Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
August 30
Close Encounters of the Third Kind November 16, 1977
Close Encounters of the Third Kind opens

Thirty-three years after its opening on November 16, 1977, you can still hear those five notes. For Close Encounters of the Third Kind, his follow-up to Jaws, Steven Spielberg asked composer John Williams to compose a musical phrase that would represent mankind’s attempt to communicate with the aliens responsible for a rash of UFO sightings. Williams reportedly chafed at the five-note limitation, wanting at least seven or eight notes to work with. But Spielberg argued for five, citing the letters in the word “hello” as inspiration. The scorer went on to listen to “When you Wish Upon a Star” as inspiration for what would be one of his most memorable soundtracks. As for the film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is one of the director’s best, a weird fusion of the UFO-mania of the time, religious symbolism, and the loopy narrative integrity of a sci-fi obsessed teenage mind. (The film had its origins in a script Spielberg wrote while a teen.) In the Chicago Reader (http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/close-encounters-of-the-third-kind/Film?oid=1068469) Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote, “For better or worse, one of Steven Spielberg's best films, and perhaps still the best expression of his benign, dreamy-eyed vision. Humanity's first contact with alien beings proves to be a cause for celebration and a form of showbiz razzle-dazzle that resembles a slowly descending chandelier in a movie palace..... Very close in overall spirit and nostalgic winsomeness to the fiction of Ray Bradbury, with beautiful cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond that deservedly won an Oscar. This is dopey Hollywood mysticism all right, but thanks to considerable craft and showmanship, it packs an undeniable punch.”


More Flashbacks
The Last House on the Left August 30, 1972
The Last House on the Left opens

Director Wes Craven is best known for the inventive Nightmare on Elm Street horror films. Producer and director Sean Cunningham has earned a place in film history for birthing Jason Voorhees, the masked killer in the Friday the 13th series.

Read more »
August 30, 1967
Point Blank Opens

Following his debut film, Catch Us if You Can, which starred the Dave Clark Five in an odd yet technically dazzling capturing of the '60s pop culture zeitgeist, John Boorman traveled to America to make his first studio picture.

Read more »
30 August 1940
A Dance To Remember

A flop when it was released, Dance, Girl, Dance slowly found its audience as fans recognized the complex feminist drama at the heart of this musical.

Read more »