Monthly Archives: May 2013

(0084X) The Conversation

The ConversationApril 14, 1974 | 1 week at #1

Seen by Martin before? Yes

What did I expect? An exceptional, probing character study, rather typical of its time.

What did I get? No Hollywood feature in American history ever wore its seriousness of intent on its sleeve as ostentatiously as Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. Good for us that Coppola’s skills at that moment were developed enough to deliver on his promises — and then some. The quality of The Conversation isn’t really up for debate — one surmises that it may have dated, à la Antonioni’s Blow Up, but it’s far too thoroughgoingly conceived and brilliantly executed for that.
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(0083X) The Sugarland Express

The Sugarland ExpressApril 7, 1974 | 2 weeks at #1

Seen by Martin before? Yes

What did I expect? A tense, intelligent study of extreme motherhood.

What did I get? Better than expected and yet not as good as it seems, The Sugarland Express provides early evidence of Steven Spielberg’s otherworldly filmmaking skills while evincing a prosaic, boilerplate maturity that, for most of his career, Spielberg instinctively shunned. If Sugarland bafflingly fails to resonate as it ought, it may be because Spielberg’s impersonation of a cooler, more measured director was an iffy fit all along.
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