough to be handheld or shoulder rested. Virtually the entire movie was shot in sync dialogue with only 10 lines a looped later. The Sugerland Expressis one of the first fiims to be shot in this then revolutionary style, though shortly, all filmmaking would follow suit.

This movie shows that Goldie Hawn could have been a fine dramatic actress had her career gone in that direction. Hawn's plan, slightly mad as it is, in fact does have an inner logic. I expected her infedelity (She prostitutes herself to a male neighbour for $65) to become a bigger issue. But it's surprisingly dropped pretty quickly.

There is no villain in this movie. Captain Tanner certainly isn't one. I also like a tender scene involving a Wile E. Coyote cartoon which was probably my favourite scene in the movie. This film marked the beginning of Spielberg's friendship with John Williams and we get a Spielberg trademark (images seen in a side mirror)

This is one of the few Steven Spielberg films that ends on a downbeat note. And boy what a downbeat note it is!!

Sugerland Express grossed $7.5 million (against a 3 million dollar budget) at the domestic box office.

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