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Sci-Fi Scenes: Close Encounters, Devil’s Tower, 1977

In 1977 two movies were released by two future juggernauts in Hollywood.  George Lucas released his first installment in the Star Wars universe, and Steven Spielberg released Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  But Lucas had no confidence that Star Wars would be a success.  While visiting Spielberg on the set of CE3K Lucas made a bet that the alien encounter movie would be the bigger success.  Spielberg took the bet . . . a mutual 2.5% bet.  Lucas lost the bet naturally, Star Wars was a phenomenon and not even the excellent Close Encounters could compete with it.

It’s reported that, to date, Spielberg has made approximately $50 million off the bet.

CE3K was Spielberg’s first foray in to the world of extraterrestrials, and the special effects were headed by Douglas Trumbull.  The pivotal scene in the movie is one that wraps all the previous elements in to one package:  the elusive aliens show themselves, the reason for the musical tones is revealed, and the destination of the character’s visions (Devil’s Tower) is realized.  It’s a scene (and movie) that painted aliens with a refreshingly favorable and benign brush, and not as brain eating monsters.

What is a Sci-Fi Scene? These scenes are memorable because they touch the soul, show amazing visions of the future, or broke ground in film technology. All these scenes are so great that they are in no particular order, just the order that they come to me. Enjoy!

About Neal Ulen

Neal Ulen
Editor/Webmaster - Engineer by training, nerd by passion. Speculative fiction has influenced me since I was a kid, guiding me to the career I have now, and likely saving me from myself during times in my young life when the path was fraught with a minefield of choices. I dabble in tech, game, film, fiction, and writing. These are my true passions, and have been since the summer of '77.