James Cameron Revisits the Making of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey, so its fans will tell you, is awesome, amazing, astonishing, astounding — and that doesn't even exhaust their list of "A" adjectives. But however emphatically they're spoken, those words don't tell you much. I fear they sometimes even put off potential 2001-lovers — or at least those who would enjoy a screening or three — who fear themselves unequal to the imposing labor of appreciation ahead. You'll learn more meaningful things about Kubrick's film in 2001: The Making of a Myth (made in 2001), a 45-minute documentary on its conception, its production, and its undiminished resonance in our cultural imagination.

Introduced by filmmaker James Cameron — he of The TerminatorAvatar, and Aliens, science-fiction spectacles of an entirely different nature the program brings in a host of the original contributors to 2001's look, feel, and psychological and technological verisimilitude. We hear from those involved in the photography, design, editing, and even technical consultancy. Actor Keir Dullea, still best known for his role as astronaut Dave Bowman, has much to say about working with his co-star HAL, and even the fellows in the ape suits offer insights into their non-verbal craft. Critical minds such as Elvis Mitchell and Camille Paglia weigh in on the picture's simultaneous visceral and intellectual impact, but Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote 2001 the book while Kubrick shot 2001 the film, puts it most sharply when describing the intent of his director counterpart: "He wanted to make the proverbial good science-fiction movie." Mission accomplished.

H/T Maria Popova (aka BrainPicker)

Related content:

Rare 1960s Audio: Stanley Kubrick’s Interview with The New Yorker

Dark Side of the Moon: A Mockumentary on Stanley Kubrick and the Moon Landing Hoax

Arthur C. Clarke Predicts the Internet & PC in 1974

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.

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Comments (6)
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  • It would be helpful if you’d mention the year this documentary was released. I’m guessing it was made, appropriately, in 2001, but it clearly isn’t new, since Arthur C. Clarke, who died in 2008, is one of the interviewees.

  • miles says:

    It mentions in the story it was made in 2001.

  • Dan Colman says:

    Hi Dick

    I added the date after the fact.

    Sorry for the inconvenience.


  • You really need to change the font color in your Google search box. The letters I type are indistinguishable from your text box label. Thanks much. HLB

  • ohsnap says:

    Strange that Keir Dullea isn’t mentioned in the credits.

  • dusty says:

    i would love to see 2001 with the original music score that kubrick had done, but went with the temp track instead… and would someone please explain that ending, i ve watched it hundreds of times, and it still doesnt make sense…. except the one time i saw it on LSD in 1970, that was fun.

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