The Close Encounters of The Third Kind Thread

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Phoo! Put them here! Discuss the giant living room sculpture, discuss the character design, just plunk down your Spielbergian balls here, talk about how this is his greatest film evah!

x j e r e m y (x Jeremy), Wednesday, 28 July 2004 11:20 (sixteen years ago) link

he claimed he wrote it all himself but other people had a hand in it*

there are all manner of 'anti' sentiments in criticism from the era, going on that it has no sympathy for the wife, is basically a little overgrown skoolboy's fantasy film, is all about men not being able to confront grown up problems and returning to the womb/childhood etc.

but no i fckng love it and i always have.

* extensively covered by j phillips in 'YNELITTA'

piscesboy, Wednesday, 28 July 2004 11:47 (sixteen years ago) link

* also see Biskind, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

I should really go back and watch this again. It's been ages since my last viewing.

Girolamo Savonarola, Wednesday, 28 July 2004 13:31 (sixteen years ago) link

I HATE the changes in "The Special Edition," particularly going inside the ship (I think it was Pauline Kael who wrote it just looks like a '30s movie palace). Is the original cut even viewable on DVD?

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 3 August 2004 13:46 (sixteen years ago) link

nine months pass...
having seen the 1997 'collectors' dvd recently i really want a version of the 80's 'special edition' without all the garden-wrecking. it appears to turn the whole thing into a farce and play stuff for cheap laughs after so many beautiful, subtle, realistic moments. takes ages for the film to get the mood back afterwards. can't *believe* that spielberg *actually* went back on the original 'special edition' which had that stuff chopped out and
...PUT IT BACK IN!! the madness!

piscesboy, Wednesday, 1 June 2005 14:14 (fifteen years ago) link

is all about men not being able to confront grown up problems and returning to the womb/childhood etc

dood this is the theme of every great/bad/indifferent spielberg film! what's amazing about spielberg is how he gets closer to more amazingly devastating realizations in his films than many art film directors could even hope for, but he always swerves away at the last second (except for AI where he goes right on through it to a completely strange and new place)).

ryan (ryan), Wednesday, 1 June 2005 14:46 (fifteen years ago) link

I like all the garden wrecking; it makes Dreyfuss' obsession way more interesting, and his family plausibly frightened. Hate the Special Edition going inside the ship, always have.

First saw it at the Ziegfeld Theater, October 1977.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 1 June 2005 14:52 (fifteen years ago) link

I like traffic lights
I like traffic lights
I like traffic lights
I like traffic lights

The Sensational Sulk (sexyDancer), Wednesday, 1 June 2005 15:06 (fifteen years ago) link

First saw it at the Ziegfeld Theater, October 1977.

-- Dr Morbius (wjwe...), June 1st, 2005

you show off! how was it??! did people clap and such throughout? i would have done. i was almost clapping on my own watching the dvd.

of course the ship in the Gobi scene also justifies the SPECIAL EDITION for me.

yeah i sort of thought that ryan, about the big issues of spielberg fims i mean.

piscesboy, Wednesday, 1 June 2005 15:10 (fifteen years ago) link

I liked Duel better, and that episode of amazing stories
where KITT, Arnold Drumond, and The Incredible Hulk were brought
to life by a magic TV.

fredbeech, Wednesday, 1 June 2005 23:22 (fifteen years ago) link

and that episode of amazing stories
where KITT, Arnold Drumond, and The Incredible Hulk were brought
to life by a magic TV.
-- fredbeech (fre...), June 2nd, 2005.


piscesboy, Thursday, 2 June 2005 09:38 (fifteen years ago) link

>how was it??! did people clap and such throughout?<

Yep, I imagine so. (Nothing as memorable as the prolonged boot-stomping ovation the opening night biker audience gave "The Road Warrior," tho.) Then as now, so much more engaging than STAR WARS.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 2 June 2005 14:17 (fifteen years ago) link

I think I saw one of those Road Warrior fans with his "mamma" at a showing of Straw Dogs at the Walter Reade.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 2 June 2005 14:24 (fifteen years ago) link

six years pass...

soooooooooo good.

caek, Sunday, 28 August 2011 15:47 (nine years ago) link

you should watch this film tonight

caek, Sunday, 28 August 2011 15:47 (nine years ago) link

Was planning on seeing this the other week at a mini-Spielberg revival at the local theater but it slipped my mind. I have it on BluRay but haven't watched it yet. Tonight might be the night. It's been years.

circa1916, Sunday, 28 August 2011 16:50 (nine years ago) link

Something pretty dark about the fact that Dreyfuss and the film completely forget about his wife and children.

circa1916, Sunday, 28 August 2011 22:06 (nine years ago) link

Did I miss something?

circa1916, Sunday, 28 August 2011 22:07 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

"Is that it? Is that all you're gonna ask me? Well I got a couple of thousand goddamn questions, you know. I want to speak to someone in charge. I want to lodge a complaint. You have no right to make people crazy! You think I investigate every Walter Cronkite story there is? Huh? come I know everything in such detail? I've never been here before. How come I know so much? What the hell is going on around here? Who the hell are you people?!"

piscesx, Sunday, 16 June 2013 03:18 (seven years ago) link

three months pass...
two years pass...

Saw the '97/98? edition described above by piscesboy in 35mm last week. Almost certainly my favorite of Spielberg's 'early' period (let's say everything til E.T.).

I like this analysis by V Rizov, including his borderline amazement that the Tv was always on in the '70s. I was there; it was, pretty much. Also "Dreyfuss' sense of nullity in his own house."

we can be heroes just for about 3.6 seconds (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 26 April 2016 20:44 (four years ago) link

one year passes...

So this theatrical reissue coming up - 4K restoration yadda yadda, I'm in, I'm stoked, haven't seen this since I was a kid. But which version is it??!

yellow is the color of some raisins (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 29 August 2017 03:13 (three years ago) link

Don't know (as I didn't know about the theatrical rerelease), but the upcoming 4k blu-ray contains all three cuts.

Always Be Cropdusting (Old Lunch), Tuesday, 29 August 2017 03:35 (three years ago) link

There was more traffic from people trying to get into Devil's Tower last week than there was from anything eclipse related.

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 29 August 2017 03:54 (three years ago) link

I am going to see this tonight :D :D :D

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 6 September 2017 22:55 (three years ago) link

Love my 35th Anniversary blu-ray of this and love this film. All 3 versions are on here as well. Think I'll watch the original release version tonight.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Thursday, 7 September 2017 00:18 (three years ago) link

mr veg said it's the special edition version (not sure which # version that is)

it's the version that shows all the aliums and dreyfuss joining the red team to go aboard at the end

i'd never seen that version so i was like "ok what the..."

still the 4K is fuckin BEAUTIFUL and i legit teared up over some scenes

<3 this movie forever

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 7 September 2017 03:57 (three years ago) link

i was born in the '70s and i saw this for the first time last weekend! it was really enjoyable and i liked the scenes about musical communication a lot.
before i saw it, i thought it was about a spaceship that crashed into a house.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 7 September 2017 04:22 (three years ago) link

the music stuff is so great ... and pretty hip for spielberg imo

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 7 September 2017 04:33 (three years ago) link

it seemed surprisingly modern. reminded me of arrival!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 7 September 2017 04:39 (three years ago) link

going this weekend for sure, excited!

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 7 September 2017 04:44 (three years ago) link

xpost yeah Villeneuve is a big fan!!

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 7 September 2017 05:03 (three years ago) link

it's the version that shows all the aliums and dreyfuss joining the red team to go aboard at the end

wait, isn't this... every version?

just the hell w/ going inside the ship is all i say

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 7 September 2017 16:04 (three years ago) link


then I'm old & addled, i never thought dreyfuss went on the ship until later versions

i guess i dreamed a 4th version VEG CUT lol

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 7 September 2017 16:28 (three years ago) link

Because I was curious, too:

In 1979, Columbia gave Spielberg $1.5 million to produce what became the "Special Edition" of the film. Spielberg added seven minutes of new footage, but also deleted or shortened various existing scenes by a total of ten minutes, so that the Special Edition was three minutes shorter than the original 1977 release.[10] The Special Edition featured several new character development scenes, the discovery of the SS Cotopaxi in the Gobi Desert, and a view of the inside of the mothership.


In 1998, Spielberg recut Close Encounters again for what would become the "Collector's Edition," to be released on home video and LaserDisc. This version of the film is a re-edit of the original 1977 release with some elements of the 1980 Special Edition, but omits the mothership interior scenes which Spielberg felt should have remained a mystery.

The early Truffaut scenes were the only ones I remembered not being in the original.

Higgs Bosom (Old Lunch), Thursday, 7 September 2017 16:33 (three years ago) link

look my version is way better, i'm telling ya

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 7 September 2017 16:40 (three years ago) link

man what a terrific movie

Doctor Casino, Friday, 15 September 2017 06:49 (three years ago) link

Amen to that

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Friday, 15 September 2017 12:59 (three years ago) link

got genuine chills the first time they're by the side of the road, right after neary almost runs over barry, and the aliens just... fly by. nothing more to it than that but the inherent sublimity and impossibility and excitement of the moment is all there. some strangers, the night sky, and the witnessing of something impossible and yet self-evidently wonderful.

setting aside neary ultimately abandoning his family on earth for a space trip, length unknown (see also interstellar), which the edited cuts try to justify a bit more by showing more of how the home life disintegrates, the one thing that jumps out in 2017 is how little of jillian's story is really told after barry's abduction. it's dreyfuss's movie, and he's incredible, but you'd think the story of a parent trying to get her kid back has so much inherent interest that we'd spend a little more time on it. but watching a guy obsessively, painfully follow a vision that he can't even describe or understand (aka a film director I assume) is also inherently interesting i admit.

incredible effects, just right performances. love the mise-en-scene. the ranch house life is even more convincing and naturalistic than in e.t. so small and visually cluttered but full of life. if the opening scene with balaban and truffaut and the biplanes in the desert weren't enough to bring me on board, the middle kid smashing the hell out of a doll for no reason in the background while dreyfuss and garr talk about something else in the foreground would've done it.

Doctor Casino, Friday, 15 September 2017 13:38 (three years ago) link

one year passes...


flappy bird, Thursday, 5 September 2019 06:54 (one year ago) link

I was 8 when this came out and as such it’s inscrutably iconic in many ways. Also the aliens filled me with living terror - the one which comes out and does the hand jive and that flesh creeping smile gave me literal nightmares. I don’t find it frightening now but I have a vivid memory of how the fear felt.
It’s a scruffy 70s movie and I live it for that. Also Teri Garr is awesome in it.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Thursday, 5 September 2019 08:22 (one year ago) link

*love it for that

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Thursday, 5 September 2019 08:23 (one year ago) link

Yes, this gave me the absolute willies as a kid

Glad to see you didn't find it boring, flappy, unlike the low-attention span m-f-ers in the other thread.

Time to Make a Pizza Pact! (Old Lunch), Thursday, 5 September 2019 12:00 (one year ago) link

There was a brief spell between loving this as a youngster and loving this as a 'mature' adult when I got all sniffy about this film's putative genre, as there didn't seem to be much 'sci' in the sci-fi. I'm glad I eventually relaxed my crack and learned to enjoy the magic.

Time to Make a Pizza Pact! (Old Lunch), Thursday, 5 September 2019 12:09 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

just watched the film with our eight yr old, who loved it. it remains a really astonishing film throughout, though i had a bit of trouble at first figuring out which version i saw. i think it's a slightly more definitive one, with the interior of the spaceship at the end not shown, but the scenes w/Neary melting down in his yard and the discovery of the boat in the desert remaining. What stood out to me more than anything were the domestic scenes, which were intense and particularly real in a way that surprised me (it's been years since i've seen it). Neary's oldest son seeing him sitting clothed in the shower and slamming the bathroom door closed over and over and calling him a crybaby, the youngest son helping pull out chicken wire from the neighbor's yard and Ronnie running over and threatening to hit him if he doesn't stop, the sheer mess of the house *before* it all goes to shit later, Ronnie answering the phone and talking (flirting?) w/Neary's boss and fidgeting with her wedding ring, and yes the TV on all the time.

also the horror movie elements, which are used so diabolically w/the scene where Barry is taken by the aliens, and the scene is legitimately scary. And this works well, since at this point in the film we have no idea if these aliens are friendly or a bit sinister.

also appreciate the almost complete lack of outlandish villains. the military guys obviously use some pretty duplicitous methods to lock down the area and keep the real story from getting out, let alone allowing anyone near the site, and they're not "good guys", but it's more like a foundational opposition, that's just their baseline, and they don't want to hurt people they would just prefer to keep it quiet. it's an only somewhat cynical portrayal but it rings true, and it doesn't tip over into some kind of sadistic villainy.

The acting is pretty superb throughout, Dreyfuss is good and funny and moving, Teri Garr is excellent, Truffaut (this was my first exposure to him as a kid) is really perfect for the role, and it's another Melinda Dillon performance that reminds me why every single time i've ever seen her in anything she made a major impression. She fully inhabits every character she plays in a low-key non-demonstrative manner.

also appreciate the symmetry w/Raiders of the Lost Ark: our questing hero obsessed and traversing a continent, captured near the end by a Frenchman and some military guys, who manages to witness some freaky shit with his female counterpart at night at a remote base nestled in some rocky mountainside, set up specifically to document/welcome the arrival of some unknown creatures.

omar little, Monday, 2 December 2019 18:52 (one year ago) link

otm throughout, and wow at that last paragraph!

Doctor Casino, Monday, 2 December 2019 22:14 (one year ago) link

damn omar

everytime you write about a movie i love i wanna watch it again right away - but this is one of your best <3

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 3 December 2019 02:58 (one year ago) link

What stood out to me more than anything were the domestic scenes, which were intense and particularly real in a way that surprised me

Agree, I think it's a Spielberg fingerprint as I had similar reactions to domestic scenes in Jaws and Poltergeist.

The whole selection of night time ufo chase scenes at the beginning knocked me sideways as a child. Love this movie.

I watched it a few years ago and was interrupted by the gas meter reading guy, the scene from the desert was showing and he moaned about how unrealistic the helicopter appearing over the hill was because it made no sound. Shut up and get out of my house, (I wish I'd have said)

In space, pizza sends out for YOU (Ste), Tuesday, 3 December 2019 08:53 (one year ago) link

*deadpan* Quickly Brad there are thousands of lives at stake

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 3 December 2019 14:17 (one year ago) link

Dillon had quite a streak b/w this film and A Christmas Story.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 3 December 2019 14:19 (one year ago) link

That’s very kind of you’re a saint!

Strangely the character I’ve recently seen who reminds me most of Neary is maybe Miller from The Expanse, a similarly blue-collar type operating under a very different more noir detective form of existential misery, who also gets “imprinted” in a sense and basically abandons his life for what may very well be a one-way ticket to the unknown.

omar little, Tuesday, 3 December 2019 17:58 (one year ago) link

yeah that is a good parallel

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 3 December 2019 19:38 (one year ago) link

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