Monday, April 30, 2012

Close Encounters of the Third Kind


Close Encounters of the Third Kind (30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition)

#64 on the 1998 AFI Top 100 American Movies List

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (sometimes abbreviated to CE3K and often referred to as just Close Encounters) is a 1977 science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, and Cary Guffey. It tells the story of Roy Neary, a lineman in Indiana, whose life changes after he has an encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO). The United States government and an international team of scientific researchers are also aware of the UFOs.

Close Encounters was a long-cherished project for Spielberg. In late 1973, he developed a deal with Columbia Pictures for a science fiction film. Though Spielberg receives sole credit for the script, he was assisted by Paul Schrader, John Hill, David Giler, Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins, and Jerry Belson, all of whom contributed to the screenplay in varying degrees. The title is derived from ufologist J. Allen Hynek's classification of close encounters with aliens, in which the third kind denotes human observations of actual aliens or "animate beings".

Filming began in May 1976. Douglas Trumbull served as the visual effects supervisor, while Carlo Rambaldi designed the aliens. Close Encounters was released in November 1977 and was a critical and financial success. The film was reissued in 1980 as Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Special Edition, which featured additional scenes. A third cut of the film was released to home video (and later DVD) in 1998. The film received numerous awards and nominations at the 50th Academy Awards, 32nd British Academy Film Awards, the 35th Golden Globe Awards, the Saturn Awards and has been widely acclaimed by the American Film Institute. In December 2007, it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry

* Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary, an electrical lineman in Indiana who encounters and forms an obsession with unidentified flying objects. Steve McQueen was Spielberg's first choice. Although McQueen was impressed with the script, he felt he was not specifically right for the role as he was unable to cry on cue. Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, and Gene Hackman turned down the part as well.Jack Nicholson turned it down because of scheduling conflicts. Spielberg explained when filming Jaws, "Dreyfuss talked me into casting him. He listened to about 155-days worth of Close Encounters. He even contributed ideas." Dreyfuss reflected, "I launched myself into a campaign to get the part. I would walk by Steve's office and say stuff like 'Al Pacino has no sense of humor' or 'Jack Nicholson is too crazy'. I eventually convinced him to cast me."
* François Truffaut as Claude Lacombe, a French government scientist in charge of UFO-related activities in the United States. Gérard Depardieu, Philippe Noiret, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and Lino Ventura were considered for the role. During filming, Truffaut used his free time to write the script for The Man Who Loved Women. He also worked on a novel titled The Actor, a project he abandoned.
* Melinda Dillon as Jillian Guiler, Barry's single mother. She forms a similar obsession to Roy's, and the two become friends. Teri Garr wanted to portray Jillian, but was cast as Ronnie. Hal Ashby, who worked with Dillon on Bound for Glory, suggested her for the part to Spielberg. Dillon was cast three days before filming began.
* Cary Guffey as Barry Guiler, Jillian's young child abducted in the middle of the film. Spielberg conducted a series of method acting techniques to help Guffey, who was cast when he was just three years old.
* Teri Garr as Veronica "Ronnie" Neary, Roy's wife. Amy Irving (who later became Spielberg's wife) auditioned for the role.
* Bob Balaban as David Laughlin, Lacombe's assistant and English-French interpreter. They meet for the first time in the Sonoran Desert at the beginning of the film.
* Josef Sommer as Larry Butler, a curious man who meets Roy and Jillian in Wyoming and attempts to scale Devil's Tower with them.
* Lance Henriksen as Robert. Henriksen would go on to star in such sci-fi classics as The Terminator and Aliens.
* Roberts Blossom as Farmer, a radical who claims to have seen Sasquatch.

J. Allen Hynek and Stanton T. Friedman make cameo appearances at the closing scene. Spielberg's friends Hal Barwood and Matthew Robbins cameo as two World War II pilots returning from the mother ship. Real life ARP technician Phil Dodds cameos as the operator of the ARP 2500 synthesizer communicating with the alien ship.

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