Watch Steven Spielberg And John Williams Creating The E.T. Theme Together
The clip we've got here is simple and awesome, so let's get right to it. On the recent Blu-ray release of E.T. there was a clip of John Williams playing the iconic theme song for Steven Spielberg on the piano, as the two of them worked out just how it should sound. Check out this pretty incredible behind-the-scenes glimpse below.
I've always wondered about how moments like this happen, where the director sits down with the composer and suggests the exact right moment for the music to come into play, or which musical theme should be emphasized at that moment. Spielberg and Williams had only worked together on five films before E.T., so this was actually very early in what's been a very, very long collaboration. You can actually see a similar modern-day equivalent of this scene in a recent special about Lincoln on 60 Minutes, in which Williams sits down at the piano to play some of the themes from that new movie, while Spielberg (and Lesley Stahl) watch.
Of course, there's nothing in Lincoln a fraction as memorable as the theme from E.T., and that's kind of the point. Williams's music in the new film is about as restrained as you've heard heard in a Spielberg movie, and there are pretty much no moments where the two lean on sentiment the way they do in the E.T. scene you see them scoring above. I guess it means that everybody eventually grows up… though in the case of Williams and Spielberg, you still get to keep the same old pals with you, at least.
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