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Restored Isolated Score/Thematic Breakdown: Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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So, here we are. After A.I. I definitely had to find something with enough gravitas to step it up. You know the methodology: present the score as is, the footage synced to it. In this case extra

In Television Reveals The Vision reaches its zenith, its supporting Obsession setting giving way to a quick unfinished Mountain. Then we get more Obsession and string rythms, not quite as dramatic as

Haven't gotten around to watching these videos yet @Holkobut is it possible to edit together a comprehensive version of this film, combining all the exclusive scenes from each cut? How long would that run do you think? Has anyone ever tried? 


I'm not too familiar with the changes and variations between each cut but I'm assuming it's not a George Lucas situation where different versions of the film have different VFX (or Alien 3, where entire sequences play out differently in each cut). 

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21 minutes ago, crumbs said:

is it possible to edit together a comprehensive version of the film, combining all the scenes from all versions? How long would that run do you think?

oof. That was the first thing I did, edited them all together then realised it was completely unnecessary for this and even a problem once (the shower scene cutting Forming the Mountain in half). A lot of times a frame or two was left out at scene transitions but I assume part of that may have been because of the bluray switching between branching chapters - otherwise yeah, one could be edited together. You'd have to make only a couple choices, like between the first family scene and the musicbox insert shot that replaced it, there's no good way to reintegrate that. Runtimewise it wouldn't be a huge increase, probably 2:25 at max? It'd be a lot longer with the deleted scenes but the 3 versions share a vast majority of the material.


21 minutes ago, crumbs said:

I'm not too familiar with the changes and variations between each cut but I'm assuming it's not a George Lucas situation where different versions of the film have different VFX. 

Yeah, no. It's telling that all of it fits on one bluray - they aren't keeping 3 entire separate copies but they use branching chapters because all of them are mutually visually coherent and everything, mostly just differently edited, two or one new scenes added or some old deleted scenes added back in, two scenes switched in order, things like that. It's interesting to dive into and wrap your head around once, all 3 are worth a watch for different reasons, but then just stick with the theatrical :lol:

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Listening to " Abduction" i couldn't help thinking that if/when music like this was played in post-war concert halls, it would send audiences fleeing for the exits!

Yet, we accept it in movies.

Not an original comment,  but worth repeating, for the young'uns.😁

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In Television Reveals The Vision reaches its zenith, its supporting Obsession setting giving way to a quick unfinished Mountain. Then we get more Obsession and string rythms, not quite as dramatic as in the early scenes.



That mood comes back in the revised Across Country, though, dramatic Obsession all the way through. The Mountain then fittingly gives us the most energetic reading of The Mountain so far - though its full form beyond the 3 notes is still not complete, it's cut short by The Vision then more Obsession - the goal is obvious and visible but they're not quite there yet. A full version of The Mountain does come in on strings but not too sure of itself.



Who Are You People fits too, giving us the last of the Military motif plus some lowkey Obsession.



The Escape (revised) is microedited. The script pens the scene quite a bit longer, I guessed the part I included might be the most significant missing bit that might have been included even late enough for JW to score it. Obsession rythms and a return of the excited strings lead to a triumphant but still incomplete Mountain.



Climbing the Mountain fits with a tiny cut to the footage, but its ending is overwritten by Outstretched Hands in the theatrical, so I used the footage for both cues. s expected, more Obsession.



Outstretched Hands gives us the final stretch of desperate Obsession action, then a complete relieved Mountain statement.

Outstretch Extension seems to just be an unused extended insert for the end of Outstretched Hands?



The Lite Show is heavily microedited and sometimes replaced with looped material. As the booklet says, this and other following cues were sometimes recorded to blank leaders, little to no *finalised* storyboards or locked placehoders to score, just pure imagination and later butchery. The association between the alien craft and lights and the voices continues, but now far less dramatically than before.

Beside the opening notes being more spaced out, Advance Scout Greeting fits as is, probably recorded late to a locked picture, mostly The Five Notes.



Barnstorming is a little cut up, nothing thematic beside allusions to The Vision and The Mountain.

The Arrival of the Mothership is in significant part unused and doesn't fit as is, had to stretch the footage in a couple places. Finally we get a full-blooded complete The Mountain by the end, supported by a lighter hearted Obsession.

The Conversation... In this case I opted for recreating (or at least roughly approximating) the significantly shorter, in some places reordered film edit. Couldn't have edited the picture to it, and ignoring would have been a disgrace, it has to be here. Obviously mostly The Five Notes at play here, too.

The Pilots Return fits nicely and is used all the way for a change.



The Appearance of the Visitors - removed all shots of the tall alien plus one more of the tall grey headed man walking back looking down (removing one tall alien shot created a jumpcut from him to him), and now it fits pretty well! Most of it was tracked over in the final film but not completely unused. Thematicity returns with When You Wish Upon A Star.

The Visitors - severely cut down. I could have used the short version but I had to show by just how much. Even that one would leave massive black screens so I won't even bother with it for the bonus section. The Five Notes now enter the score proper and the cue finishes with a satisfying reading of The Mountain.

End Title fits until suddenly it runs too long. I stretched the part after the mothership leaves to fill the music out. Five Notes statements are followed by The Mountain, When You Wish Upon A Star, then a few final choral Five Notes finish the score.


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For the film’s LTP concerts, the music-cues ‘Barry is Kidnapped’ and ‘Arrival of the Mothership’ were performed live in its entirety.


You are right @Holko, in that these said cues, would not fit the film’s final edit as they were originally recorded on the scoring stage.  According to a Steven Spielberg interview that appeared on the 1990 CE3K-Criterion Laserdisc release and Cinefx magazine, Columbia Pictures wanted the film released 4 weeks earlier than planned, so, everyone in the crew had to double their efforts in wrapping-up the film.  JW was no exception.  Because the VFX shots were still being created during the scoring process, JW would receive working reels of the film with ‘blank leaders’ that substituted for the VFX shots (these were the days before pre-visualization where CGI mock-up shots of VFX shots would be inserted into the working reels to help the music composer give a sense of a scene’s timing). By the time production came to the sound-dubbing process, the final VFX shots had arrived and inserted into the final-edit (???).


Well, kind-da: in that said 1990 interview, Spielberg said that his theatrical cut of CE3K was a ‘work-in-progress’ cut). 

 If the recorded music didn’t fit the scenes with the VFX shots, portions of the music would be left out.


Mike M., who works on these LTP concerts as a ‘technical advisor’ prepared these said cues using a digital audio workstation with a duration-altering plug-in to stretch or speed-up audio files. When that was done, Mike M’s music edits were transcribed to hard-copy score pages and a synchronizing-version of the film, with click-tracks and streamers, was created for the conductor and musicians to use at these concerts.

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And finally, the bonuses.



TV Western is of course for an unreleased deleted scene so I couldn't restore it, and Eleventh Commandment is used in a very throwaway way... but oh man is Lava Flow funny as heck when lined up!




Across the Fields - interesting approach to return to the earlier car material with the excited string figures instead of the more advanced kind of Obsession!



The Escape - again a very different approach, this time lots of stuff are missing - I tried to fill the middle bit in with bits of the script.



Inside - yeah, why not while I'm at it. Actually, the opening with Roy walking in is scored by tracked music, and I had to speed up the shot going up by all those windows because the cue was looped there. Good job Steven, making JW score a not locked cut again then tampering with it even when it's just an inserted sequence for a gimmick rerelease. Anyway, JW here technically adds a new first establishment of material that was before this exclusive to The Visitors, includes a satisfied final-feeling development of Obsession and also plays When You Wish Upon A Star again.



Not present: The two Wild Mountain Tones, unused as far as I know; The Dialogue (playback) which would have been even harder to sync up than the final one because it's different and Mike said in the booklet they gave up trying to sync the on-set action to it pretty quickly; The Visitors (short version) which does not actually have different, just shorter/faster segments as far as I know and it still is definitely longer than the film edit as stated above; and The Approach, which is so abstract and was scored to such an early cut with blank leaders and unfinished effects that I gave up trying to make anything of it very quickly.

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