Close Encounters of the Third Kind - The Special Edition

Year: 1980

Production: Columbia

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Francois Truffaut, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, Gary Guffey, Bib Balaban

Screenwriter: Steven Spielberg

Novelization (1977) by Steven Spielberg

132 minutes; Color


This slightly shorter, re-edited version of Spielberg's huge 1977 success, which contains some new footage, represents a curious piece of cinematic history. Many critics saw it as inferior to the original, though the idea was that Spielberg now had so much commercial clout that he could, at last, release the film exactly as he had always wanted it. New material includes a scene where Neary, the UFO-obsessed power worker, makes his family hysterical; a surrealistic shot of an ocean liner left stranded by puckish aliens in the Gobi Desert; and a sequence inside the mother ship (so-so special effects) with an ill-judged soundtrack of "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Walt Disney's Pinocchio (1940). The new Neary sequences darken the film; the new ending, in contrast, lightens it by emphasizing its fairy-tale aspect. Whatever, the new version,which is the one now normally shown, made a lot of money.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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