Amblin'

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Movie Info

Two wanderers, a young man and a young woman, meet in the desert and decide to travel on together. The two travellers walk and hitch-hike their way down the road to their destination, the beach, becoming friends and lovers.

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Critic Reviews for Amblin'

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Audience Reviews for Amblin'

  • May 27, 2011
    Steven Spielberg's first film, Amblin', is smart and criative, a portrait from a generation. Fresh.
    Lucas M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 27, 2008
    Every filmmaker has to begin somewhere. For some directors, television ignited their infatuation with the art. For other directors, such as Steven Spielberg, a love for filmmaking ripened during childhood years when they helmed cheap, amateur home movies. Spielberg both wrote and directed <i>Amblin'</i> - this short film shot on 35mm on a budget of $15,000 in 1968. Although a mere 26 minutes in length, <i>Amblin'</i> brought Spielberg into the spotlight, and he became the youngest director in history to be signed to a long-term deal with a major Hollywood studio. Sid Sheinberg was the vice president of production for Universal's TV arm, and he viewed Spielberg's short. Spielberg was subsequently signed to a seven-year contract under the Television division of Universal. In later years Spielberg became the Hollywood director everyone now recognises him for, and he employed the title of <i>Amblin'</i> as a name for his film company - Amblin Entertainment. <p> The story concerns two hitchhikers (Levin, McMyler) who hook up in the middle of the desert in southern California, en route to the Pacific Coast. The film chronicles their chance meeting, their initial bond, and their journey to the paradisiacal beach as they develop into friends and lovers.<br> Story-wise, there isn't much to <i>Amblin'</i> - it simply conveys a straightforward love story using visuals and omnipresent acoustic guitar music instead of dialogue. <i>Amblin'</i> is essentially a prolonged montage showcasing the beautiful cinematography of Allen Daviau. Naturally, Spielberg went on to direct such blockbusters as <i>Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Ark</i> and <i>Jaws</i>. Yet after visiting early efforts of Spielberg it reminds us that special effects and a colossal budget aren't as crucial as wonderful acting and a good (if slender) story. <p> Looking back at Spielberg's roots, it's easy to see why the director shot to big-time stardom. He handles the script (he wrote himself) with utter dexterity. The film flows naturally and fluidly, with his economic direction resulting in a valuably ponderous pace. It does linger unnecessarily on a few plot points, yet it's mesmerising to witness the cinematic techniques on offer - there are dark silhouettes against a white desert background, wide angles showcasing the stunning locales, and the actors continually registering expressions on their faces to convey their thoughts (rather than using heavy dialogue). Throughout the film the only words spoken are those in the title song (by October Country). As for the other music, there's soft acoustic guitar accompanied by beautifully rendered ambiance of the desert. In all honesty, not much actually transpires during the 26-minute running time. It probably appears to be an incoherent succession of random bonding scenes. It isn't much more than a montage (as stated previously), but at least it's a concise and beautiful montage. <p> Spielberg found Richard Levin working as a librarian in the Beverly Hills library. For the female hitchhiking companion, Pamela McMyler was discovered in the Academy Players directory. These two performers may have had little acting experience prior to <i>Amblin'</i>, yet Spielberg has managed to get great performances. <p> <i>Amblin'</i> became a reality when Spielberg met aspiring producer Dennis Hoffman who agreed to finance the short film. Filming transpired over a few weeks in a soundstage and on various desert locations, with the final sequenced filmed outside Jack Palance's house in Malibu. On rough terrain and in punishing 105-degree heat, many of the unpaid crew left before filming was completed. Filming eventually wrapped in July 1968, with the premiere in December of the same year (it shared a double bill with Otto Preminger's <i>Skidoo</i>). <i>Amblin'</i> won several awards, and Spielberg received his contract at Universal. <p> All in all, Steven Spielberg's <i>Amblin'</i> is an interesting little flick certainly worth visiting for avid fans of the director. All aspiring filmmakers will learn a thing or two from this motion picture; primarily that simplicity can spawn beautiful results when in the right hands. I suggest YouTube would be the ideal location if you wish to see this gem.
    Cal ( Super Reviewer
  • Feb 02, 2008
    Really Hippytastic first flick from Spielberg. You can see it at http://www.hollywoodsaloon.com/podcastEP36-4.html
    Super Reviewer

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