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The Sugarland Express

4

From early in Steven Spielberg's career, before sentimentality started to clog the (Dream)works, The Sugarland Express - available on DVD for the first time - offers a quirky spin on the young-couple-on-the-run formula that starts out all folksy comedy and gradually darkens towards disaster.
 

Young wife Goldie Hawn, revealing a hard ruthlessness beneath her usual kooky schtick, springs her husband (William Atherton) from a Texas jail so they can grab their infant son from his foster home. En route they hijack a police patrol car at gunpoint, along with its twitchy driver (Michael Sacks), and end up being tailed by cop cars, TV reporters and rubberneckers in a bizarre anticipation of OJ Simpson's slo-mo car chase. Spielberg takes potshots at a slew of targets, while DoP Vilmos Zsigmond bathes it all in a burnished glow.

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