Sometimes, when I’m watching an older movie, it’s hard for me to catch when that movie is doing something no other movie has done before.
For example, by the time I had finally watched The Matrix, I had seen enough parodies and references to it that it didn’t blow me away the way it seemed to do everyone else.
The Sugarland Express is another example of this, although a more subtle one. This movie, like Dyel before it, is light on special effect with a focus on the characters and the plot than the trying to wow you.
But, Spielberg in his early days, was always trying new things, filming techniques, camera angles, etc… According to IMDB, the producers wanted Spielberg to get his feet wet with some simple shots first, but he dove right in with one of the most complex shots in the whole movie and pulled it off.
The other thing Spielberg did in this movie that had never been done before was having a tracking shot of a vehicle, going from front to back with the camera as the car is moving, including a 360 degree turn around the car with audio from inside the car as well.
This doesn’t seem that amazing because it’s common place to us. It didn’t even register to me that something unique was happening when I watched the movie but this won’t be the last time Spielberg sets new precedences for future movies.
Also of note, this is the first collaboration between Spielberg and John Williams (who would go on to score almost all of the rest of Spielberg’s movies) and it’s the first movie where there is a scene of characters watching old Looney Toon cartoons (another repeated motif).
-How would I rate it? Right down the middle, 3 out of 5
-Do I regret watching it? Not at all. It was a lot of fun.
-Do I plan on watching it again someday? Maybe one day.
All in all, not a bad movie and it is interesting to see seeds of what I’ve come to know and love about Spielberg being planted here.
Have you seen The Sugarland Express? What did you think?