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Close Enounters Of The Third Kind - theatrical version on DVD?

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I know this seems like a non Star Wars related topic, but I figured this was a good place to post a question regarding laserdisc transfers to DVD.

I've heard that the theatrical version of Close Encounters was never released on home video, but I've also heard that the laserdisc release was the least-altered of any version available. I'm wondering if anyone can clear this up. I'm also wondering if anyone's considered doing a transfer to DVD of the theatrical or laserdisc version, or if any transfers already exist. Thanks for your time

"For Star Wars to return to its roots it must be based more on emotion than explanation."  -- J.J. Abrams

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As far as I know, the DVD is not the original theatrical cut. For one thing, there's a scene where a boat is found in the middle of a desert (a clever forced-perspective shot.) I believe this was filmed much later for the Special Edition.

I don't know specifics about the Criterion Collection version, but I seem to recall there being more than one ending, if not more than one version.

[EDIT] According to IMDB: "1980 Special version. The 1977 version can be programmed. Two Pressings with several minor errors."

I know the Special Edition dropped or edited the scenes where Dreyfuss raids the neighbors' yards for building materials (my parent's favorite scene), and had an extended ending. I guess the '77 programming restores this video and shortens the ending, among other things?
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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IIRC, the only new scene shot was the interior of the Mothership. (Richard Dreyfuss was brought back in to shoot his reactions during the production of 1941.) Everything else were scenes that didn't make it into the 1977 cut originally. The ironic thing is that the Special Edition is harder to see these days. Spielberg has disowned it, claiming the new ending was something the studio forced him to add before he could recut the film. (And he recut it again in the 90's!) The weird thing is the last couple times CE3K has been on TNT it's the special edition. Steven should have had the term copyrighted as it's been abused so much in the past decade!
originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Unfortunately, IMDB has it wrong. Here is a quote from the insert of the Criterion Collection Close Encounters insert...

"This laserdisc presents the original edition of Close Encounters of the Third Kind with one shot from the Special Edition that was included at Mr. Spielberg's request (side 1, chapter 8, frames 33962 - 34118)."

So it's the original cut with the Special Edition scenes at the ends of their respective disc sides. One has the choice of watching the original cut straight through or programming the laserdisc player to insert the Special Edition scenes at the appropriate times.

I have this Criterion laserdisc set and have tentative plans to transfer the "original" cut to DVD in the near future with a second disc that will include all of the supplementary material.

From what I gather, the film was a rushed production and Spielberg did not like the '77 cut. The studio allowed him to recut/ refine the film only if he added the scenes of inside the mothership to the ending. It seems that "Spielberg's cut" would be the Special Edition sans the "inside the mothership" ending.
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I thought the dvd cut is what speilberg wanted as the final cut of the movie I got mine from the far east (silver) but here are the differences that I can remember;

1 ship is still in desert
2 daughter scene watching tv when dreyfuss wakes up is gone
3 robbing neighbours rubbish is gone
4 diving on wifes car is gone
5 new town hall meeting scene
6 internal mothership is gone

that's most of them that I can remember