The 2001 File, a look at the art direction of 2001: A Space Odyssey

Monday, 18 January, 2016

For those who cannot get enough of 2001: A Space Odyssey, comes The 2001 File, a book by British writer Christopher Frayling, that explores the work of the film’s art director, Harry Lange.

A new book by Sir Christopher Frayling presents the largely unpublished archive of art director Harry Lange’s designs, concepts, roughs and photographs for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The result is a veritable feast for design and film geeks.

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One hundred thousand white balloons and other links

Friday, 11 September, 2015

Here’s a selection of links I’ve looked at over the last week or two, that I haven’t incorporated into other write-ups here, since I’m doing things a little differently now.

One hundred thousand, an incredible number, of white balloons form Heartbeat, a cumulus cloud like installation, created by French artist and photographer Charles Pétillion, that is on show in London’s Covent Garden, until 27 September.

You can’t begin a sentence with a conjunction (I do it here all the time), and other grammar myths debunked, by Harvard linguist Steven Pinker:

Teachers instruct young students that it is incorrect to begin a sentence with a conjunction (and, because, but, or, so, also) because it helps keep them from writing in fragments, Pinker writes, but it’s a lie that adults don’t need to follow. Avoid writing an ugly “megasentence” full of connected independent clauses, and feel free to start a sentence with a conjunction.

New York City based photographer Aaron Pegg recently gathered this impressive collection of photos of empty London Underground stations. Sights like are sometimes to be seen when travelling on the system late in the evening. It can feel tad spooky.

The flyby of Pluto by NASA’s New Horizons space probe on 14 July seems a long time ago now, doesn’t it? So here’s an animation of the craft’s closet approach to the dwarf planet. Amazing. And don’t forget that data from the probe’s flyby will take over a year to finally reach us, so there’s still a lot to come yet.

The Joker, archvillain, and Batman’s nemesis right? Not according to one fan theory, that contends he was a force for good in Gotham City:

Before the Joker, Gotham was a mess. Entire sections of the city were closed off due to madness, organized crime ran rampant, and the majority of important city officials were wildly corrupt. The city even tolerated a renegade vigilante who ran around wearing a rubber suit (Okay, special armor and carbon fiber, but they don’t know that). Along comes the Joker and by the end of a very short time, almost all organized crime was eliminated, many corrupt officials were imprisoned or dead, and the city’s Vigilante even went into hiding for 8 years.

Photo by Christopher Herwig

Christopher Herwig took a road trip through countries that once made up the former Soviet Union, and, going by some of the photos he took, you’d be forgiven for thinking that no two USSR-era bus shelters were alike. Many more such images will feature in a book he has published on the subject.

I don’t know how many times I’ve watched 2001: A Space Odyssey now, but still I cannot make sense of the layout, or interior design of USS Discovery, the Jupiter bound spacecraft. How on earth did all those compartments and chambers all fit in with each other? Mystery solved, thanks to New Scientist, and a cut-away style painting by Oliver Rennert, of Discovery’s habitation sphere, that reveals all.

A 3.2-gigapixel digital camera, that will be the world’s largest once it is constructed, will reveal all sorts of detail of the night sky and the universe, when it becomes operational in about seven years. Apparently though 1500 high definition TV screens will be needed to view but one of its ultra high resolution images.

Bland, boring, urban design… does it really have an impact on our well being? Apparently so…

Behavioural effects of city street design have been reported before. In 2006, the Danish urbanist Jan Gehl observed that people walk more quickly in front of blank facades; compared with an open, active facade, people are less likely to pause or even turn their heads in such locations. They simply bear down and try to get through the unpleasant monotony of the street until they emerge on the other side, hopefully to find something more interesting.

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A leaf blown odyssey, follow up to “2001: A Space Odyssey”?

Thursday, 23 April, 2015

The only reason I’m posting this video clip, an advert for a leaf blower, is as testament to the enduring influence of 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Stanley Kurbrick.

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The matte paintings of “2001: A Space Odyssey”

Monday, 16 February, 2015

The other week I linked to a collection of mattes, or background scene paintings, that were used in the production of the early “Star Wars” films. This week I’m doing likewise for 2001: A Space Odyssey, although here it’s not solely a collection of paintings, but also meticulously constructed spacecraft models.

Latter day filmmakers, though computer-generated imagery, or CGI, have much to be thankful for methinks.

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Steven Soderbergh’s recut of 2001: A Space Odyssey

Wednesday, 21 January, 2015

US film director Steven Soderbergh, maker of the Ocean’s Eleven series of films among others, has recut 2001: A Space Odyssey. His one hundred and ten minute re-working of Stanley Kubrick’s classic came about, it seems, from a desire to cross a line.

That’s some line to cross. I’m unable to embed the video, but Soderbergh has posted it to his website here.

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Keir Dullea’s Ask Me Anything about “2001: A Space Odyssey”

Wednesday, 3 December, 2014

About eight years ago in Sydney I heard Keir Dullea, who portrayed astronaut Dave Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey, speak along with co-star Gary Lockwood, at a special screening event of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi film.

It was abundantly clear that both were proud of their involvement, but none more so than Dullea. If you’re yet to hear him discuss his part in the production of “2001”, this is something that will become apparent while reading through a recent AMA session Dullea did at Reddit:

I think my favorite scene was where I’m dismantling HAL’s brain. It reminded me a bit of a famous movie and also play called Of Mice and Men when Lenny is speaking with George regarding their plans to start a farm. This is a scene that comes at the end of the film after Lenny has inadvertently caused the death of a young woman. Now there’s a posse that is looking for him intending possibly to string him up. This discussion of their plans to start a farm has been heard throughout the film, and so with some love and compassion, with a hidden pistol behind his back George reviews their plans with Lenny and half-way through their discussion he shoots him behind his back to avoid him being killed by a posse of men. In some way, emotionally, that scene from Of Mice and Men affected the way I played the scene with HAL.

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Is it possible to make an odyssey out of “3001: The Final Odyssey”?

Tuesday, 11 November, 2014

There’s been talk for years of a movie based on 3001: The Final Odyssey, the final installment of Arthur C. Clarke’s four book series, that in turn was based on the Stanley Kubrick directed 2001: A Space Odyssey.

At one point it was suggested Tom Hanks would have a prominent role in such a production, but that particular project was eventually shelved.

Now it looks like “3001” may yet be adapted for the screen, with the news last week that US film director Ridley Scott will be acting as executive producer for a proposed television mini series based on the book.

While ok, I didn’t find either “3001”, or the title that preceded it, 2061: Odyssey Three, to be that great, especially when compared with “2001” or even Clarke’s second novel in the series, 2010: Odyssey Two. I’ll refrain from making any comment on the film adaptation of “2010” however.

But let’s see, fingers crossed, and what have you… some adept adaptation writing might see “3001” turned into a decent screen production.

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“2001: A Space Odyssey”, a trailer for 2014

Tuesday, 28 October, 2014

I’ve seen 2001: A Space Odyssey a thousand times, yet feel like I’d be watching it for the first time after seeing this brand new trailer, which is for the United Kingdom only, sadly, re-release of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic.

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“2001: A Space Odyssey”, the animated cut

Monday, 29 September, 2014

There are some people who feel 2001: A Space Odyssey is a little too drawn out for their taste. Possibly then this sixty second animated version, by 1A4 STUDIO, may be more to their liking…

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The original soundtrack of 2001, as composed by Alex North

Wednesday, 10 September, 2014

I knew that Stanley Kubrick spent a lot of time thinking about the music for his 1968 feature 2001: A Space Odyssey, but I didn’t for a long time realise that US composer Alex North had been commissioned to write an entire sound track that Kubrick later opted not to use.

North’s composition, in its entirety, can be found here. What do you think? While, for instance, I like “Space Station Docking” by North, that would have featured during the flight to the space station, there’s no going passed Kubrick’s ultimate choice, “The Blue Danube”.

Via things magazine.

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