Steven Spielberg’s success didn’t start in Hollywood — it started when he was a teenager and joined the Boy Scouts. In order to earn his photography merit badge, the budding filmmaker created movies with his dad’s camera. When Spielberg was 17, he made one of his earliest feature films (many of the scenes were shot near the Spielberg family home), which screened at a local movie theater.
The sci-fi story was a template of sorts for the director’s 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind and gives a nod to classic science fiction films from the 1950s. In Firelight, a group of scientists investigate strange, colored lights in the sky and the mysterious disappearance of people in the small town of (fictional) Freeport, Arizona.
Footage of the 140-minute feature was lost when the production company that kept the reels went out of business. The Playlist shared the four minutes of footage that remains today. For a fascinating look at early Spielberg, watch these surviving clips that showcase his visual style.
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