2001: A Space Odyssey


2h 40m 1968
2001: A Space Odyssey

Brief Synopsis

Classic sci-fi epic about a mysterious monolith that seems to play a key role in human evolution.

Photos & Videos

2001: A Space Odyssey Pressbook
2001: A Space Odyssey - Behind-the-Scenes Photos

Film Details

Also Known As
A Space Odyssey
MPAA Rating
Genre
Adaptation
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
Washington, D. C., opening: 2 Apr 1968
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Distribution Company
METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER STUDIOS INC. (MGM )/WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Sentinel of Eternity" ("The Sentinel") by Arthur C. Clarke in Ten Story Fantasy (Spring, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 40m
Sound
4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints), 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints), DTS 70 mm (2001 re-release)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1, 2.35 : 1

Synopsis

At the dawn of mankind, a colony of peaceful vegetarian apes awaken to find a glowing black monolith standing in their midst. After tentatively reaching out to touch the mysterious object, the apes become carnivores, with enough intelligence to employ bones for weapons and tools. Four million years later, in the year 2001, Dr. Heywood Floyd, an American scientist, travels to the moon to investigate a monolith that has been discovered below the lunar surface. Knowing only that the slab emits a deafening sound directed toward the planet Jupiter, the United States sends a huge spaceship, the Discovery , on a 9-month, half billion-mile journey to the distant planet. Aboard are astronauts David Bowman and Frank Poole, plus three others in frozen hibernation, and a computer called Hal. During the voyage, Hal predicts the failure of a component on one of the spacecraft's antennae. Bowman leaves the ship in a one-man space pod to replace the crucial part; the prediction proves incorrect, however, and when Poole ventures out to replace the original part, Hal severs his lifeline. Bowman goes to rescue him, but Hal closes the pod entry doors and terminates the life functions of the three hibernating astronauts. Forced to abandon Poole, who is already dead, Bowman reenters the Discovery through the emergency hatch and reduces Hal to manual control by performing a mechanical lobotomy on the computer's logic and memory circuits. Now alone, Bowman continues his flight until he encounters a third monolith among Jupiter's moons. Suddenly hurtled into a new dimension of time and space, he is swept into a maelstrom of swirling colors, erupting landscapes, and exploding galaxies. At last coming to rest in a pale green bedroom, Bowman emerges from the nonfunctioning space capsule. A witness to the final stages of his life, the withered Bowman looks up from his deathbed at the giant black monolith standing in the center of the room. As he reaches toward it, he is perhaps reborn, perhaps evolved, perhaps transcended, into a new "child of the universe," a fetus floating above the Earth.

Photo Collections

2001: A Space Odyssey Pressbook
Here is the original campaign book (pressbook) for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.
2001: A Space Odyssey - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of 2001: A Space Odyssey, featuring director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke.

Videos

Movie Clip

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Jupiter And Beyond Just a portion of the trippy part, Dave (Keir Dullea) has left the mother-ship in an "EVA" pod, after hearing secret instructions, and sees weird stuff as he approaches Jupiter, late in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - HAL 9000 Introduction of the HAL 9000 computer (voice by Douglas Rain) and the two not-hibernating members of the Jupiter mission on the spaceship Discovery One, Dave (Keir Dullea) and Frank (Gary Lockwood), in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Monolith Second stanza of Stanley Kubrick's "Dawn Of Man" sequence, the apes awaken one morning to find what will become known as "the monolith," early in 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Fight The ending of director Stanley Kubrick's "Dawn Of Man" sequence, the apes have become carnivorous and homicidal, and a bone thrown in the air leads to one of the most famous edits in film history, in 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Famous Last Words Dave (Keir Dullea) and Frank (Gary Lockwood) instruct their mission-control computer "Hal" to leave them where the computer cannot listen-in, as they discuss a disturbing system-error, in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Moon Mission Set piece for director Stanley Kubrick, four million years since the "Dawn Of Man" sequence, astronauts on the surface of the moon investigate a mysterious monolith identical to the ones the apes saw, in 2001: A Space Odyssey, from Arthur C. Clarke's novel and screenplay.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Promo

Film Details

Also Known As
A Space Odyssey
MPAA Rating
Genre
Adaptation
Sci-Fi
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
Washington, D. C., opening: 2 Apr 1968
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Distribution Company
METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER STUDIOS INC. (MGM )/WARNER BROS. PICTURES DISTRIBUTION (WBPD)
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Sentinel of Eternity" ("The Sentinel") by Arthur C. Clarke in Ten Story Fantasy (Spring, 1951).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 40m
Sound
4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints), 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints), DTS 70 mm (2001 re-release)
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1, 2.35 : 1

Award Wins

Best Visual Effects

1968

Award Nominations

Best Art Direction

1968
Harry Lange

Best Art Direction

1968
Tony Masters

Best Director

1968
Stanley Kubrick

Best Writing, Screenplay

1969
Stanley Kubrick

Articles

Behind the Camera (11/30)


The actors hired to play the apes in the "Dawn of Man" sequence were mostly mimes and dancers, though they also used two baby chimpanzees as the tribe's children. They chose actors with thin arms and legs and narrow hips so that the fur added to make them look like apes wouldn't appear too bulky. Kubrick's fear was that the body fur might make them look like actors in B-movie gorilla suits.

While the makeup was being designed, computer technicians ran a program to determine how long it would take to make the number of ape costumes they needed. When the program said it would take nine years, they simplified the makeup.

Kubrick hired a company that made artificial limbs to produce a long-figured, narrow apelike hand to be operated by remote controls placed within the costume's arms. When this didn't look convincing, it was abandoned at great expense.

To create the facial makeup, technicians first made a plastic skull substructure with a hinged jaw. After making molds of the actors' faces, the makeup men applied rubber skin to their faces and added hair one strand at a time, as if they were making a wig. Lip movements were achieved by using false teeth and tongues to hide the actors' real mouths. This freed the actors to use their tongues to operate remote controls that moved the lips. Only the actors' eyes were visible, and the masks were made up right to the eyelids.

The only scene from the film not shot in the studio was the "skull-smashing" sequence in which Moonwatcher realizes that he can use a bone as a weapon. That was shot in a field a few hundred yards from the studio on a small platform. This allowed for a low-angled shot with a vast expanse of sky in the background, though it also required a halt in shooting whenever a plane flew overhead. They almost ran out of animal skulls as Kubrick shot take after take. The final shot of the sequence was finally achieved when Kubrick walked back to the studio tossing bones into the air and filming their flight with a hand-held camera.

The first design for the monolith was a tetrahedron, but Kubrick thought that would make people think of pyramids. Next they tried a transparent cube, but it was too hard to keep it from reflecting the camera crew's lights. They tried a Lucite slab, but that didn't look convincing. Finally, they settled on the black slab shown in the film.

Filming the special effects shots took 18 months at a cost of $6.5 million (the film's total budget was $10.5 million). Kubrick was determined to make every effects shot look extremely realistic, something previous science fiction films rarely bothered to do.

Kubrick challenged the special effects crew to find a way to do the effects shots without using automatic matting. Traditionally, actors and mock space vehicles were shot against a blue screen. The images were then matted against the appropriate backgrounds, but this usually leaves a line around the images that destroys the illusion. Kubrick insisted on hand-drawn mattes instead. For a shot of a space ship flying, for example, the ship's shape would be painted out of the background shots by hand, one frame at a time, before matting in the ship itself. It's the same technique used in making animated films, only all of the images matted in for 2001: A Space Odyssey were real objects.

2001 was the first film to make extensive use of front projection to provide backgrounds against which the actors worked. Using large transparencies, the crew projected the African landscape on the set for the “Dawn of Man” sequence. The same technique was used for the moon landing.

It took Kubrick and his crew months to figure out how to make the pen float during the trip to the Moon. They couldn't come up with a wire fine enough not to show up on film. Finally they taped the pen to a glass plate held in front of the camera. If you look closely, when the stewardess plucks it out of the air, you can actually see her pulling it off the plate.

The film's spaceships were models made from wood, fiberglass, Plexiglas, steel, brass and aluminum. The fine details that forever would change the look of space on the screen were created with heat-forming plastic-cladding, flexible metal foil, wire tubing and thousands of tiny parts taken from hundred of plastic model kits -- everything from railroad cars and battleships to airplanes and Gemini spacecraft -- bought at a European toy fair. The fine details made it possible for the cameras to get as close to the models as possible with no loss of believability.

The Discovery's interior was a large, rotating tube 38 feet across and three feet wide. It rotated at speeds up to three miles per hour so that the characters could walk across it while remaining at the bottom of the screen. The cost was $300,000.

To create convincing images of nebular movement and starbursts, they photographed drops of dye moving on a glass plate.

For shots of the space ships that show people moving through the ships' windows, technicians photographed extras moving, then projected them on the windows with 16mm projectors. This led to one error in the film. The exterior shots of the ship carrying Dr. Floyd to the Moon show other passengers on board, but the interiors reveal that he's alone.

To create the spectacular space ride at the film's climax, Trumbull combined aerial footage of Monument Valley, Utah (a favorite location for John Ford's westerns), shot through colored filters, with other aerial shots originally made for Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. He also invented a split-scan effect by keeping the camera's shutter open to expose a single frame of film while he moved the light source toward the camera to create fantastic light patterns.

Most of the effects shots were made during 10 to 12 hour workdays, with some takes lasting hours. Although the crew was large, the only sound audible in the studio during each take was the sound of the Panavision camera's motors and the sound of the motors moving the ships. One technician compared it to driving a tank.

Originally, the Discovery was on a mission to Saturn. When the special effects crew couldn't come up with a convincing model of that planet, however, Kubrick changed it to Jupiter.

The first actor hired to provide the voice for HAL 9000 was Nigel Davenport. He sat out of camera range during filming of the Discovery scenes and read his lines so the actors would have something to react to. After a few weeks, however, Kubrick decided that his British accent would be too distracting. Davenport was dismissed and an assistant read the lines from off-camera. During post-production, Martin Balsam recorded HAL's lines, but still Kubrick wasn't satisfied. At this point, the film had a narration that had been recorded by Canadian actor Douglas Rain. Kubrick also decided that he didn't like the narration, but he liked Rain, who ended up playing HAL in 2001 and its 1984 sequel 2010. For that film, all of HAL's lines were pre-recorded, so although they have co-starred in two films, Keir Dullea and Rain have never met.

Kubrick hired composer Alex North, who had written the music for his Spartacus (1960), to score the film. During filming, however, Kubrick played various classical pieces to set the rhythms and moods for the scenes. He also used pre-recorded music while cutting the film, then told North he wanted to keep some of the music he'd already been working with. North objected to this, but couldn't come up with an opening fanfare Kubrick liked as much as the opening of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra. Over a two-week period, North composed and recorded 40 minutes of music for the film. Then Kubrick decided to stick with the classical music and just use breathing sounds for many of the unscored sequences. He even dubbed the breathing himself. Years later, North's music, under the title Alex North's 2001, was released by Varese/Sarabande.

Ultimately, Kubrick's decision to use classical music for his score would cost him. Contemporary composer Gyorgy Ligeti sued over the unauthorized use of his music and the cutting of his piece "Adventures."

After the New York City preview, Kubrick cut 20 minutes out of the film, shortening several sequences. Prior to that, he had already cut a black-and-white prologue in which scientists discussed the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. After the preview, Kubrick also added the title cards "Jupiter Mission 18 Months Later" and "Jupiter Beyond the Infinite."

2001: A Space Odyssey was a huge hit with younger audiences, becoming one of the biggest cult films of the sixties. In Chicago, a group of hippies went to the film several times, sitting in the front row until the intermission. Then they would move to the floor in front of the screen to watch the final star ride from the closest possible point. According to Rolling Stone magazine, during one screening a young man rose as if in a trance at the monolith's reappearance near the end and ran down the theatre's aisle shouting "It's God! It's God!" Before the theatre's management could stop him, he had crashed through the screen.

The film also developed a celebrity cult whose members included Mike Nichols, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Franco Zeffirelli, Roman Polanski and Richard Lester. Recording artist Mama Cass Elliott said the film had changed her "chemistry."

by Frank Miller
Behind The Camera (11/30)

Behind the Camera (11/30)

The actors hired to play the apes in the "Dawn of Man" sequence were mostly mimes and dancers, though they also used two baby chimpanzees as the tribe's children. They chose actors with thin arms and legs and narrow hips so that the fur added to make them look like apes wouldn't appear too bulky. Kubrick's fear was that the body fur might make them look like actors in B-movie gorilla suits. While the makeup was being designed, computer technicians ran a program to determine how long it would take to make the number of ape costumes they needed. When the program said it would take nine years, they simplified the makeup. Kubrick hired a company that made artificial limbs to produce a long-figured, narrow apelike hand to be operated by remote controls placed within the costume's arms. When this didn't look convincing, it was abandoned at great expense. To create the facial makeup, technicians first made a plastic skull substructure with a hinged jaw. After making molds of the actors' faces, the makeup men applied rubber skin to their faces and added hair one strand at a time, as if they were making a wig. Lip movements were achieved by using false teeth and tongues to hide the actors' real mouths. This freed the actors to use their tongues to operate remote controls that moved the lips. Only the actors' eyes were visible, and the masks were made up right to the eyelids. The only scene from the film not shot in the studio was the "skull-smashing" sequence in which Moonwatcher realizes that he can use a bone as a weapon. That was shot in a field a few hundred yards from the studio on a small platform. This allowed for a low-angled shot with a vast expanse of sky in the background, though it also required a halt in shooting whenever a plane flew overhead. They almost ran out of animal skulls as Kubrick shot take after take. The final shot of the sequence was finally achieved when Kubrick walked back to the studio tossing bones into the air and filming their flight with a hand-held camera. The first design for the monolith was a tetrahedron, but Kubrick thought that would make people think of pyramids. Next they tried a transparent cube, but it was too hard to keep it from reflecting the camera crew's lights. They tried a Lucite slab, but that didn't look convincing. Finally, they settled on the black slab shown in the film. Filming the special effects shots took 18 months at a cost of $6.5 million (the film's total budget was $10.5 million). Kubrick was determined to make every effects shot look extremely realistic, something previous science fiction films rarely bothered to do. Kubrick challenged the special effects crew to find a way to do the effects shots without using automatic matting. Traditionally, actors and mock space vehicles were shot against a blue screen. The images were then matted against the appropriate backgrounds, but this usually leaves a line around the images that destroys the illusion. Kubrick insisted on hand-drawn mattes instead. For a shot of a space ship flying, for example, the ship's shape would be painted out of the background shots by hand, one frame at a time, before matting in the ship itself. It's the same technique used in making animated films, only all of the images matted in for 2001: A Space Odyssey were real objects. 2001 was the first film to make extensive use of front projection to provide backgrounds against which the actors worked. Using large transparencies, the crew projected the African landscape on the set for the “Dawn of Man” sequence. The same technique was used for the moon landing. It took Kubrick and his crew months to figure out how to make the pen float during the trip to the Moon. They couldn't come up with a wire fine enough not to show up on film. Finally they taped the pen to a glass plate held in front of the camera. If you look closely, when the stewardess plucks it out of the air, you can actually see her pulling it off the plate. The film's spaceships were models made from wood, fiberglass, Plexiglas, steel, brass and aluminum. The fine details that forever would change the look of space on the screen were created with heat-forming plastic-cladding, flexible metal foil, wire tubing and thousands of tiny parts taken from hundred of plastic model kits -- everything from railroad cars and battleships to airplanes and Gemini spacecraft -- bought at a European toy fair. The fine details made it possible for the cameras to get as close to the models as possible with no loss of believability. The Discovery's interior was a large, rotating tube 38 feet across and three feet wide. It rotated at speeds up to three miles per hour so that the characters could walk across it while remaining at the bottom of the screen. The cost was $300,000. To create convincing images of nebular movement and starbursts, they photographed drops of dye moving on a glass plate. For shots of the space ships that show people moving through the ships' windows, technicians photographed extras moving, then projected them on the windows with 16mm projectors. This led to one error in the film. The exterior shots of the ship carrying Dr. Floyd to the Moon show other passengers on board, but the interiors reveal that he's alone. To create the spectacular space ride at the film's climax, Trumbull combined aerial footage of Monument Valley, Utah (a favorite location for John Ford's westerns), shot through colored filters, with other aerial shots originally made for Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. He also invented a split-scan effect by keeping the camera's shutter open to expose a single frame of film while he moved the light source toward the camera to create fantastic light patterns. Most of the effects shots were made during 10 to 12 hour workdays, with some takes lasting hours. Although the crew was large, the only sound audible in the studio during each take was the sound of the Panavision camera's motors and the sound of the motors moving the ships. One technician compared it to driving a tank. Originally, the Discovery was on a mission to Saturn. When the special effects crew couldn't come up with a convincing model of that planet, however, Kubrick changed it to Jupiter. The first actor hired to provide the voice for HAL 9000 was Nigel Davenport. He sat out of camera range during filming of the Discovery scenes and read his lines so the actors would have something to react to. After a few weeks, however, Kubrick decided that his British accent would be too distracting. Davenport was dismissed and an assistant read the lines from off-camera. During post-production, Martin Balsam recorded HAL's lines, but still Kubrick wasn't satisfied. At this point, the film had a narration that had been recorded by Canadian actor Douglas Rain. Kubrick also decided that he didn't like the narration, but he liked Rain, who ended up playing HAL in 2001 and its 1984 sequel 2010. For that film, all of HAL's lines were pre-recorded, so although they have co-starred in two films, Keir Dullea and Rain have never met. Kubrick hired composer Alex North, who had written the music for his Spartacus (1960), to score the film. During filming, however, Kubrick played various classical pieces to set the rhythms and moods for the scenes. He also used pre-recorded music while cutting the film, then told North he wanted to keep some of the music he'd already been working with. North objected to this, but couldn't come up with an opening fanfare Kubrick liked as much as the opening of Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra. Over a two-week period, North composed and recorded 40 minutes of music for the film. Then Kubrick decided to stick with the classical music and just use breathing sounds for many of the unscored sequences. He even dubbed the breathing himself. Years later, North's music, under the title Alex North's 2001, was released by Varese/Sarabande. Ultimately, Kubrick's decision to use classical music for his score would cost him. Contemporary composer Gyorgy Ligeti sued over the unauthorized use of his music and the cutting of his piece "Adventures." After the New York City preview, Kubrick cut 20 minutes out of the film, shortening several sequences. Prior to that, he had already cut a black-and-white prologue in which scientists discussed the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. After the preview, Kubrick also added the title cards "Jupiter Mission 18 Months Later" and "Jupiter Beyond the Infinite." 2001: A Space Odyssey was a huge hit with younger audiences, becoming one of the biggest cult films of the sixties. In Chicago, a group of hippies went to the film several times, sitting in the front row until the intermission. Then they would move to the floor in front of the screen to watch the final star ride from the closest possible point. According to Rolling Stone magazine, during one screening a young man rose as if in a trance at the monolith's reappearance near the end and ran down the theatre's aisle shouting "It's God! It's God!" Before the theatre's management could stop him, he had crashed through the screen. The film also developed a celebrity cult whose members included Mike Nichols, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Franco Zeffirelli, Roman Polanski and Richard Lester. Recording artist Mama Cass Elliott said the film had changed her "chemistry." by Frank Miller

The Critics Corner (11/30) - The Critics' Corner on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY


"2001 is one of the grimmest films I have ever seen in my life...I think that Kubrick is someone who is too intelligent, too cynical, too pessimistic about man, or about men rather, and I think that as it turns out, 2001 is a disaster because it is much too abstract to make its abstract points." - Andrew Sarris, WBAI Radio.

"...the scope of its imaginative vision of man...immerses the eye, the ear, and the intuitive responses of the viewer in a uniquely stimulating human experience." - National Catholic Office of Motion Pictures.

"A regrettable failure, though not a total one. This long film is fascinating when it concentrates on apes or machines (though there is too much of this, too), and dreadful when dealing with the in-betweens: human beings...the slab is never explained, leaving 2001, for all its lively visual and mechanical spectacle, a kind of space-Spartacus and, more pretentious still, a shaggy God story." - John Simon, The New Leader

"...an extraordinary masterpiece...a major challenge to some of the assumptions that dominated serious writing for at least a hundred years." - Hollis Alpert, Saturday Review.

"...the uncompromising slowness of the movie makes it hard to sit through without talking -- and people on all sides when I saw it were talking almost throughout the film. Very annoying. With all its attention to detail, a kind of reveling in its own I.Q., the movie acknowledged no obligation to validate its conclusion for those, me for example, who are not science-fiction buffs. By the end, three unreconciled plot lines -- the slab, Dullea's aging, the period bedroom -- are simply left there like a Rorschach, with murky implications of theology." - Renata Adler, The New York Times.

"I have seen Stanley Kubrick's mind-bending, maddening, awesome, debilitating, demoniacal, dehumanizing, and miraculous extraterrestrial fantasy-drama twice. At first I thought Kubrick had flipped his lid. Now I believe he is a genius." - Sam Lesner, Chicago Daily News.

Despite some of the worst reviews ever given a major motion picture, 2001: A Space Odyssey attracted a devoted audience of young fans. In fact, many college-age viewers attended the film in an altered state, enjoying the film's celebrated "trip sequence," a ritual which was noted with interest by studio executives who began marketing it as a "head movie." In some ways, the film's success with the younger generation gave rise to the midnight movie phenomenon which provided filmmakers like David Lynch and Alexandro Jodorowsky the opportunity to make experimental, non-traditional narrative films like Eraserhead (1977) and El Topo (1970). 2001: A Space Odyssey made $15 million on its initial U.S. release, and currently shows a worldwide gross of over $190 million.

AWARDS & HONORS

2001: A Space Odyssey was nominated for four Oscars® including Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay and Best Directing. It won for Best Special Effects, which is the only Oscar® Kubrick ever received. He didn't want to submit his name in the category, but an Academy® rule limiting the number of names eligible for nomination in that category would have required him to submit only a few members of the film's special effects team. Rather than make such an impossible choice, he just submitted his own name, with the crew's blessing.

When Planet of the Apes won a special Oscar® for best makeup at the 1968 Academy Awards® Kubrick was furious, feeling that his film's ape makeup was better. He publicly stated that the Academy®'s board must have thought the apes in his film were real.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) honored the film for art direction, cinematography and sound, while also nominating it for Best Picture.

The film also won the David di Donatello Award (Italy's version of the Oscar®) for Best Foreign Production and a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation from the World Science Fiction Society.

2001: A Space Odyssey was voted a place on the National Film Registry in 1991.

By Frank Miller

The Critics Corner (11/30) - The Critics' Corner on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

"2001 is one of the grimmest films I have ever seen in my life...I think that Kubrick is someone who is too intelligent, too cynical, too pessimistic about man, or about men rather, and I think that as it turns out, 2001 is a disaster because it is much too abstract to make its abstract points." - Andrew Sarris, WBAI Radio. "...the scope of its imaginative vision of man...immerses the eye, the ear, and the intuitive responses of the viewer in a uniquely stimulating human experience." - National Catholic Office of Motion Pictures. "A regrettable failure, though not a total one. This long film is fascinating when it concentrates on apes or machines (though there is too much of this, too), and dreadful when dealing with the in-betweens: human beings...the slab is never explained, leaving 2001, for all its lively visual and mechanical spectacle, a kind of space-Spartacus and, more pretentious still, a shaggy God story." - John Simon, The New Leader "...an extraordinary masterpiece...a major challenge to some of the assumptions that dominated serious writing for at least a hundred years." - Hollis Alpert, Saturday Review. "...the uncompromising slowness of the movie makes it hard to sit through without talking -- and people on all sides when I saw it were talking almost throughout the film. Very annoying. With all its attention to detail, a kind of reveling in its own I.Q., the movie acknowledged no obligation to validate its conclusion for those, me for example, who are not science-fiction buffs. By the end, three unreconciled plot lines -- the slab, Dullea's aging, the period bedroom -- are simply left there like a Rorschach, with murky implications of theology." - Renata Adler, The New York Times. "I have seen Stanley Kubrick's mind-bending, maddening, awesome, debilitating, demoniacal, dehumanizing, and miraculous extraterrestrial fantasy-drama twice. At first I thought Kubrick had flipped his lid. Now I believe he is a genius." - Sam Lesner, Chicago Daily News. Despite some of the worst reviews ever given a major motion picture, 2001: A Space Odyssey attracted a devoted audience of young fans. In fact, many college-age viewers attended the film in an altered state, enjoying the film's celebrated "trip sequence," a ritual which was noted with interest by studio executives who began marketing it as a "head movie." In some ways, the film's success with the younger generation gave rise to the midnight movie phenomenon which provided filmmakers like David Lynch and Alexandro Jodorowsky the opportunity to make experimental, non-traditional narrative films like Eraserhead (1977) and El Topo (1970). 2001: A Space Odyssey made $15 million on its initial U.S. release, and currently shows a worldwide gross of over $190 million. AWARDS & HONORS 2001: A Space Odyssey was nominated for four Oscars® including Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay and Best Directing. It won for Best Special Effects, which is the only Oscar® Kubrick ever received. He didn't want to submit his name in the category, but an Academy® rule limiting the number of names eligible for nomination in that category would have required him to submit only a few members of the film's special effects team. Rather than make such an impossible choice, he just submitted his own name, with the crew's blessing. When Planet of the Apes won a special Oscar® for best makeup at the 1968 Academy Awards® Kubrick was furious, feeling that his film's ape makeup was better. He publicly stated that the Academy®'s board must have thought the apes in his film were real. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) honored the film for art direction, cinematography and sound, while also nominating it for Best Picture. The film also won the David di Donatello Award (Italy's version of the Oscar®) for Best Foreign Production and a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation from the World Science Fiction Society. 2001: A Space Odyssey was voted a place on the National Film Registry in 1991. By Frank Miller

2001: A Space Odyssey


The creation of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was as big an epic as the movie itself. Employing teams of professionals in every field from space flight to food services, Stanley Kubrick set out to make what he simply described as a "good science fiction film." His first step was to contact famed author Arthur C. Clarke, and over the next four years the two men crafted a "fictionalized science lesson" which was to be a coming of age of the entire human race.

Based on a short story written by Clarke in 1950 called "The Sentinel", 2001: A Space Odyssey tells the story of humankind's steps from cavemen to enlightened beings.

It is difficult to describe the events of 2001: A Space Odyssey with very much detail without spoiling many of the plot points, and ruining Kubrick's intention for the film, that we "experience" 2001, rather than merely "watch." With the help of Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick wanted to create the kind of science fiction film that just wasn't made before 2001: A Space Odyssey. A voracious fan of science fiction, Kubrick didn't want to merely tell a story about space, he wanted to tell a story about man's relationship to the universe Ða pretty tall order. Because of the immense detail required in a screenplay, Kubrick and Clarke started by writing the story as a novel, which would be primarily Clarke's task. After Clarke delivered the story as a gift to Kubrick for Christmas 1964, they began converting the plot into a screenplay and the adventure began. One of the crowning achievements of 2001: A Space Odyssey was the level of detail, which surpassed even Kubrick's usual demands. With the help of Scientific Consultant, Frederick Ordway, the production collaborated with companies like Whirlpool, RCA, GE, IBM, Pan Am, and NASA to provide a technological product placement. In exchange for discussing their plans for the future, and providing feasible designs for futuristic devices, cooperating companies would earn a place in the movie's environments. Hence, 2001 ASO is littered with amusing logos like Pan Am on the shuttle, and Howard Johnson's on the hotel in the space station. These little touches make life in space that much more believable.

This same commitment to detail was extended to the groundbreaking special effects in the film. During the Dawn Of Man sequence, Kubrick employed front projection rather than rear projection, which was most common. Kubrick felt that rear projection never looked convincing, so he mounted a projector from above and projected the background slide behind the set pieces at very low light. The result was a completely realistic environment. But without convincing ape-men, the background would have gone entirely to waste, so Kubrick employed British make up artist Stuart Freeborn to bring early man to life. Though Freeborn was snubbed for an Oscar for makeup in lieu of Planet Of the Apes (1968), Freeborn's complex masks and prosthetics actually allowed actors to articulate their lips more convincingly than those used for Planet of the Apes. Stuart Freeborn went on to design creatures for the Star Wars films.

The space sequences proved no less imaginative. Because characters would be traveling and living in a variety of environments onboard spaceships, Kubrick needed to find a realistic way to blend both gravity and weightless conditions. The techniques ranged from the simple method of mounting a pen on a piece of rotating plexi-glass so that it appeared to be floating, to actually rotating the set, while the actors roamed about inside. The weightless space walk sequences were achieved by suspending actors, and in some cases set pieces like the "pod" transports, from the ceiling by wires. The "floating" actors were then shot from below, their bodies hiding the wires. For the "stargate" sequence, FX Supervisor Douglas Trumbull devised what was called a "slitscan machine." The machine helped with the process of photographing backlit transparencies of artwork, exposing each frame for a full minute, and moving the camera and artwork in sync, recording the art with a "streaked," stylized fashion. The result was the appearance that Dave Bowman was moving through time and space at infinite speeds.

Taking just over four years, and costing MGM $11 million, 2001: A Space Odyssey was met with mixed reviews when it premiered on April 12, 1968. Critics pretty much hated the film, calling it slow, boring, and confusing. Luckily, for Kubrick and Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey struck a cord with younger audiences, who made the film the second biggest box office draw of 1968. 2001: A Space Odyssey is now widely praised as a remarkable achievement for its realistic depiction of space flight during a time when our space program was in its infancy. Years before we actually set foot on the moon, Kubrick and Clarke not only envisioned settlements there; they showed us an unsettlingly accurate portrayal of the lunar surface.

True, the film can be confusing Ð a point that Clarke concedes. During a trip to Hawaii from his home in Sri Lanka, Clarke was detained by an immigration official who joked, "I'm not going to let you in until you explain the ending of 2001 to me." But the film's ambiguity is part of its importance. Had Kubrick spelled it out entirely, he would have robbed viewers of the experience, and we would not still debate it today. As Kubrick himself commented, "...it's a non verbal experienceÉthe truth is in the feel of it, not the think of it."

Director/ Producer: Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, based on the story "The Sentinel" by Arthur C. Clarke
Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth
Editor: Ray Lovejoy
Art Direction: John Hoesli
Music: Aram Khachaturyan, Gyorgy Ligeti, Richard Strauss, Johann Strauss
Cast: Keir Dullea (Dr. Dave Bowman), Gary Lockwood (Dr. Frank Poole), William Sylvester (Dr. Heywood R. Floyd), Daniel Richter (Moonwatcher), Leonard Rossiter (Smyslov), Douglas Rain (voice of Hal 9000).
C-149m. Letterboxed. Close captioning. Descriptive Video.

by Bill Goodman

2001: A Space Odyssey

The creation of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was as big an epic as the movie itself. Employing teams of professionals in every field from space flight to food services, Stanley Kubrick set out to make what he simply described as a "good science fiction film." His first step was to contact famed author Arthur C. Clarke, and over the next four years the two men crafted a "fictionalized science lesson" which was to be a coming of age of the entire human race. Based on a short story written by Clarke in 1950 called "The Sentinel", 2001: A Space Odyssey tells the story of humankind's steps from cavemen to enlightened beings. It is difficult to describe the events of 2001: A Space Odyssey with very much detail without spoiling many of the plot points, and ruining Kubrick's intention for the film, that we "experience" 2001, rather than merely "watch." With the help of Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick wanted to create the kind of science fiction film that just wasn't made before 2001: A Space Odyssey. A voracious fan of science fiction, Kubrick didn't want to merely tell a story about space, he wanted to tell a story about man's relationship to the universe Ða pretty tall order. Because of the immense detail required in a screenplay, Kubrick and Clarke started by writing the story as a novel, which would be primarily Clarke's task. After Clarke delivered the story as a gift to Kubrick for Christmas 1964, they began converting the plot into a screenplay and the adventure began. One of the crowning achievements of 2001: A Space Odyssey was the level of detail, which surpassed even Kubrick's usual demands. With the help of Scientific Consultant, Frederick Ordway, the production collaborated with companies like Whirlpool, RCA, GE, IBM, Pan Am, and NASA to provide a technological product placement. In exchange for discussing their plans for the future, and providing feasible designs for futuristic devices, cooperating companies would earn a place in the movie's environments. Hence, 2001 ASO is littered with amusing logos like Pan Am on the shuttle, and Howard Johnson's on the hotel in the space station. These little touches make life in space that much more believable. This same commitment to detail was extended to the groundbreaking special effects in the film. During the Dawn Of Man sequence, Kubrick employed front projection rather than rear projection, which was most common. Kubrick felt that rear projection never looked convincing, so he mounted a projector from above and projected the background slide behind the set pieces at very low light. The result was a completely realistic environment. But without convincing ape-men, the background would have gone entirely to waste, so Kubrick employed British make up artist Stuart Freeborn to bring early man to life. Though Freeborn was snubbed for an Oscar for makeup in lieu of Planet Of the Apes (1968), Freeborn's complex masks and prosthetics actually allowed actors to articulate their lips more convincingly than those used for Planet of the Apes. Stuart Freeborn went on to design creatures for the Star Wars films. The space sequences proved no less imaginative. Because characters would be traveling and living in a variety of environments onboard spaceships, Kubrick needed to find a realistic way to blend both gravity and weightless conditions. The techniques ranged from the simple method of mounting a pen on a piece of rotating plexi-glass so that it appeared to be floating, to actually rotating the set, while the actors roamed about inside. The weightless space walk sequences were achieved by suspending actors, and in some cases set pieces like the "pod" transports, from the ceiling by wires. The "floating" actors were then shot from below, their bodies hiding the wires. For the "stargate" sequence, FX Supervisor Douglas Trumbull devised what was called a "slitscan machine." The machine helped with the process of photographing backlit transparencies of artwork, exposing each frame for a full minute, and moving the camera and artwork in sync, recording the art with a "streaked," stylized fashion. The result was the appearance that Dave Bowman was moving through time and space at infinite speeds. Taking just over four years, and costing MGM $11 million, 2001: A Space Odyssey was met with mixed reviews when it premiered on April 12, 1968. Critics pretty much hated the film, calling it slow, boring, and confusing. Luckily, for Kubrick and Clarke, 2001: A Space Odyssey struck a cord with younger audiences, who made the film the second biggest box office draw of 1968. 2001: A Space Odyssey is now widely praised as a remarkable achievement for its realistic depiction of space flight during a time when our space program was in its infancy. Years before we actually set foot on the moon, Kubrick and Clarke not only envisioned settlements there; they showed us an unsettlingly accurate portrayal of the lunar surface. True, the film can be confusing Ð a point that Clarke concedes. During a trip to Hawaii from his home in Sri Lanka, Clarke was detained by an immigration official who joked, "I'm not going to let you in until you explain the ending of 2001 to me." But the film's ambiguity is part of its importance. Had Kubrick spelled it out entirely, he would have robbed viewers of the experience, and we would not still debate it today. As Kubrick himself commented, "...it's a non verbal experienceÉthe truth is in the feel of it, not the think of it." Director/ Producer: Stanley Kubrick Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, based on the story "The Sentinel" by Arthur C. Clarke Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth Editor: Ray Lovejoy Art Direction: John Hoesli Music: Aram Khachaturyan, Gyorgy Ligeti, Richard Strauss, Johann Strauss Cast: Keir Dullea (Dr. Dave Bowman), Gary Lockwood (Dr. Frank Poole), William Sylvester (Dr. Heywood R. Floyd), Daniel Richter (Moonwatcher), Leonard Rossiter (Smyslov), Douglas Rain (voice of Hal 9000). C-149m. Letterboxed. Close captioning. Descriptive Video. by Bill Goodman

Quotes

I've just picked up a fault in the AE35 unit. It's going to go 100% failure in 72 hours.
- HAL
I honestly think you ought to calm down; take a stress pill and think things over.
- HAL
What's that? Chicken?
- Dr. Floyd
Something like that. Tastes the same anyway.
- Dr. Halvorsen
I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.
- HAL
It can only be attributable to human error.
- HAL

Trivia

According to Keir Dullea (Dave Bowman), Nigel Davenport and Martin Balsam were hired and later replaced before Douglas Rain finally landed the role of HAL. Nigel Davenport was actually was on-set in England during filming, reading HAL's lines off-camera so that Dullea and Gary Lockwood could react to them. Apparently, Kubrick thought that Davenport's English accent was too distracting, so after a few weeks he dismissed him and for the remainder of the shoot HAL's lines were read by an assistant director who, according to Dullea, had a cockney accent so thick that lines like "Better take a stress pill, Dave" came out like "Better tyke a stress pill, Dyve". Later Martin Balsam was hired and recorded HAL's voice in New York but again when Kubrick heard his lines he wasn't satisfied so he finally got Douglas Rain to re-record everything during post production. For the sequel, Peter Hyams' 2010 (1984), the opposite process was used: Douglas Rain recorded all of HAL's dialogue during pre-production prior to principal photography. That's why, to this day, Keir Dullea and Douglas Rain have never actually spoken directly to each other or met in person.

Stanley Kubrick initially approached Arthur C. Clarke by saying that he wanted to make "the proverbial good science-fiction movie". Clarke suggested that "The Sentinel", a short story he wrote in 1948, story would provide a suitable premise. Clarke had written the story for a BBC competition, but it didn't even make the shortlist. "The Sentinel" corresponds only to the relatively short part of the movie that takes place on the moon.

The screenplay was written primarily by Kubrick and the novel primarily by Clarke, each working simultaneously and also providing feedback to the other. As the story went through many revisions, changes in the novel were taken over into the screenplay and vice versa. It was also unclear whether film or novel would be released first; in the end it was the film. Kubrick was to have been credited as second author of the novel, but in the end was not. It is believed that Kubrick deliberately withheld his approval of the novel as to not hurt the release of the film.

Kubrick planned to have Alex North (who wrote the score for Kubrick's Spartacus (1960)) write a musical score especially for the film. During filming, Kubrick played classical music on the set to create the right mood. Delighted with the effect, he decided to use classical music in the finished product. North's score has subsequently been released as "Alex North's 2001" (Varese/Sarabande 5400).

Douglas Rain (the voice of HAL) never visited the set.

Notes

Opened in London in May 1968; running time: 141 min. Presented in Cinerama for roadshow engagements.

Miscellaneous Notes

Re-released in United States November 10, 1995

Re-released in United States December 14, 2001

Re-released in United States December 20, 2001

Re-released in United States May 18, 2018

Re-released in United States on Video June 30, 1993

Released in United States 1973

Released in United States January 1992

Released in United States 1996

Released in United States 2008

Shown at Tribeca Film Festival (Special Event) April 23-May 4, 2008.

Formerly distributed by MGM.

Released in USA on video.

2001 re-release is a newly restored and digitally re-mastered 70mm print.

Selected in 1991 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Released in United States Spring April 1968

Re-released in United States November 10, 1995 (Pacific Cinerama Dome; Los Angeles)

Re-released in United States December 14, 2001 (restored version; New York City)

Re-released in United States December 20, 2001 (restored version; Los Angeles)

Re-released in United States May 18, 2018

Re-released in United States on Video June 30, 1993

Released in United States 1973 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Closing Night) November 15 ¿ December 16, 1973.)

Released in United States January 1992 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival (Stanley Kubrick: American Master Abroad) in Park City, Utah January 16-26, 1992.)

Released in United States 1996 (Shown in New York City (American Museum of the Moving Image) as part of program "Stanley Kubrick" August 10 - September 1, 1996.)

Re-released in United Kingdom March 30, 2001.

Released in United States 2008 (Shown at Tribeca Film Festival (Special Event) April 23-May 4, 2008.)

Released in United States Spring April 1968