Considering all the car chase and crash movies made in the early ’70s it’s a wonder that there are any automobiles from the era left at all. If you believe Hollywood of the time, Detroit’s main purpose was to churn out cars that were predestined to end up in a roadside ditch or upside-down. One of the purveyors of this impression was Steven Spielberg, whose first full-length film was the TV movie Duel, and whose first theatrical feature was The Sugarland Express. Both of these films demonstrate a general distain for the automobile.
The Sugarland Express was released in 1974 and was not just directed by Spielberg, but was co-written by him as well. The story is based on an actual event but is heavily embellished. It’s about a woman – played by Goldie Hawn – who breaks her husband – Ghostbuster’s William Atherton – out of jail, and then leads every cop in Texas save for one, on a low-speed chase across the state. Hawn’s character is determined to be reunited with her baby, which the state has taken away. The one cop not involved in the chase is in fact in the car with Hawn and Atherton, having been kidnapped by the pair. There’s a good bit of Stockholm Syndrome thrown in for good measure, but mostly what this movie is about is two-lane and highway chases.
Those involve a slew of ’60s and ’70s American iron, but it seems like Buick get’s the star treatment. There’s a sweet 1956 Buick Roadmaster, a ’63 leSabre, ’65 Electra, and a ’67 Riviera all getting in on the action. And that action typically involves lots of tire squealing, body roll, and wayward hubcaps from those plus all the cop cars chasing the baby-seeking duo. The trailer after the jump was crated for a video release, and it gives you a good sense of the film’s tone, as well as a bunch of that car action. Check it out. … Continue Reading