With Steven Spielberg's latest hitting theaters this week — The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse — Spout decided to spotlight the director's early works for their Short Starts column in anticipation of the new releases. Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment takes its name from the filmmaker's calling card — a 26-minute, 35mm road movie that turned 43-years-old this past weekend. The movie won him several festival awards, and eventually a 7-year contract with Universal where he grew his career.
Described as a love story, Amblin' follows young hitchhikers who meet on the road and end up in California. (Apparently the beach house featured in the 1968 short belongs to the much-missed Jack Palance.) Spielberg didn't feel Amblin' was his most shining moment, likening it to a "great Pepsi commercial" and saying it had "as much soul and content as a piece of driftwood." Still, the project kickstarted his career and saw much of its cast and crew continue on in the industry.
Spielberg's sister was a script supervisor on Amblin' and would later be known for her Oscar-winning screenplay (co-written) for Big. P.A. Thom Eberhardt would later direct and write for comedies like Honey I Blew Up the Kid, with fellow P.A. Robin Chamberlain producing TV series' such as 24 and Wings. Spielberg's collaboration would continue for much of his career with esteemed cinematographer Allen Daviau, who assisted on E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. You won't be able to fully appreciate the quality of anyone's work from this ragged clip, but it's a fascinating look at the director's earliest compositions.
Read the full story, and watch another one of Spielberg's early works on Spout. Check out Amblin' below, and let us know if you spot any of the director's trademark touches.