Jonathan E. Robinson’s documentary takes us to Mobile, Alabama in 1976. The city underwent tough times after the government’s closure of the Brookley Air Force Base, laying off thousands of staff and leaving two enormous aircraft hangars empty.
The abandoned site caught the attention of Columbia Pictures executives who wanted to use the hangars as a location for a forthcoming science fiction film entitled ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’.
Mobile was subjected to the Hollywood spotlight as director Steven Spielberg, cast members Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, Melinda Dillon, and Francois Truffaut, plus crew all descended upon the town, much to the amazement of the locals.
Jump to present day and the story is told through the recollections of the regular citizens, politicians, and tradesmen of Mobile, who ultimately became a direct part of film history as extras, additional crew for the shoot and even a few decent speaking parts.
This is a truly wonderful documentary which will give you more insight into the classic Hollywood machine than any official behind-the-scenes ever could. What you’d call ‘an eyeopener’...