The homesickness of an alien touched millions of people around the world four decades ago. Steven Spielberg’s “ET” shapes the thinking and world of ideas of many people to this day – and the look of series anyway.
Los Angeles – What film can do: A rather disgusting creature with lizard skin and glowing sausage fingers says goodbye to a little boy in California and “I’m always with you” – and millions of people around the world are touched. 40 years ago, the American sci-fi fairy tale “ET – The Extra-Terrestrial” came onto the market. The cinema release in German-speaking countries was in December (9.12.). ZDFneo is showing the classic again on television – on September 23, a Friday evening, at 8:15 p.m.
The scene in which a boy with a covered alien in his basket flies by the full moon on a cross bike as a silhouette is one of the most impressive moments in film history, accompanied by John Williams’ pathetic strings.
BMX cycling made it big
“ET” hit the zeitgeist as a film and still inspires motion picture makers today, think of the equipment and attention to detail of the Netflix series “Stranger Things”, which is currently popular around the world.
In the early 1980s, the movie helped popularize the trend sport of BMX cycling – just as Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) from Robert Zemeckis’ “Back to the Future” made skateboarding a mass phenomenon in the middle of the decade.
The American scary holiday Halloween, which plays an important role in the film because ET – disguised as a ghost – can be smuggled out of the house very practically, has since become a phenomenon and custom all over the world and also in Germany. In addition, at the latest with ET, in the wake of “Star Wars” and “Jaws”, the era of blockbuster cinema began.
With ET, Hollywood also promoted the pop culture reality that fictional characters and special effects heroes like the ET doll created by Carlo Rambaldi (1925-2012) can evoke real feelings.
compassion and love
Steven Spielberg’s ET is a perfectly formed fantasy story about the good alien (ET: Extra-Terrestrial). The goblin-like creature from outer space does not save humanity, but manages to inspire compassion and love in children and some adults in a world of mistrust.
When a spaceship that has landed on Earth rushes to flee, the aliens forget one of their own. The forgotten being finds refuge in the shed of a house. There, the boy Elliott (played by now 51-year-old Henry Thomas) finds him, calls him “ET” and befriends him.
Nevertheless, the homesickness of the intelligent, telekinetic visitor from outer space grows, which culminates in the now legendary sentences “ET home’, “ET home'”, “Telephone – home’, home'”.
ET and Elliott’s telepathy has existential consequences and ends in tragedy – but in the end even death is overcome.
By the way, ET teaches Elliott’s little sister Gertie how to speak. Drew Barrymore played the girl. She was seven then.
happy ending and tears
She then suffered a terrible fate as a child star: cigarettes at nine, alcohol at eleven, also marijuana and cocaine. At 14 she went into rehab, attempted suicide and went through rehab. She fell out with her parents, even in court. At 15, an autobiography came out – title: “Little Girl Lost”.
Today, at 47, Barrymore is still part of the global entertainment industry and is doing well, for example with the Netflix horror comedy series “Santa Clarita Diet”. She recently revealed on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” that she’s become friends with fellow showbiz pop singer Britney Spears. “We’ve both been through a lot, we have some parallels that are unique in their circumstances.”
Even if “ET” seems to be just an entertainment film and special effects fairy tale, the work definitely has subversive potential. Because the state cannot be trusted in this film. Agents, police and military appear here as an almost unstoppable, menacing force. Elliott’s family home is abruptly turned into a high-security lab. ET is to be possessed at all costs for research purposes. In the end, however, the escape is successful and the alien is picked up by the spaceship after all. ET gains freedom and can go home. Happy end. With tears. dpa
The feature film “ET – The Extraterrestrial” (original title: “ET – The Extraterrestrial”) was released on June 11, 1982 in US cinemas. German theatrical release was only six months later. More than 140 million people are said to have seen the film in cinemas worldwide, including around 7.8 million cinema-goers in Germany, according to the FFA.
In the list of the most commercially successful films adjusted for inflation, i.e. taking into account the rising ticket prices, “ET” is still fourth according to Box Office Mojo.
It follows the 1939 classic melodrama Gone with the Wind, the 1977 sci-fi fairy tale Star Wars (now titled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope) and the musical adaptation The Sound Of Music” from 1965 (German title: “My Songs – My Dreams”).