Today is Steven Spielberg’s 71st birthday, so I decided to spotlight one of his movies but which one to do? I’ve done Jurassic Park already, Jaws was done before by A Winged Potato, and I’ve written on Raiders Of The Lost Ark elsewhere. Because I like to buck convention, I’m doing it on Amblin’, a short film a 22-year-old Spielberg made.
Amblin’ is the story of two hippie hitchhikers played Richard Levin and Pamela McMyler. They get into misadventures as they try to get to their final destination: the beach.
An interesting thing about Amblin’ is that there’s no dialogue whatsoever in it. The only way to tell what the hitchhikers are feeling is through Levin and McMyler’s expressive faces.
Amblin’ features several visual homages to some of Spielberg’s favorite movies. The hitchhiking scenes call to mind Sullivan’s Travels and It Happened One Night, two movies Spielberg has professed great love for. Spielberg also lifts a few technical tricks popular in the French New Wave, such as jump cuts. (Kind of ironic that Spielberg loves the New Wave when New Wave directors like Jean-Luc Godard hate him. At least Francois Truffaut was a Spielberg fan.)
(a scene from It Happened One Night)
Then Universal Studios head Sid Sheinberg just loved Amblin’ and signed Spielberg up for a 7-year directing contract… which included Jaws!!
(and now you know why his company is called Amblin!)
Hope you all have fun commenting here tonight and have a great night.