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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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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Studying the typography of 2001: A Space Odyssey

Tuesday, 11 February, 2014

Dave Addey scrutinises the use of typography in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and turns up a whole stack of details I hadn’t really given much thought to previously, including the way Stanley Kubrick set out the film’s title card:

[The] title card is set in Gill Sans, one of the all-time classic sans-serif fonts. Perhaps surprisingly, the zeroes in “2001” appear to be set with the Gill Sans capital letter O, rather than its zero character.

By the looks of it, this is the first in series of articles that Addey will be writing on the use of typography in science fiction movies.

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How do you depict extraterrestrials when you’ve not met any?

Monday, 28 October, 2013

In bringing 2001: A Space Odyssey to the screen, director Stanley Kubrick, and co-screenwriter Arthur C. Clarke, struggled to devise a credible looking species of extraterrestrials, to feature in the film:

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.

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Stanley Kubrick’s favourite movies

Wednesday, 7 August, 2013

Manhattan, by Woody Allen, still

Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Roman Polanski, Francis Ford Coppola, Mike Leigh, and Woody Allen, whose work features a number of times, are among directors whose films were admired by late US filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.

And on the subject of Kubrick, a transcript of the 1964 letter he sent to science writer Arthur C. Clarke, proposing the collaboration that would later bring forth 2001: A Space Odyssey:

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.

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The summer I spent working for Stanley Kubrick

Monday, 4 March, 2013

Tim Deegan recounts working for Stanley Kubrick as an intern during the production, and release, of 2001: A Space Odyssey:

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.

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Could the greatest (sci-fi) story of all time be based on a hoax?

Thursday, 6 September, 2012

If you’re a fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and conspiracy theories, you might enjoy reading Joe Bisdin’s take on Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, who suggests that the discovery of the monolith on the Moon was set up by the National Council of Astronautics (NCA).

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.

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The one point perspective, a hallmark of Stanley Kubrick’s films

Friday, 31 August, 2012

The “one point perspective shot”, a hallmark of Stanley Kubrick’s films, something I’d not completely appreciated until I saw these instances of his work.

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Working with Stanley Kubrick making “2001: A Space Odyssey”

Thursday, 9 August, 2012

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.

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Is there more to the “continuity errors” in Stanley Kubrick films?

Friday, 20 July, 2012

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.

After viewing the film played forwards, backwards, and then in both directions superimposed one over the other, Fell turned up a number of production quirks:

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?

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