…in an otherwise problematic film. For Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which I totally fell for when it opened 43 years ago, is chock-filled with irritations, annoyances, sugar highs, blatant contrivances and hard-to-swallow behaviors from beginning to end.
There are so many moments in CE3K that are either affected or close to nonsensical or impossible to swallow, that I realized about 13 years ago that there isn’t a single scene doesn’t miss in some way.
Except, that is, for the air-traffic controller scene near the beginning. Every element is spot-on. The dialogue, acting, framing and editing are dead perfect and exactly as they should be. And nobody’s “acting” — they’re just doing it. Especially David Anderson, the moustachioed black dude who’s talking with all the planes and pilots. Talk about owning.
“Close Encounters Deflation“, posted on 11.19.07: “I’ll always love the opening seconds of Steven Spielberg‘s once-legendary film, which I saw on opening day at Manhattan’s Ziegfeld theatre on 11.16.77. I wasn’t a New York journalist or even a Manhattanite at that stage. I’d taken the train in from Connecticut that morning.
“I still get chills thinking about that black-screen silence as the main credits fade in and out, plainly but ominously. And then John Williams‘ organish space-music sounding faintly, and then a bit more…slowly building, louder and louder. And then that huge orchestral CRASH! at the exact split second that the screen is filled with a fierce sandstorm, and we’re in the Sonoran desert looking for those pristine WW II planes without the pilots.”