Close Encounters 40th Anniversary

Edition Released on 4K/Blu-ray

(for those who missed out on the 2017 classic and it’s significance)


by T. L. Keller 



Close Encounters of the Third Kind

40th Anniversary Edition

(4.9 points / 5 points)                            


Columbia Pictures 2017


Directed by Steven Spielberg

Produced by: Julia and Michael Phillips

Music by: John Williams

Technical advisor: Dr. J. Allen Hynek

Visual effects: Douglas Trumbull

Runtime: 2 hr. 24 min.


Lead Male Actors:  Richard Dreyfuss, Bob Balaban, 

                                Cary Guffey

Lead Female Actors: Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon

Scientist: Dr. J. Allen Hynek

UFO Investigator: François Truffaut


The Production


As just about all readers will have seen at least one of the releases, we will not dwell on the storyline.  Suffice to say that Dreyfuss is outstanding as a man becoming insanely obsessed by his need to know and as he says (as Roy Neary) in the film, “All I want to know is what is going on!”  We all can sympathize with him.  Dillon (who plays Jillian, the mother) is also palpable as her small son has just been abducted.  And Garr (Roy’s wife) has memorable moments as she grows terrified by Roy’s aberrant behavior.  Truffaut, who plays the French investigator (apparently modeled after Jacque Vallee) is also brilliant as the only calm person in the entire film.  When Truffaut finally asks Dreyfuss’s character, “What did you expect to find?” the response is, “An answer!”  In the film, Truffaut says to an army colonel, what is a bit of a takeoff from Sagan’s classic quotation, “These are just ordinary people under extraordinary experiences.”


For me, the scenes of crated electronic equipment with the logos of Lockheed, TRW and Rockwell being loaded into fake trucks carrying the emblems of Piggly Wiggly, Coca-Cola and Baskin Robbins are always a joy.  Also the image of the prepared landing site on the north side of Devil’s Tower is always an eye-popping scene no matter how many times I have viewed it.


Lastly, seeing the twelve astronauts dressed in their red flight suits and dark glasses being prepped for their departure makes one wonder if this is not a scene that has already taken place.  Some writers, including author Len Kasten (Secret Journey to Planet Serpo) say that it has and that these replicate scenes from an event that took place in 1965.


The Box Office


Completed on a production budget of $20 million, Close Encounters was released in 1977 to a limited number of cities.  As public acceptance of the controversial subject was well received, distribution was expanded to worldwide release in the following month.  Clearly, it was critically acclaimed and a box office success grossing over $337 million worldwide by 2007.


Remastering of a Classic


A Special Edition of the film, featuring additional scenes, was released theatrically in 1980.  A third Director’s Cut was issued on VHS and LaserDisc in 1998 and later on DVD and Blu-ray.  The film was re-mastered in 4K and re-released in theaters on September 1 of this year for the 40th anniversary.  Some scenes in the Director’s Cut version have been deleted (spoiler alert: the interior scenes of the mother ship have been deleted as Spielberg felt that they did not add to the storyline).  The 4K edition has a nine-minute preamble that has been added to the beginning of the film.  Here Spielberg confides that he didn’t see Close Encounters as a science fiction film because he has always believed in UFOs and extraterrestrial beings.  For him, it was a spiritual, connected film.  J.J. Abrams (director the films Star Trek and Super 8 and producer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens) describes how Close Encounters affected his whole life.


Awards and Acknowledgments


The film received a number of awards and nominations at the 50th Academy Awards, the 32nd British Film Awards, the 35th Golden Globe Awards, the Saturn Awards and has been widely acclaimed by the American Film Institute.


Overall Appraisal


So some readers may wonder, Why the 4.9 out of 5 points?  Why the slight discount from “full credits”?  As in the original 1977 and in the latest edition, the mother ship is displayed as a massive, circular “pincushion” of long probes extending in all directions.  Later, you see that the “bottom” of the mother ship also has what appears to be a set of high-rise structures.  Then, as it’s landing it turns upside down and the “bottom” is then a smooth hemisphere.  I have never liked that special effect as the craft is so massive that this maneuver has always seemed to be outlandish.  Well, I guess it wasn’t too outlandish for Dr. J. Allen Hynek who was the technical advisor to Spielberg.  And, for those who do not know, Hynek has a non-speaking, cameo appearance at the very end of the film with his trademark heavy glasses, goatee and pipe. 3 


Close Encounters, even considering its subject matter, is a classic to worldwide audiences.  To the author it ranks with Gone With The Wind, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Snow White, Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca and a number of others.  In all of these classics, they have been re-released over the decades to both old audiences and to new ones who have never experienced them before.  It’s one thing to receive one or more Oscar awards, it’s another to have a major box office blockbuster, but when you have both it becomes a classic to the generations.


Hollywood and the Pentagon


Many Hollywood films have been commissioned by the Pentagon beginning at least by the 1930s. The connection between the US military, the US government psychologists, their propagandists and Hollywood go back many years.  Since the early 1950s, there have been many terrific science fiction films released, many of which feature UFOs, ET life forms and the US military.


No average citizen receives an invitation by the secretary of defense to visit the Pentagon.  The photograph below is of Steven Spielberg being escorted into the Pentagon by the former Secretary of Defense William Cohen.  This 1999 photo shows them entering the Pentagon in the presence of a full color guard, This was following Spielberg’s ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (1980), the third re-release of Close Encounters in 1998, but before Super 8 in 2011.  Was Secretary of Defense Cohen honoring and thanking Spielberg for his accomplishments with films of this genre? 




                  Spielberg escorted by Defense Secretary Cohen into the Pentagon 4 




  1. Keller, T. L., The Total Novice’s Guide To UFOs, 2nd edition, 2016, digital edition.

  2. Keller, T. L., The Total Novice’s Guide To The Secret Space Program, 2017, digital edition.

  3. The late astrophysicist Dr. J. Allen Hynek was originally hired by the US Air Force and participated in the Project Blue Book investigations over a significant period of time.  Basically, Hynek was paid to develop scientific explanations for the UFO phenomenon and explain away the cases that he was given with mundane causes such as satellites, bright stars, meteors, comets, planets, temperature inversion and radar reflections.  As his studies continued, his opinions began to change. After his US Air Force work, he joined the “opposition” and founded the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS). Years later, Hynek said that that period of his life was “the low point of my association with UFOs.”

  4. Courtesy of the Department of Defense



© T L Keller 2017


Unacknowledged Released to NETFLIX

(for those who missed out on both the 2017 premier and it’s significance)


by T. L. Keller 1



Unacknowledged        (4.8 points /5 points)

An Exposé of the World’s Greatest Secret


A Sirius Disclosure and The Orchard Film, 2017

Directed by Michael Mazzola

Produced by: Auroris Media Productions

Narrated by: Giancarlo Esposito

Runtime: 1 hr. 43 min.


 Witnesses:           Dr. Steven Greer, Richard C. Doty, Bill Uhouse,

                              Steve Lovekin, John Callahan, Glen Dennis, Col.

                              Philip Corso, Maj. George A. Filer, III, Dr. Edgar

                              Mitchell, Sgt. Karl Wolfe, Dr. Carol Rosin, Gordon

                              Cooper, Sgt. Clifford Stone, Sen. Daniel Inouye,

                              Michael Sheehan, Mark McCandlish, Paul Hellyer,

                              John Podesta, Pres. Bill Clinton, Buzz Aldrin,

                              Hillary Clinton.

Scientists:             Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Dr. Hal Puthoff, Dr.

                              Robert Wood

Aerospace Historian and Researcher: Michael Schratt






In 2015 I was approached by Michael Mazzola who introduced himself as the director of a forthcoming documentary by Disclosure Project founder, Dr. Steven Greer.  He was considering me as a possible contributor to the movie.  The film was promoted to me as an eye-opening documentary consisting of the best evidence of the presence of extraterrestrial beings.  It was to provide top-secret testimonials, documents and never-before-seen footage of extraterrestrial spacecraft.  The film is now featured on NETFLIX worldwide and presented in three “Acts.”


ACT I: Are We Alone In The Universe?


The film starts out posing this question to those uninformed individuals in the audience.  To me this is a moot question, but for those viewers who are skeptical the question should be asked . . . and answered.  And, for me, the film does.  It then simply states that, “. . . for every grain of sand there is another Earth-like planet in the Universe capable of sustaining life.”  That should be understood by anyone with a high school diploma, but is it? 


Recently, when I was asked what I did, I told him that I wrote about extraterrestrial life.  He then asked, “Do you really believe that ETs are here?  I acknowledged that, he then rolled his eyes and changed the subject.  If that person were to view this film, his worldview would likely change unalterably.


The Witnesses


The list of witnesses above shows a broad representation of well-known personalities and individual witnesses who would be virtual unknowns to a novice viewer.  But all are quite credible whether they are public figures or not.  Several significant quotations from public figures are displayed and some are quite surprising and revealing.  All of the witnesses on the film are known to UFO researchers, so there are no “oddball” personalities thrown in for viewer amusement.  Basically, the film is dead serious.


A great deal of the film’s footage covers the earlier period in the Disclosure Project’s activities beginning with Dr. Greer’s expeditions to remote hinterlands of America as part of his “Ambassador To The Universe” program. 2  As Dr. Greer acknowledges in the film, his project “stumbled” into one of the most significant events in his program: the May 9, 2001 presentation to the media at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.  It was attended by over 20 first-hand witnesses to UFO crash-retrievals, surveillance of nuclear sites, extraterrestrial beings and more.  One-on one interviews of the witnesses are presented (see list above).  It’s an extensive list and a quite compelling one consisting of civilian, corporate, military and government witnesses.  Most of these I have previously heard; and, in fact, presented many of these cases in my own books. 3













                                                           Steven M. Greer, M.D.


Act II: AFOSI Officer Richard Doty


One of the witnesses who I have never seen interviewed on camera was the infamous and former USAF Office of Special Investigations (counter-intelligence) officer, Richard C. Doty.  Decades ago, he was interviewed off-camera by Linda Moulton Howe and gave various spurious answers to her questions at the time hinting to her about his knowledge of UFO events.  On camera now, Doty seems like a very different and forthcoming individual given that he probably is still under some sort of security oath.  In the film Doty clearly acknowledges working in unacknowledged special access programs (USAP) dealing with extraterrestrials.  Doty concludes that there are devices that exist that can power a watch or a small city; it just depends on the demand that is put on it. Of course, any newbie would not know of Doty’s background so he would appear to be just another “talking head.” But many of us “oldsters” do remember his reputation.  The only topic that Doty is reluctant to discuss is false flag operations where US military agents executed operations designed to make civilians believe that they had been abducted by alien beings.


The Media


The media — television, radio, newspapers, motion pictures — do not escape Greer’s wrath either.  In the film Richard Doty explains why we do not have a free press or democratic form of government.  Basically, he tells how the major media groups have staff members who he paid to manage all news dealing with UFOs and extraterrestrials.  Doty said that some producers were given what he called “large” under-the-table, cash payments to keep a lid on media reporting.  The film also shows an animated cartoon of how the military industrial complex affects most of America’s major corporations.


Act III: A Better World


Much of “Act III” of the film deals with the secrecy behind the silent façade put on by various government departments and three-letter agencies with unacknowledged special access programs.  Greer’s objective, as most of us know, it to force the “secret government” to release those technologies that exist now that could otherwise but used for the betterment of the entire world.  At this point in the film, Dr. Greer becomes quite emotional and explains how he was invited to brief the former CIA Director James Woolsey on these secret government programs and then have the director later deny that the meeting even took place.  Then, Greer displays the CIA’s invitation letter as evidence to the contrary.


The film goes on to explain how we, the populace of the Earth, have “lost a century of evolution” due to the secrets that have been kept from us.  It comes down hard on global pollution, the use of fossil fuels, climate change and worldwide poverty that could have been avoided in the 20th century had some of these technologies been made available for use by humanity.


The Shortfall


Although I have heard most of the interviewees speak on camera, some of the footage in Unacknowledged contained offensive language that had been left on the cutting room floor in previous releases.  I love film, but the inclusion of expletives in documentary films seems unnecessary.  The film was not rated (NR), so one would expect it to be a standard PG given the subject matter.  I’d say it was at least PG-14.


The film also depicted two tightly-timed images of the very small humanoid discovered in the Atacama Desert of Chile in 2003. It has been investigated by Greer’s Disclosure Project and Stanford University.  Although it has been claimed to possibly be extraterrestrial in origin, Stanford determined that it was a mummified, human fetus.  Personally, I found no purpose for the inclusion of these images as they went unexplained, have been contested by other expert witnesses and provided no additional support for the film’s credibility.


There were a few other technical issues that bothered me that didn’t have to be included in a documentary.  For example, there was a quotation from Ben Rich (late president of the Lockheed Martin “Skunk Works”) annotated to have been in 1955.  I very much doubt that he made this quotation any earlier than 1992 particularly as the term “ET” was not in use in the 1950s.  There was also an image of a German Nazi flying disc (depicted was a “Haunebu IV” which is generally agreed to not have been manufactured) that would appear to be a real photograph, but is known to be a computer-generated image (CGI).  Also, while discussing an event dealing with a Lockheed F-104 (of 1950s vintage), the film showed a modern jet fighter and later an F-104 as well. [Yes, some of us do care about such things.]


Overall Rating


Having been involved in this topic for the last 65 years or so, I thought that I had heard and seen just about everything of interest that has ever been exposed to the general public on this subject.  This was an outstanding documentary expertly filmed and containing some footage of flying discs and other unknown craft (ours or theirs?) that I have never seen before.  General audiences rated this film 4.3 out of 5 points.  The shortcomings of this film are relatively minor in nature, so my rating for the film as a documentary was a 4.8 out of 5 points.  Next time, a parental warning would be best advised.  Frankly, if I had any pre-teen children, I would not allow them to view this film due to the language and emotional content of the message.




  1. Disclosure: years before viewing this film, the author participated in Dr. Greer’s “Ambassador To The Universe” program event in 2000 held near Willcox, Arizona.  The author also conducted an informal one-on-one interview with him at that time.

  2. Keller, T. L., The Total Novice’s Guide To UFOs, 2nd edition, 2016, digital edition.

  3. Keller, T. L., The Total Novice’s Guide To The Secret Space Program, 2017, digital edition.


© T L Keller 2017