2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) wr. Stanley Kubrick with Arthur C. Clarke based somewhat on his short story 'The Sentinel/The Sentinel of Eternity'; Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer HAL 9000, sets off on a quest.

I'm just watching the DVD again in 2018. I saw the film in Torquay in 1968, and 'taught' Clarke's novel at CCGS in the early 1970s.

It starts with about a full minute of bullshit creepy music - with a black screen - before the MGM logo. Hard to believe cinema viewers put up with that in darkness.

Then we have the apes and the first appearance of a monolith, which, it's implied, teaches one of them how to kill another.

Then the frame match device, which I 'taught' when I had become a university lecturer in cinema a decade or two later. I'm disappointed to see that the bone makes its final appearance at a different angle to the spaceship, and there is no repetition, so the 'matching' is perfunctory, if it exists at all.

Then the technical shot where the hostess walks through 180 degrees. Obviously the set turns but not the camera, but it's still quite striking.

Much of the film depends on the play of different coloured lights on the face of lead Keir Dullea - a very economical way of conveying that he is trying all sorts of different things on his control panel.

Something I found striking that I would not have noticed in 1968 (because I would have been walking out of the cinema) is that after the words THE END appear on the screen, the Berlin Philharmonic, under Karajan, continue (with the screen dark) to play a wonderful performance of the Blue Danube waltz to the very end - a couple of minutes worth. So the film (almost) starts with Richard Strauss (Also Sprach Zarathustra) and ends with Johann.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 27 July, 2018 | Now: 20 October, 2021