Phone home. Phone work. Phone family and friends. One of the most beloved and heartwarming films of all time is celebrating its 30th anniversary in grand style. NCM Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies bring to you for one day only, the newly remastered E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
E.T. has been a staple of family households for the last 30 years. And now, thanks to TCM, generations of fans had the opportunity to view the film, in the theatre, together. TCM host Ben Mankiewicz introduced the film with some behind the scenes information. Apparently, Francois Truffaut, the legendary French filmmaker, noticed the deft way in which director Steven Spielberg handled directing the young man in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, and recommended that Spielberg should work with children on his next picture. When Truffaut recommends an idea, you listen. To that date, E.T. was Spielberg’s most personal film. It mirrored his own feelings of disillusionment after his own parents’ divorce.
Once the idea was in place, it was time for the casting. Hundreds of children auditioned for the lead role of Elliott, including Henry Thomas. His initial reading did not go well. But when he improvised a scene with the casting director, everyone involved knew they had their Elliott. And of course there was Elliott’s precocious younger sister, Gertie. The role went to Drew Barrymore, whose family name is legendary in Hollywood. Drew was asked recently which of her many roles have affected her the most, and without hesitation she said E.T.
Released in 1982, E.T. was nominated for 9 Academy Awards, taking home 4: Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound, and Best Music for John Williams’ legendary score. The film was #1 at the box office for 16 weeks. The story of love, compassion, and friendship struck a chord with audiences around the world, a chord that still resonates 30 years later.
Universal Pictures is celebrating its 100 anniversary by re-releasing some of its finer films back into theatres for one day only special events. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is one of many in the amazing Universal canon to get such a release. Look for more celebrations down the road, including a Halloween double feature of Frankenstein/Bride Of Frankenstein, as well as To Kill A Mockingbird. And if you want to continue to pass along E.T. to future generations, it is now available on stunning Blu-Ray.