The Spielberg Effect
Golden Lady reminisces about a magical era of film making:
Like every reigning king or queen of their craft, writer/director/producer extraordinaire Steven Spielberg has created a canon of work so spectacularly inspirational that no one, I believe, has since managed to challenge this.
Throughout the last few decades of film making, there has surely been something for everyone, children and adults alike, fantasists and realists both find joy in his work. But I’m not particularly interested in talking about Jurassic Park or Shindler’s List, however brilliant they may be, what I’m talkin about is a particular period of work by which I’m far more intrigued and romanced than any other. Between the mid 1970’s and 80’s something rather magical took place in each of Spielberg’s films, every one as consistently brilliant and inspiring as the next.
He literally sculpted a genre all of his own.
Unbeknownst to myself, this genre has not yet an official title, but somewhere between the serpent imagination of the 1970s and the technological boom of the 80’s exists a universe created entirely by this man. This genius. This fantasy creater/dream weaver. Spielberg!
When I was asked to write about something that was inspiring to me, something which had made a profound impact on my life, I thought of many an album. Records that had taken me though particularly challenging periods, or for that matter, accompanied me through the more ecstatic of times. And although music is above and beyond the most important to me of all creative manifestations, I consider film a very close second. A genre which has undeniably seeped into my creative consciousness, something that exists not entirely in sonic form, but has a deep visual impact as well. So when putting a list together of my favorite films of all-time, it didn’t take long to recognise what I’ll, for now, brand The Spielberg Effect.
Beginning with Jaws in 1975, then Close Encounters of the Third Count, ET and Indiana Jones (1984); these were seminal films throughout myself and my younger brother’s childhoods. Dare I say they played an epic role in shaping our imagination, introducing us to worlds and characters we simply hadn’t constructed on our own.
Spielberg created a land where American suburbia was a magical, magical place. He found beauty in its bare landscape. Teenagers were key, skaters and bike riders were untouchable. Stripey sweaters, hot 70’s moms and homemade basketball rings set the scenes whilst something extraordinary would always be looming. The anticipation is what created the magic, what could possibly happen to these super normal, all American families? And how they dealt with whatever paranormal thing was going on, is what encouraged a real connection between audience and character. They always found ways to ascend.
Perhaps this is what I find so nostalgic about Spielberg’s films, they subconsciously invest within you messages of good faith and hope. ET returns home, we get the little girl back in Poltergeist, Indiana Jones really does save the day and our realities are shifted ever so slightly as a result.
What we had always considered to be subjects of profound fear, are now via The Spielberg Effect, subjects we come to be enticed and entranced with, Sharks, aliens, ghouls, robots and ghosts all become that much more familiar and sometimes, secretly, they became our friends!
Just like Woody Allen, with his hyper neurotic temperament and fantasy world in which he resides, Spielberg asks us to trust implicitly in our imagination. Which is essentially what keeps alight the child-like spark in us. And that’s why my love affair and fascination with early Spielberg will always remain a constant source of inspiration and happiness for me
And Elliot turns to ET, with all the confidence and innocence in the world and says: “You could be happy here, I could take care of you. I wouldn’t let anybody hurt you. We could grow up together, E.T.”
Words by Golden Lady.