Produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke

Stanley Kubrik died on 7th March 1999 at his home in Hertforshire, 666 days before the 1st January 2001.

2001 was released in 1968 and proved a landmark movie for its genre and generation.

The fact that 2001 is not easily understood on its first viewing was a source of much additional box office returns as people went back again and again to watch it in the hope that it would make more sense the more that they saw it. 2001 was not an instant hit, but the audiences started rolling in as a result of word of mouth referrals. Young people in particular picked up on 2001 as more of a movie to be experienced even if not entirely understood, especially the psychedelic images in the "tunnel of light" towards the end of the film which were claimed to be the closest thing to an LSD trip without actually taking the drug.

The visually stunning nature of the film has earned 2001 its place in cinema history. Much dialogue and a narrator were removed from the original script, Stanley Kubrick relying on his mastery of the visual language of film to tell the story.

The original concept came from the Arthur C. Clarke short story "The Sentinel". Stanley Kubrick and Arthur.C.Clarke wrote the original screenplay for 2001:A Space Odyssey. Arthur C. Clarke went away to turn the screenplay into the 2001 novel, and when Stanley Kubrick began filming changed the shooting script, and in addition removed many entire scenes from the film in the editing. Editing was allegedly done in part on the QE2 on his way to the Hollywood Premier of 2001 (Stanley Kubrick will not travel by air).

For three years 2001 occupied all nine stages at the MGM Borehamwood studio, and at times borrowed yet more space down the road at the Elstree EMI studios, and on occasions when all available stages in Borehamwood were fully occupied travelled over to Shepperton some 15 miles away in suburban West London which housed the giant Moonbase set.

Painstaking attention to detail in the model making and special effects have ensured that 2001 is a film that has stood the test of time. 2001 can be watched today alongside much later space epics without having to excuse shaky sets, unrealistic models and slightly offset matt shots that other films of its era suffer from. 2001 inevitably won that years Oscar for special effects, most of which were created by Stanley Kubrick himself.

The biggest single cost was the creation by Vickers engineering of the centrifugal ring of the Discovery ,built as a giant rotating set that crew member Dave Bowman is seen running around. Resembling a giant hamster's wheel Actor Gary Lockwood jogged at the bottom of the set whilst the whole set rotated. An innovation for the time was the use of a video camera to preview the shots, with Kubrick directing from off the set, thereby minimising the number of people working in the set.

Kubrick also broke new ground in cinematography by using what would now be called Steadicam shots. The camera was removed from its mountings and carried by crew members to create the kind of shots a hand held camera would create, this was not an inconsiderable task as the Panavison's were hefty machines. The resulting shots add viewer involvement, for example the scene on the Moonbase where the team of scientists visit the uncovered monolith the camera walks with them down a ramp and then around the monolith creating a documentary style of shooting. Kubrick was one of the first directors to extensively use the Steadicam when it became available for filming "The Shining."

Many companies contributed technical guidance during the designing of the sets and received in return their logos appearing on various items of hardware throughout the film, at a time when product placement was unheard of. The shuttles were flown by the now defunct Pan-Am, accommodation on the spacestation by Hilton, and in flight computer systems by IBM, and videophones by Bell. Kubrick insisted that the technical details were correct and many aerospace companies provided consultancy - this was at a time when rockets were only just getting out of the Earth's atmosphere, whilst down at Borehamwood experts argued about the details of a space station, moon colonisation, regular (Pan Am) shuttles into space and a manned mission to Jupiter !

The HAL - IBM dispute

IBM contributed advice about computers of the future, but insisted that their logo's be removed from the on-board computer once they realised that it was to become an errant device. IBM were even less pleased when it was realised that HAL, the name of the computer, was IBM's name with all the letters displaced by one character. The producers maintain that this was coincidence, but the conspiracy theorists maintain that it was Kubrick and Clarke having a swipe at the computer monolith.

The HAL 9000 did not in fact fail but was only acting under programming to ensure that above all else the mission was to carry on to Jupiter at all costs. HAL was given details of the true purpose of the mission, which was withheld from the crew, but was also programmed never to lie to humans, and to administer psychological tests to determine if the crew were in danger of jeopardising the mission. In his book "2001 - filming the future", Piers Bizony asserts that in the original script there is a dialogue between HAL and Bowman that makes this dilemma and the subsequent actions clear, however this was cut from the final edition of the script.

Acknowledgements and further reading.

IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machines Inc.

Much detail of the filming of 2001, and a lengthy discussion of the script is contained in "2001 - filming the future" by Piers Bizony. Published by Aurum Press Ltd., 25 Bedford Avenue, London. WC1B 3AT. ISBN 1 85410 365 2

"The cinema of Stanley Kubrick" discusses the directors work from "Fear and Desire", through 2001 to "Full Metal Jacket". Norman Kagan, Continuum Publishing, 370 Lexington Ave, NY, NY 10017. ISBN 0 8264 0422 7

Check out a web site devoted exclusively to other 2001 web sites 2001: A Space Odyssey Internet Resource Archive