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Close Encounters of the Third Kind$
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Jon Towlson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781911325079

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781911325079.001.0001

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Close Encounters: Influences and Production Background

Close Encounters: Influences and Production Background

(p.25) 2. Close Encounters: Influences and Production Background
Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Jon Towlson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines a number of filmic influences on Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), which give it an element of intertextuality. Rather than lending Close Encounters an air of postmodern pastiche, the intertextuality of the film helps to shape its inner meaning and philosophy. The chapter highlights how Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is a major influence on Spielberg's film in a number of ways. Other influences on Close Encounters include Disney films; other great American filmmakers; Alfred Hitchcock and Frank Capra; and astrophysicist J. Allen Hynek's book The UFO Experience: A Scientific Report (1972), which rekindled Spielberg's long-term personal interest in the UFO phenomenon that had begun as a teenager growing up in Arizona, and which had already resulted in his feature-length amateur film, Firelight, made in 1964 when he was sixteen. The chapter then details the production background of Close Encounters, including its script development and filming process.

Keywords:   Steven Spielberg, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, intertextuality, Stanley Kubrick, Disney films, American filmmakers, UFO phenomenon, script development, filming process, Firelight

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