In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.
Lou-Jean, a blonde woman, tells her husband, who is imprisoned, to escape. They plan to kidnap their own child, who was placed with foster parents. The escape is partly successful, they take a hostage, who is a policeman and are pursued through to Texas... Written by
Kornel Osvart <email@example.com>
One major challenge facing Steven Spielberg was bringing together the acting styles of Goldie Hawn and William Atherton. The stage-trained Atherton got better with each successive take, but Hawn did her best work on the first two. She did, however, get a second wind if the scene went to 12 takes or more. Spielberg found it best to start with her close-ups. Then he would film Atherton's close-ups until Hawn started to rebound, at which point he could get two shots when they were both at their best. See more »
Although this story is set in 1969, there are a slew of early 1970's model automobiles used in the film, including most of the police cars. See more »
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 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.
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