2007-04-13

The Sugarland Express

Saw an old DVD with the usual suspects last night, The Sugarland Express from 1974. It was the first "theatrical feature film" by Stephen Spielberg (begging the question as to whether he made some non-theatrical feature films or some theatrical non-feature films or some theatrical feature non-films before).

The main character is Goldie Hawn, whom I best remember as a regular on the Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In. She plays a very childlike, very loud, selfish, talkative, blonde American woman who gets her husband out of a mimimum-security jail so that he can help her kidnap their child back, who was taken from her by the welfare system.

The movie is based on a true story, as they kidnapped a police man and involved more than 100 police car units chasing them across the state on the way to Sugar Land, where their son is with foster parents. The husband pays for this with his life, getting killed by Texan sharp-shooters as punishment for his crimes, without benefit of judge or jury.

The movie does not seem dated at all, except perhaps for the police radio system and the absence of mobile phones and computers. It brings back memories like collecting Green Stamps like my Mom used to do, pouring over that Green Stamp catalogue and dreaming of the stuff we could get if we only had 5 more books filled with the stamps (think "HappyDigits" or "PayBack" or such today, only unified, as many companies participated).

And in the context of the current "War on Terrorism" it is very thought provoking. For the police these two are criminals who are committing a felony. For the people who greet them along the way they are heros, fighting for their kid, taken from them by a mean-old state system. The kidnapped cop understands that these are just children in grown-up bodies, that they are really only trying to get their son back. He tries to explain this to his boss, who does seem to understand, but is under pressure to "do something", which in Texas apparently means calling in sharpshooters from the Texas Rangers. Kill first, ask questions later.

I was glad that we had turned on the subtitles in German for the DVD - although I spent many painful, teenage years growing up in Georgia, the Southern Drawl and the vocabulary in Texas are quite something, and I could often only understand what had been said by reading the German and translating back. I had to then explain to the rest of the gang things like why they kept saying "doggone".

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your full of shit. What a stupid comment you left.

WiseWoman said...

I had recently been complaining that I had a lot of regular readers, but very few comments. Occasionally I get spam comments or stuff like this. Since this one was at least printable, and strangely self-referential, I decided to publish it.

Why would someone take the time to post a misspelled comment like this?