Sugarland Express

Sugarland Express

4.0 2
Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Goldie Hawn, Ben Johnson, Michael Sacks

     
 

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Based on an actual incident, Steven Spielberg's first theatrical feature follows the adventures of a Texas outlaw couple striving to keep their family together by any means necessary. Determined not to lose her child to the authorities, Lou Jean Poplin (Goldie Hawn) gets her obedient convict husband Clovis (William Atherton) to break out of jail and help her kidnap… See more details below

Overview

Based on an actual incident, Steven Spielberg's first theatrical feature follows the adventures of a Texas outlaw couple striving to keep their family together by any means necessary. Determined not to lose her child to the authorities, Lou Jean Poplin (Goldie Hawn) gets her obedient convict husband Clovis (William Atherton) to break out of jail and help her kidnap their baby from its foster parents. With hostage Officer Slide (Michael Sacks) in tow, the fugitives head across the plains to Sugarland, Texas, pursued by a flotilla of cop cars. Even though Slide becomes the couple's friend, the Law is bent on capturing its criminal quarry. Even though it was greeted with strong reviews, and Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins, and Spielberg won the screenplay prize at the Cannes Film Festival, The Sugarland Express flopped. The young audience that had embraced the challenging tonal shifts of Bonnie and Clyde and Easy Rider in the late 1960s was no longer so reliably drawn to narrative uncertainties in 1974. The massive success of Spielberg's next picture, the popcorn thriller Jaws (1975), would confirm his suspicion that downbeat films were no longer the way to popular approval.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Michael Hastings
More influential than even the director's fans are willing to give it credit, Steven Spielberg's first theatrical feature exhibits many of the traits that would later become his signatures: a majestic sense of scope; a fleet-footed sense of technique with even the most mundane action sequences; a childlike, naïve sense of wonder; and, yes, an occasionally cloying sentimentality. The Sugarland Express merges the men-in-cars dynamics of Spielberg's breakthrough TV movie Duel with a ripped-from-the-headlines tale of two holy fools (played impressively but with just a little too much gusto by Goldie Hawn and William Atherton) who will stop at nothing to get their child back. Although the story verges on the melodramatic, what saves the film is Spielberg's sense of space, place, and mood. He's so completely tuned in with his characters' hopes and fears that he's able to convey their every feeling through the visuals, which -- as shot by master cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond -- are a mix of documentary-style observational shots, sweeping vistas, and absurdist car chases. With the notable exception of the film's de rigueur, early-'70s unhappy ending, many of Sugarland's story arcs, character quirks, and even camera placements can be traced through every subsequent Spielberg feature, from something as epic as Raiders of the Lost Ark to -- most obviously -- his 2002 fraud-on-the-run hit Catch Me if You Can.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/17/2004
UPC:
0025192558122
Original Release:
1974
Rating:
PG
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:50:00
Sales rank:
32,036

Special Features

Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Goldie Hawn Lou Jean Poplin
Ben Johnson Capt. Tanner
Michael Sacks Officer Slide
William Atherton Clovis Poplin
Gregory Walcott Officer Mashburn
Harrison Zanuck Baby Langston
Buster Denials Drunk
James Harrell Mark Fenno
Kenneth Hudgins Standby
William Scott Station Man
Robert Golden Actor
Steve Kanaly Jessup
Louise Latham Mrs. Looby
A.L. Camp Mr. Nocker
Jessie Lee Fulton Mrs. Nocker
Dean Smith Russ Berry
Ted Grossman Dietz
Bill Thurman Hunter
Guich Koock Hot Jock No. 2
Merrill Connally Looby
Gene Rader Gas Jockey
Gordon Hurst Eddie Becker
Big John Hamilton Big John

Technical Credits
Steven Spielberg Director
Edward M. Abroms Editor
Joseph Alves Art Director
Hal Barwood Screenwriter
Frank Brendel Special Effects
David Brown Producer
John R. Carter Sound/Sound Designer
James Fargo Asst. Director
Verna Fields Editor
Robert L. Hoyt Sound/Sound Designer
Carey Loftin Stunts
Matthew Robbins Screenwriter
John Williams [composer] Score Composer
Richard D. Zanuck Producer
Vilmos Zsigmond Cinematographer

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Pre-Release (Main Titles) [4:42]
2. Leaving Today [7:08]
3. Written Warning [4:15]
4. Never Shot a Man [6:38]
5. Real Trouble [6:28]
6. Bad Hombre [7:11]
7. Gettin' Gas [5:59]
8. Hold It [5:23]
9. Drive Thru [6:43]
10. Racked Up [5:55]
11. Sweet Talk [6:35]
12. Reserve Officers [8:20]
13. We Got 'Em [6:35]
14. Stopping for Supplies [5:28]
15. Innocent People [6:37]
16. This is Goodbye [5:07]
17. Don't Stop [8:52]
18. End Titles [1:50]

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