John Landis on

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Released 1977
Distributor Columbia

Steven Spielberg was playing with house money after the enormous success of  Jaws and he struck pay dirt again with this epic sci-fi fantasy chock-full of brilliantly composed panoramas and cracker-jack suspense scenes. Filming largely on the biggest indoor set ever constructed (inside a gigantic World War II dirigible hangar in Mobile, Alabama), CT3K races through its 137 minutes without breaking a sweat, arriving at a climax at Wyoming’s Devils Tower that is one of the most ecstatic moments in movie history. Vilmos Zsigmond’s Oscar winning cinematography helps make that sequence and the rest of Close Encounters a memorably visionary experience.

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About John Landis

John Landis is the director of Animal House, The Blues BrothersAn American Werewolf In LondonTrading Places, Schlock, Kentucky Fried MovieSpies Like UsThree Amigos!Into The Night, The Stupids, Innocent Blood, Coming To America, Burke & Hare, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Black Or White among many other films, commercials and extensive work in television. He was the Executive Producer and often director of HBO's celebrated series Dream On, and contributed two movies to the Masters of Horror series, Deer Woman and Family. His feature length documentaries Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project premiered on HBO, and Slasher on IFC.