Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Back to: Close Encounters

I never thought I would want to see CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND again, ever - as I overdosed on it so much back in the '70s, but there it was just starting on afternoon television, so I looked in and was hooked again. It is simply one of the most perfect movies ever, pure cinema and its all done with lights and music, John Williams' sweeping score being an integral element here, as it all captures the wonder and awe of a child seeing movies for the first time.
Back in 1977 we went to STAR WARS but that was not me at all - then the buzz grew about CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, I went to see Stephen Spielberg discuss it at the London NFT (National Film Theatre) with my pal Stan, and we could not wait to see it. It was so astounding I had to go back to it again a few days later having the full screen in front of me at a matinee. That moment when Melinda Dillon turns around and sees the mother ship coming over the hill is still astounding even on television. Richard Dreyfuss's character of the Indiana everyman has not worn well though (like most of his roles) but those two terrific actresses Terri Garr and Melinda Dillon show why we loved them so much then - Terri of course was also so loveable in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, another key '70s treasure.

The splendid moments are still there and it remains a solid pleasure. What are particularly engaging now are the scenes between mother and son, Dillon and Cary Guffey and his delight at the visitors from the skies. The scene where he is spirited away is a powerhouse too as the house is no refuge from the visitors from the skies above rural Indiana. Like AMERICAN GIGOLO and ALL THAT JAZZ and those 70s Woody Allens and Bergman's AUTUMN SONATA and Malick's DAYS OF HEAVEN and LOOKING FOR MR GOODBAR it remains a key late '70s masterwork.

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