As I walk through the double doors into the Spring Theater in Springhill, Louisiana, I am greeted by memories of my family. I can see Sherry Boucher hugging long-lost friends who made the journey to see themselves on the big screen.
44 years ago, on 21.
Shot in Springhill, Louisiana, the film featured not only the small bustling town, but also faces of the Boucher family.
“That was the beginning of my career,” said Savannah Smith Boucher, who went on to star in films like The Long Riders (1980), Remington Steele (1982), and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1996).
Starring George Peppard, Boucher sisters Sherry Boucher and Savannah Smith Boucher, Neville Brand, Victor Campos and Robert Donner, the film told the story of a former police officer who escapes from a Louisiana prison to embark on an epic journey, to get to his son was in critical condition at a hospital in California.
This film was directed by George Peppard who was married to Sherry at the time. Peppard and Sherry were living in California when the concept for this film was conceived, Sherry kept asking Peppard if she could go home for Christmas.
“I spoke to my dad about it and said I think we’re coming home for Christmas. And he said I don’t think that will ever happen. And so I kept talking to George about it and he just went into his library and shut the door and wrote. And about six weeks later he came out with Five Days from Home,” Sherry said.
This dramatic story would allow Peppard and Sherry to be home for Christmas and bring the film industry to the small town of Springhill, Louisiana. Sherry said, “We’ve always been taught to give back to where we come from.”
Springhill, Louisiana is a city that strokes the Louisiana-Arkansas line. In 1902, this pine community was incorporated after being named Barefoot, Louisiana for eight years after men were observed walking to the lumberyards without shoes.
Known for its timber wealth, this northwest Louisiana town was home to the International Paper Mill from 1937 to 1979. This mill helped found this small town, and by the time Five Days from Home was filmed in 1977, Springhill was at the height of its heyday.
Sherry said the town was thriving during filming because of the timber industry. This film was shot in four months and had a budget of just under a million dollars. It brought Hollywood to a small town. The Stadtmotel was fully booked and packed with a film crew keen to shoot a Christmas movie in the pines.
This film was a way for a pair of sisters to honor their hometown while creating memories for all who were part of that town. Sitting in a movie theater with a screen on December 3, 2022, I could see my dad sparkling with excitement as he relived his childhood.