Movie News & Reviews

‘Close Encounters’ back to earth Friday for a 40th anniversary rewind

Richard Dreyfuss stars in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
Richard Dreyfuss stars in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Courtesy Everett Collection

The latest confirmation that we’re getting old hits theaters Friday with the 40th anniversary re-release of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”

Its weeklong run includes dates at Edwards Fresno Stadium 22 and Maya Fresno 16.

The Steven Spielberg film, originally shot in 35mm, has been remade using 4K restoration.

The movie tells the story of an Indiana utility company lineman (Richard Dreyfuss) who has an encounter with a UFO and then is drawn to a larger extraterrestrial event.

It won an Oscar for Best Cinematography (Vilmos Zsigmond) and a Special Achievement award for Frank E. Warner for sound effects editing. It was nominated in the categories of Best Director (Spielberg), Best Original Music Score (John Williams) and Best Supporting Actress (Melinda Dillon) plus visual effects, sound mixing and production design.

And, yes, there’s a central San Joaquin Valley reference: A local farmer blurts out at a press conference, “I saw Bigfoot once! Sequoia National Forest, 1951.”

5 things to know about ‘CE3K’

1. The term “third kind,” meaning physical contact with extraterrestrials, comes from J. Allen Hynek’s book “The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry.”

2. The aliens that come out of the spaceship were played by young girls.

3. Security for CE3K was so tight, director Steven Spielberg himself was turned away one day when he forgot his ID card.

4. When the mothership arrives at Devils Tower, an upside-down R2-D2 – from “Star Wars” – can be seen on the rim of the vessel.

5. The five-note theme used for communication with the aliens was picked from a compilation of 100 options from composer John Williams.

– Parade

John Williams concert

Want to hear more from John Williams? The Fresno Philharmonic features his work (oh, yeah, he did the music for “Star Wars,” too)

When: Saturday, Sept. 16

Where: Saroyan Theatre