‘Close Encounters’ Lands Another Summer Release

Visitor at Devil's Tower
Photo courtesy of IMDB

By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter

To mark its 40th anniversary, long-time Palisadian filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s science fiction masterpiece “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” will return to theaters for a one-week, limited showing.

First released in December 1977, Spielberg’s third, critically acclaimed feature has been remastered by Sony Pictures and will appear in 4K.

For those who are new to the film, “Close Encounters” follows a salt-of-the-earth, Midwestern man—played by Richard Dreyfuss—whose limited understanding of the world becomes dramatically impacted by mystifying celestial phenomena.

(Steve McQueen was originally chosen to play the protagonist, but declined due to his inability to cry on cue. His rejection would ultimately lead Dreyfuss to acquire the role, garnering him yet another summer blockbuster hit following his role in “Jaws.”)

What makes this sci-fi spectacle different from its creature-feature predecessors, however, is its heavy focus on human themes of isolation, obsession and spiritual yearning rather than just the terrors of the unknown.

(Renowned sci-fi author Ray Bradbury has even called  “Close Encounters” the “best science fiction film ever made.”)

Considered to be the first movie of its kind, this transcendental film was nominated for nine Oscars, winning one for Best Cinematography, and even created an entirely new Special Achievement award for sound effects editing.

Visual effects master Douglas Trumbull, known for his work on groundbreaking science fiction films such as Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” crafted the film’s aliens and mothership—a feat that ultimately launched his career and later earned him two Academy Awards and a nomination for his work on Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner.”

The film, which also stars innovative French New Wave director Francois Truffaut, Terri Garr and Melinda Dillon, will arrive back in theaters on Sept. 1.