Thursday, January 5, 2012

Favourite Scene Friday! Close Encounters of the Third Kind: First Contact

Feast your eyes on to the escape hatch!'s first guest Favourite Scene Friday - our first guest post in general in fact!  

Today's scene comes to us courtesy of Ruth from and it's an awe-inspiring piece of Spielberg's classic alien encounter flick Close Encounters of the Third Kind.   
Ruth's blog has a great feature on classic trailers. You can also visit her on Twitter - @RuthElizabeth_R. 

It's so hard to narrow down my favourite movie scenes of all time, but I can never go past this scene from Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. 

I have my Dad to thank for introducing me to this film. I was only fourteen at the time, and I was right into Star Trek - I was watching the films over and over again, and he came home with the DVD one day and said something like "Here, this is a really good film. Can we watch it instead of Star Trek again?" I'm so glad he did that. 

We pick up this scene just after Roy Neary, who has been plagued by his desire to understand his alien encounter the entire film (to the dismay of his family, who believe he's become unstable) has literally climbed the Devils Tower, under a strange compulsion he just can't explain. Of all the people who have been touched by the strange experience, he and Jillian (Melinda Dillon) are the only ones to have made it this far, Jillian drawn by the desire to find her son Barry, who is missing. The initial contact with the aliens was successful, and the government team, led by Claude Lacombe (Francois Truffaut in one of his few acting roles) are congratulating each other on their success, when the mothership appears - everyone is awed by its size and majesty, having thought that contact was over. They play the five tones that the aliens have been transmitting to them, and this is the result. 

The film has been slowly building to this moment from the opening, and this scene entrances me every time I watch it. The music is just incredible for one thing - it makes me feel incredibly alive. The look of joy on everyone's faces - Richard Dreyfuss and Truffaut especially - is a mirror for what the audience is made to feel. There is such a sense of optimism and hope radiating that I can't help but smile. This is probably one of the few films out there that deals with "first contact" between humans and aliens in a positive manner. It takes the view that if aliens exist, it doesn't mean they have to be hostile. This kind of joy is missing from a lot of cinema nowadays (J.J. Abrams rediscovered it in Super 8) and it's something that I miss and crave at times (not that I was around when this film was released, but it's nostalgic all the same!).

The music ends here on a rather ominous note (Jaws theme anyone?) and so ends my scene, but if possible what follows is just as amazing. It's a great film and this scene is definitely - if not my favourite ever - in my top ten.


  1. Welcome to the Hatch Ruth. Really like the movie and enjoyed your write up.

  2. Thanks so much for inviting me to take part! :D

  3. Great scene Ruth. Love it when those windows bust out. Definitely need to watch this flick again. Thanks for sharing one of your favorite (I mean favourite) scenes!