These 7 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind Photos Mean Something

In the summer of 1977, director Steven Spielberg astounded audiences with his seminal science fiction classic Close Encounters of The Third Kind. Sony Pictures has been working hard on a theatrical release of the film, their viral marketing campaign from earlier this year causing fans to believe a sequel was in the works instead.

Author Michael Klastorin has created a beautiful book about the making of Close Encounters, and thanks to Entertainment Weekly, we get a sneak peak of the concents:

In this photo, Melinda Dillon and Cary Guffey prepare to film the scene where the aliens wreak havoc at their farmhouse. “[Director Steven Spielberg] took 4-year-old Guffey aside and explained the various effects that would blow apart the kitchen, but kept the action a secret from Melinda Dillon, wanting her reactions of terror to be completely spontaneous,” says Klastorin. “It worked.”
Richard Dreyfuss takes a break in the corner of one of the two cavernous air force hangars that were converted into sound stages big enough to hold the film’s sets.

 

In the small Indian village of Hal, Spielberg recruited two thousand extras to chant the film’s mysterious five-note musical sequence, and then point to the sky to indicate where it had come from. “The scene took numerous takes, as a number of the extras would either point in the wrong direction, or lower their hands before the director yelled ‘Cut!'” says Klastorin.

 

A design sketch by famed puppet master Bob Baker for the first alien that would emerge from the Mothership, which is different in appearance from the creatures that would follow. “I wanted there to be diversity inside that particular civilization,” says Spielberg in Close Encounters of the Third Kind: The Ultimate Visual History.

 

“Spielberg had planned an extensive and elaborate scene in which dozens and dozens of ‘cuboids’ — illuminated cubes — were dispersed by the initial three spaceships descended into Box Canyon,” says Klastorin. “They would fly around the complex, exploring and interacting with the scientists and technicians. Working in an age before the advent of digital effects, the filmmaker shot two days before abandoning the effort.”

 

“In his original script, Spielberg had imagined a gravity field immediately surrounding the Mothership, which would allow the aliens to fly around the scientific complex once emerging from the ship, soaring over the heads of the humans,” says Klastorin. “After a day or shooting a number of extras in alien costumes suspended by wires, Spielberg wasn’t satisfied with the results and dropped that aspect of the script.”

 

“For the alien that would exchange hand signals with Lacombe (François Truffault), Spielberg hired Academy Award-winner Carlo Rambaldi to create an articulated puppet,” says Klastorin. “Rambaldi’s sketch shows the internal mechanisms that would bring that puppet — affectionately referred to by Spielberg as ‘Puck’ — to life.”

Klastorin’s beautiful book is available now on Amazon in both a hardcover edition and for the kindle.

About Mary Anne Butler

Bleeding Cool News Editor Mary Anne Butler (Mab, for short) has been part of the fast-paced world of journalism since she was 15, getting her start in album reviews and live concert coverage for a nationally published (print) music magazine. She eventually transitioned to online media, writing for such sites as UGO/IGN, ComicsOnline, Geek Magazine, Ace of Geeks, Aggressive Comix (where she is still Editor-in-Chief), and most recently Bleeding Cool.



Over the past 10 years, she’s built a presence at conventions across the globe as a cosplayer (occasionally), photographer (constantly), panelist and moderator (mostly), and reporter (always). 



Interviews, reviews, observations, breaking news, and objective reporting are the name of the game for the founder of Harkonnen Knife Fight, a Dune-themed band with an international presence. 



Though she be but little, she is fierce. #MabTheProfessional

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