The Christmas movie, in between roast goose, Doctor Who and the tail-end of Strictly was Close Encounters of the Third Kind (the Collectors’ Edition). Phew! I find it hard to believe that I first saw this film in 1977. It still seems entirely relevant, though of course a younger viewer would not catch the Cold War allegories (Spielberg reportedly said that “If we can talk to aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, why not with the Reds in the Cold War?”). Richard Dreyfuss delivers a convincing performance as a prophetic man obsessed, if not possessed, by a vision and, in seeing this film again after so long, I think that is what stands out the most. There are distinct biblical echoes. Convincingly, he sacrifices family and friends and risks everything to get where he knows viscerally he has to go, though he doesn’t really know why he has to go there until he is confronted by his destiny. I was fascinated to learn that Dreyfuss himself suffered from bipolar disorder and that among other actors considered for the part were Steve McQueen, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino and Gene Hackman. Spielberg, riding on a wave of success following Jaws, took a big risk on realising his longstanding vision. The gamble paid off – richly.