Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
September 21
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
Bill Murray September 21, 1950
Bill Murray born

Edgy without being mean-spirited or snarky, emotional without tipping into the sentimental, and crazily offbeat while not being alienating or obscure, Bill Murray fashioned a unique comic persona early in his career and has only deepened and expanded it as the years have gone by.

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Sep. 21, 1957
Ethan Coen Born (alone)

While it is hard to separate either Ethan and Joel Coen from the team title “the Coen Brothers,” they are, of  course, different people.

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Sept 21, 1957
O Brother, Where Art Thou

Even as the younger Coen Brother, Ethan has been essential to this filmmaking duo.

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