Steven Spielberg, John Williams and the film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’

Our appreciation for most films Steven Spielberg and most film scores John Williams at Matt Lynn Digital is a justifiable, poorly kept secret. An early film in the collaboration of these two titans of cinema is an alien-themed film with a lyrical bent that impacted editing, as opposed to the reverse. Today we remember the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

Close Encounters 5 - Steven Spielberg, film writer and director, left, and John Williams, music writer and conductor(Steven Spielberg, left, wrote and directed Close Encounters of the Third Kind as John Williams wrote and conducted the film’s music).

The film features two main stories converging into a single tack around the notion of alien visitors visiting Earth. Academy Award winning director François Truffaut director from Day For Night (1973) stars in the role of French scientist Claude Lacombe, the authority at the forefront of understanding odd disappearances, inexplicable alien encounters, and the human responses to these. Richard Dreyfuss stars as Roy Neary, one of the persistent and compelling humans to experience just such an encounter beginning in northeast Indiana and crossing over into northwest Ohio.

Close Encounters 2 - François Truffaut as Claude Lacombe, left, and Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary(François Truffaut as Claude Lacombe, left, and Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

Melinda Dillon and Cary Guffey starred as Jillian and Barry Guiler, two caught up in the telling three compelling perspectives for the same encounter that drew Roy Neary (Dreyfuss) into the alien encounter tale spun by Steven Spielberg. Beyond the notion of aiming to make sense of a calling for answers that Jillian, Barry, and Roy each share from an overwhelming need for answers, the three work to come to grips with their attraction to their close encounter through what is an initially inexplicable need to express what they have experienced.

Close Encounters 3 - Melinda Dillon as Jillian Guiler, left, and Cary Guffey as Barry Guiler(Melinda Dillon as Jillian Guiler, left, and Cary Guffey as Barry Guiler in Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

Barry plays music (composed by Williams) that is shared with him by his initial UFO encounter. Jillian draws a representation of Devils Tower National Monument in  northeastern Wyoming. Roy moves through various stages of molding the monument, from mashed potatoes in an emotional scene with him family through a defiling of the landscaping in his neighborhood that drives his wife, Ronnie Neary as played by Teri Garr, to take the couples kids and flee what feels like a husband losing his emotional hold on a sanity Ronnie understands.

Close Encounters 4 - Teri Garr as Ronnie Neary, left, and Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary(Teri Garr as Ronnie Neary, left, and Richard Dreyfuss as Roy Neary in Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

Through some trickery, subterfuge, and tacit assistance from French scientist Claude Lacombe, Roy Neary and Jillian Guiler make it to the secret military communication with the aliens as Devils Tower, witnessing the communication through music wherein the abducted Barry is reunited with Jillian. An emotional catharsis through the communication and the return of veterans lost to history for 30 years previous without aging were made. Roy happily joins a dozen volunteers who will join the aliens aboard their flying ship, which to quote United States President Ronald Reagan “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to a destination unknown as the closing credits rolled. Our rating of Close Encounters of the Third Kind merits 3.75-stars on a scale of one-to-five.

Matt – Saturday, June 22, 2019

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Author: Matt and Lynn Digital Blog

Matt and Lynn are a couple living in the Midwest of the United States.

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