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Summary 9.0 great
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Release year: 1977
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Francois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Bob Balaban, Cary Guffey, J. Patrick McNamara, Roberts Blossom, Merrill Connally
Ratings: 2 Oscar: Best Cinematography, Special Achievement Award. 7 Oscar nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Melinda Dillon), Best Director, Best Art Direction, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Original score. 4 Golden Globes nominations: Best Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Original Score.
After an encounter with U.F.O.s, Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) gets obsessed with an image to a degree where his personally life is wrecked. At the meantime French scientist Claude Lacombe (Francois Truffaud) leads a group of people investigating strange events.
After his he succesfully ‘invented’ the summer blockbuster with Jaws (1975) Spielberg created this warm-hearted science fiction movie. Going against the usual idea, the encounters in Close Encounter is more filled wonder than fear and even though there now and then is a tense feeling in the movie, especially as Neary’s life falls apart as he is almost brought to madness by the image left in his mind after his encounter, the movie comes of as peaceful and pleasant, like a science fiction fairytale. As he later proved with movies like E.T. (1982) and Jurassic Park (1993), it is hard to beat Spielberg when it comes to creating a sense of cinematic wonder and this classic of his a perfect example of exactly this. As Neary struggles to grasp the meaning of the image you are there with him and feel it to a degree where you almost shout at him when he fails to spot the solution right away. As often in Spiellberg’s movies, the lead character, neary, is a completely ordinary guy, making it easy for most to identify with him and this, and the realistic storyline, makes this a very down-to-earth approach to a very un-earthy subject. The casting of the movie is superb with everyone delivering solid performances and together with Spielberg’s excellent sense of suspense and human feelings, this is a timeless classic.
The iconic five-note melody was a chance arrangement that both composer John Williams and director Steven Spielberg happened to like out of hundreds of different permutations.
Cary Guffey’s (Barry) performances were so good that they only ever had to do one or two takes of each shot he was in. He became known as “One-Take Cary” on the set, and director Steven Spielberg had a T-shirt printed up for him with the phrase written on it.
Most of the UFO miniatures were filmed in dark smoke-filled rooms to give them a halo effect and so the beams of light emanating from them would be more prominent.
Picture copyrights: Sony Pictures