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Fascinating vintage promo film on the making of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

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In 1964, Stanley Kubrick wrote to Arthur C. Clarke.  He told the science fiction author he was a “a great admirer” of his books, and “had always wanted to discuss with [him] the possibility of doing the proverbial really good science-fiction movie.”

Kubrick briefly outlined his ideas:

My main interest lies along these broad areas, naturally assuming great plot and character:

The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.

The impact (and perhaps even lack of impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on Earth in the near future.

A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Clarke liked Kubrick’s suggestions. A meeting was arranged at Trader Vic’s in New York on April 22, 1964, at which Kubrick explained his interest in extraterrestrial life. He told Clarke he wanted to make a film about “Man’s relationship to the universe.”

The author offered the director a choice of six short stories—from which Kubrick picked “The Sentinel” (published as “The Sentinel of Eternity” in 1953). The story described the discovery of strange, tetrahedral artefact on the Moon. The narrator speculates the object is a “warning beacon” left by some ancient alien intelligence to signal humanity’s evolutionary advance towards space travel.

Over the next four years they worked together on the film—two of which were spent co-writing the screenplay they privately called How the Solar System Was Won.
 
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Director and Author.
 
Kubrick and Clarke decided to write a book together first then the screenplay. This was to be credited: “Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, based on a novel by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick.” It turned out slightly differently as the book and screenplay were written simultaneously. While Kubrick made the film “a visual, nonverbal experience,” Clarke widened the story out, explaining many of the events Kubrick left open-ended. The director wanted to make a film that hit the audience “at an inner level of consciousness, just as music does, or painting.”

In an interview with Joseph Gelmis in 1970, Kubrick described the genesis of both the book and script:

There are a number of differences between the book and the movie. The novel, for example, attempts to explain things much more explicitly than the film does, which is inevitable in a verbal medium. The novel came about after we did a 130-page prose treatment of the film at the very outset. This initial treatment was subsequently changed in the screenplay, and the screenplay in turn was altered during the making of the film. But Arthur took all the existing material, plus an impression of some of the rushes, and wrote the novel. As a result, there’s a difference between the novel and the film…I think that the divergences between the two works are interesting.

Clarke was more direct. He wrote an explicit interpretation of the film explaining many of its themes. In particular, how the central character David Bowman ends his days in what Clarke described as a kind of living museum or zoo, where he is observed by alien life forms.
 
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The director on a sound stage at MGM Studios, Borehamwood, England.
 
Kubrick was less forthcoming. Though he did share some of his thoughts on the meaning and purpose of human existence in an interview with Playboy in 1968:

The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfilment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.

 
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Similarities between shots and designs in ‘2001’ and Pavel Klushantsev’s ‘Road to the Stars’ (1958).
 
Kubrick involved himself in every aspect of the film’s production—from costume and set design, technical specifications, the requirements of specially designed cameras, to the building of a 32-ton centrifuge used to create the interior of a space craft. Kubrick was greatly influenced by Pavel Klushantsev’s Road to the Stars from 1958—and exploited many of the designs, crafts and ideas featured in that film.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
EVERY movie should end with the Dire Straits song ‘Walk of Life’. Every one of them


 
One hardly needs to have survived the ‘80s to know Dire Straits’ totally insipid yet somehow enduringly beloved anthem “Walk of Life”—you hear it at baseball games every time a batter is walked, and I’ll bet all those pennies-per-play in royalties to Mark Knopfler add up real damn quick, which was probably all part of a master plan for a lifelong revenue stream, as the song’s video is full of baseball players. But video editor Peter Salomone has found a new purpose for the cloying composition: he’s been busying himself dropping the song into the endings of dozens of movies, dubbing his endeavor “The Walk of Life Project.” Via Matt Novak at Gizmodo:

“My friend joked that ‘Walk of Life’ would be the perfect funeral song,” Salomone told me over email. “So then I just sort of melded that idea with my love of movie endings.”

“I tried a few (Star Wars, 2001, and The Matrix) and I was surprised at how well they synced up,” he added. “I didn’t re-edit the movie clips visually. I just found a good starting point for the song and the rest just fell into place”

The results are unfailingly hilarious. The song’s vapidly cheerful keyboard intro instantly transforms anything it graces, and the result is just pure comedy gold. I suppose it should go without saying that spoilers follow, since these are the ends of movies. Indeed, for that reason, I’m only linking clips from classics everyone should have already seen by now, especially if you’re fond of Kubrick, but recent films are amply represented in Salamone’s oeuvre, too. The entire collection is viewable at this link.
 

The Birds
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Predictions about the year 2000 by Arthur C. Clarke from 1964 (and the Stanley Kubrick connection)

Clarke Kubrick
 
In his 1972 book The Lost Worlds of 2001, Arthur C. Clarke says that he met Stanley Kubrick in a Trader Vic’s on April 22, 1964. The two formed a fast partnership. In May of that year, Clarke and Kubrick began hammering out the basic ideas that would eventually become 2001: A Space Odyssey. They would use Clarke’s short story, “The Sentinel” as a jumping off point and, in order to generate a rich background for the film, they took the somewhat unusual approach of attempting to collaborate on the creation of a new novel “with an eye on the screen” before writing the screenplay (although, in reality, the process became much more blurred).

Right around the same time, Clarke appeared on the BBC series Horizon in September of 1964 where he discussed some of his predictions for the year 2000 and beyond. You can watch the fascinating appearance in the two clips below. Horizon, now its 50th year, had just aired its first episode on Buckminster Fuller in May of 1964. Clarke’s appearance was part of the 6th episode of the series entitled The Knowledge Explosion and it provides us with some interesting insight into his vision of the future and some of the concepts that he and Kubrick were likely contemplating. 

Clarke was keeping a detailed log of his work with Kubrick during this time period. To give the Horizon clips some context, here are a few of Clarke’s journal entries from 1964 as he and Kubrick went back and forth about their ideas for the novel and film. From The Lost Worlds of 2001:

May 31. One hilarious idea we won’t use. Seventeen aliens – featureless black pyramids – riding in open cars down Fifth Avenue, surrounded by Irish cops.

June 20. Finished the opening chapter, “View from the Year 2000,” and started on the robot sequence.

August 6. Stanley suggests that we make the computer female and call her Athena.

August 19. Writing all day. Two thousand words exploring Jupiter’s satellites. Dull work.

September 7. Stanley quite happy: “We’re in fantastic shape.” He has made up a 100-word questionnaire about our astronauts, e.g. do they sleep in their pajamas, what do they eat for breakfast, etc.

September 8. Upset stomach last night. Dreamed I was a robot, being rebuilt. In a great burst of energy managed to redo two chapters. Took them to Stanley, who was very pleased and cooked me a fine steak, remarking “Joe Levine doesn’t do this for his writers.”

September 29. Dreamed that shooting had started. Lots of actors standing around, but I still didn’t know the story line.

 

On Horizon, Clarke accurately predicts instantaneous communication via satellite between people across the globe and talks about putting space travelers in suspended animation to traverse long distances over huge periods of time just as the astronauts do in 2001. He also throws out some bizarre concepts like replacing human servants with bioengineered apes and dolphins, but as he says early in the first clip “If what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I’ll have failed completely.”

 

 
Part II after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Leave a comment
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ comic in fantastic Howard Johnson’s ‘Children’s Menu’


 
Only the most observant of Kubrick-aholics will even remember the Howard Johnson’s reference in his landmark 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it’s right there, around the 30th minute. Dr. Heywood Floyd, played with purposeful blandness by William Sylvester, finds himself in a veritable barrage of product placement following the legendary Johann Strauss “Blue Danube” slam cut from the apes’ bone to the graceful, silent spacecraft. Dr. Floyd is flying in a Pan Am vehicle, we’re told, and over the next few minutes, at the space station, he walks through a Hilton hotel lobby, places a call to his wife and daughter using a Ma Bell videophone, and yes, walks by a “Howard Johnson’s Earthlight Room.”

As the beneficiary of a truly special promotional opportunity, Howard Johnson’s did their part, releasing a combined comic book/children’s menu depicting a visit to the premiere of the movie by two youngsters—well, the title actually tells it pretty well: “Debbie and Robin Go to a Movie Premiere with Their Parents.” Neat-O! Given that in the movie (SPOILER ALERT) a computer bloodlessly kills off several members of the crew of the U.S.S. Discovery One and that the movie ends in a psychedelic and well-nigh incomprehensible farrago of colorful effects that Mad Magazine insisted was a result of David Bowman (Keir Dullea) crashing into “the brand new 105-story Jupiter Museum of Op Art,” it’s understandable that the comic focuses on the gee-whiz feeling conveyed in the middle chunk of the movie, and glosses over the ending—the two comic panels in which the family emerges from the theater discussing “the way the mystery was solved!” are, given the downbeat goings-on in the movie, perfectly apposite and false in the only way it can be. The synopsis ignores one of the movie’s most noteworthy aspects outright, by which I mean the apes of the opening sequence. But note that the comic’s discussion of the movie—hilariously—does not gloss over Hal’s murders, as evidenced by the above panel.

What we see here is the old Hollywood promotional methods associated with Mary Poppins, perhaps, or Cleopatra attempting to deal with the totally new, technologically sophisticated, and thematically bleak mode of filmmaking. Would you be able to create credibly cute kiddie characters who gush about “The Dawn of Man” and what lies “Beyond the Infinite”? I sure can’t.   
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
More great cartoon panels and a video clip, all after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Stunning behind-the-scenes images from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’
04.07.2014
08:57 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Stanley Kubrick
2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey
 
Someone on imgur has uploaded a whole lot of fantastic images depicting the filming of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. There are 100 of them, and boy, do they provide a lot of fascinating detail about one of the most ambitious movie sets ever constructed—especially in terms of the available technology. It’s great to see how much of this is analog—I mean we know it had to be analog, but the contrast with today’s CGI way is stark. I especially love the stills where you can see the grandeur of the massive stage sets, how they solved the problem of filming, for example, a set in which the inside of a massive wheel is a continuous flat surface in a zero-gravity space vessel.

I feel like I run into the opinion fairly often that 2001 is boring, dated. I couldn’t disagree more. My dad first took me to see 2001 in Vienna in 1982; I was 12. It really did blow my mind; I didn’t understand a thing. I watch 2001 every five years or so and I have never watched it and not been tremendously impressed and enthralled.

(Even so, I can admire the wit behind Mad Magazine’s snippet of dialogue in their satire 201 (Min. of) A Space Idiocy, poking fun at the movie’s ending: “What did you expect…!? You just crashed through the brand-new 105-story Jupiter Museum of Op Art!”)

These pictures appear to be a heterogenous collection from a variety of sources; it’s more a feat of collection and curation than anything else. The pictures are cleverly arranged in the approximate order of the movie’s unfolding, so it feels a little bit like watching the movie itself. Really, hats off. 

Remember, there’s a lot more where this came from, so be sure and look at the rest.
 
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2001: A Space Odyssey
 
2001: A Space Odyssey
 
2001: A Space Odyssey
 
2001: A Space Odyssey
 
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2001: A Space Odyssey
 
2001: A Space Odyssey
 
2001: A Space Odyssey
 
2001: A Space Odyssey
 
Here’s the official trailer, which is quite a piece of work in its own right:
 

 
via Tombolare

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Making of a Myth: The story behind Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001’

kubrick_clarke_2001
 
In 1964, Stanley Kubrick wrote to science-fiction author Arthur C. Clarke. He explained he was a “a great admirer” of his books, and that he “had always wanted to discuss with [him] the possibility of doing the proverbial really good science-fiction movie.”

Kubrick outlined his ideas:

My main interest lies along these broad areas, naturally assuming great plot and character:

The reasons for believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life.

The impact (and perhaps even lack of impact in some quarters) such discovery would have on Earth in the near future.

A space probe with a landing and exploration of the Moon and Mars.

The pair met, and a treatment was written, based around Clarke’s short story, “The Sentinel” (later published as “The Sentinel of Eternity” in 1953), in which a strange, tetrahedral artifact is discovered on the Moon. The story’s narrator speculates that the object has been left as a “warning beacon” for some ancient alien intelligence to signal humanity’s evolutionary advance towards space travel.

At the same time Kubrick was making 2001: A Space Odyssey, Clarke was writing his own version as a novel. 

Having viewed Kubrick’s film rushes, Clarke wrote an explicit interpretation of the film, explaining many of the themes left open-ended in the movie. In particular, how the central character, David Bowman ends his days in what is described as a kind of living museum or zoo, where he is observed by alien life forms.

Kubrick was never as explicit, and refused to be fully drawn over the film’s meaning, or its many differences from Clarke’s novel, usually stating that his intention had been to make a “really good science-fiction movie.”

In an interview with Playboy in 1968, Kubrick gave an answer on the meaning and purpose of human existence, which could almost be a description of 2001:

“The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s elan. Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation. He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”

The documentary 2001: The Making of a Myth is introduced by James Cameron, who looks at the stories behind 2001: A Space Odyssey, examining why the film has endured and why it still generates such interest. With contributions form Arthur C. Clarke, Keir Dullea, Elvis Mitchell, and Douglas Trumbull.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Stanley Kubrick explains the plot of ‘2001’

Before 2001 - Pavel Klushantsev’s classic science fiction film ‘The Road to the Stars


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Lego: A 2001 Space Odyssey

2001_lego
 
These fabulous Lego models of spacecraft and scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact, were painstakingly made by Jason Allemann. The models include a 3,873-piece, 1:60 scale model of the Discovery One (above), and a 3,670-piece model of the Leonov vessel from 2010 (below).

Details of how to build the Leonov can found here, and a selection of photographs of Jason’s models can be found here.
 
lego_2010
 
2001_lego
 
More Lego pics, after the jump….
 
Via i09
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Kubrick’s Cover Story: the double narratives and hidden meanings of ‘2001’


 
Rob Ager is a Liverpool-based film theorist whose videos have been popping up on YouTube for the last few years. He tends to get lumped in with the usual conspiracy brigade, and while Ager’s work does approach material in the same analytical fashion his conclusions can be very different.

This close examination of Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Oddessy theorises that Kubrick was working on this film with a “double narrative” structure. Thus, the imagery, set design and camera shots created a complex story all of their own that was separate, and sometimes in direct opposition to, the commonly accepted themes of the Arthur C. Clarke screenplay.

Ager’s work falls on just the right side of conspiracy-culture to be of interest to skeptics and conspiracist’s alike, and with this particular film analysis he is careful to avoid any “tin foil hat” readings of the text, which can be a major downfall of “critical” videos of this kind. 

What Ager does posit is that Kubrick was working with a language of imagery that spoke directly to the subconscious and could be in contrast to the spoken words. This is more than a little believable when you take into account that Kubrick’s incredible talent and the huge amounts of time and effort that he spent on the various different aspects of his craft.

Kubrick’s Cover Story is in four parts, and comes in at just over an hour long. Not for everyone, perhaps, but definitely of interest to film students and the hardcore Stanley Kubrick fan (not to mention those who have a soft spot for a lilting Scouse accent):

Kubrick’s Cover Story part one:
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Kubrick’s Twisted Dimensions: why ‘The Shining’ is a masterful mindbender

Kubrick’s Cover Story part two to four after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
2001: A VHS Obelisk

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VHS 2005 Foam
 
Humorous artistic tribute to Stanley Kubrick’s inscrutable cinematic masterpiece created in 2005 by David Herbert. What I’m more interested in is seeing the VCR that can handle this gargantuan tape.
 
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(via Booooooom!)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Pink Floyd’s Space Odyssey
12.30.2010
11:48 pm

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Pink Floyd
2001: A Space Odyssey

image
 
Pink Floyd’s ‘Echoes” synchronized with the final 23 minutes of 2001:A Space Odyssey is good for the mind and soul.

Over the years rumors had it that Pink Floyd created “Echoes” as an unofficial soundtrack for the last segment of 2001 ( “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite”). It’s a nice thought, but not true. That the song and film work so nicely together is just a happy accident.

While videos of the Floyd/Kubrick mashup have been around for awhile, this version is the best I’ve seen. Enjoy it in all of its widescreen glory.
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
2001: A Space Odyssey high-resolution images
08.23.2010
06:38 pm

Topics:
Art
Fashion
Movies

Tags:
2001: A Space Odyssey

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Plenty more hi-res images to scan over at Stanley Kubrick - Deserving of Worship.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
2001: A Space Odyssey version of Double Rainbow Oh My God!
08.17.2010
02:26 pm

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
2001: A Space Odyssey
Double Rainbow

 
I know it’s a tired meme, but OH MY GOD rainbows in space!

“This is what we see when we all die.”

(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Another hot day in Los Angeles: ‘HAL 9000’ sings ‘Hot in Here’

 
Or HAL64.
 
(via Interweb3000)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Looking at Ligeti
04.10.2010
02:29 pm

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
2001: A Space Odyssey
Ligeti

 
An already lovely printed visual score by Rainer Wehinger for György Ligeti‘s early musique concret gem “Artikulation” made even lovelier via synchronization by kind Youtube user “d21d34c55”. Bonus clip below is Ligeti’s mighty choral piece Lux Aeterna used of course by Kubrick in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
 

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment