What is important right now is the fact that the revelation of the physical appearance of the aliens in the book is one of the most shocking in sci-fi history: they turn on to look like the traditional human folk images of demons – large bipeds with leathery wings, horns and tails. Maybe Kubrick was amused by this shocking revelation and the effect that it may have had on the audience?
I think “2001” might have been a completely different film, likely far inferior, had they have not gone the way they eventually did, in this regard.
It’s a very interesting coincidence that our mutual friend Caras mentioned you in a conversation we were having about a Questar telescope. I had been a great admirer of your books for quite a time and had always wanted to discuss with you the possibility of doing the proverbial “really good” science-fiction movie.
Another mystery quickly developed when the studio received a call from the manager of the Loews Capitol Theatre, MGM’s 5,500-seat showcase theater on Broadway (second largest in New York after Radio City Music Hall’s 5,700 seats). The projectionist was threatening to go on strike and close the theater, which meant no more showings of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Someone saying they were from MGM had gone into the projection booth and was using a chisel to file the aperture frame to remove the built up dust from the carbon arc projectors so that there would be sharp, not fuzzy, edges on the theater screen.
Does this sound like they are discussing what may be the most significant discovery in the history of science, or work as usual? Bill follows by asking, “You seen these yet?” Photographs of the alleged monolith discovery are then reviewed while they munch on sandwiches. If this is a genuine discovery, doesn’t it seem a little unusual that Heywood, the chairman of the NCA, would be presented with such fundamentally important material in this casual setting as an afterthought, rather than having been presented with the photographs earlier? Does it make more sense that Bill and Ralph are presenting a genuine landmark scientific discovery to Heywood, or that they are rehearsing their story lines about how this contrived discovery was made? The scene concludes with Heywood’s comment, “Well, I must say, you guys have certainly come up with something.” Laughter follows.
I did wonder about this bit in the film though, it really didn’t make any sense.
Fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey will doubtless enjoy 2001: The Making of a Myth, a documentary exploring aspects of the production of Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi classic, that was included, I believe, as part of a “2001” DVD box set released in 2007.
Narrated by James Cameron, the feature includes interviews with Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote the screenplay with Kubrick, and Keir Dullea who plays astronaut Dave Bowman, plus a number of minor cast members, who offer some, at times, candid thoughts on working with Kubrick.
There’s a few other interesting tidbits here… for instance at one point it was proposed that a TV-like monitor be attached to the monolith. Who else is thankful that idea was never pursued?
What’s the story with the doco’s soundtrack though? It sounds more like a MIDI file than anything else.
You’d think that the work of a film director as meticulous as Stanley Kubrick would be relatively free of continuity errors and other production mistakes, but this is not what John Fell Ryan, who has watched Kubrick’s horror classic The Shining numerous times, seemed to find.
Besides the famous “impossible window” and hotel manager Ullman’s weird hand shapes, the interview scene also offers one of Kubrick’s bizarre continuity errors. Besides the pen changing angles, in the lower right hand corner of the screen the cigarette in the ashtray seems to disappear. There is no practical reason why this error would occur as no one in this scene ever smokes. In fact, no one in the whole movie is seen smoking except for Wendy. If you look at the ashtray closely, you’ll notice that the cigarette hasn’t really disappeared, just the glass ashtray has been rotated 90° clockwise.
So, continuity errors, or perhaps veiled messages (of some sort), from Kubrick?
An interview, clocking in at one hour and sixteen minutes, that Jeremy Bernstein of The New Yorker recorded with Stanley Kubrick in November 1966, where among other things, they discuss the then in production film “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
Word quickly spread that Stanley had a computerized system to track theaters and grosses based on technical information he had acquired while developing HAL 9000, the all-knowing computer in 2001. For months these stories persisted in the trades as the roster of Clockwork cinemas was refined. They were neither confirmed nor denied.