In the premier screening of the film, 241 people walked out of the theater, including Rock Hudson, who said, "Will someone tell me what the hell this is about?" Arthur C. Clarke once said, "If you understand '2001' completely, we failed. We wanted to raise far more questions than we answered."
The initial idea for the alien device that would eventually become the black monolith involved a transparent screen, which would show the apes how to use objects as tools and weapons. Arthur C. Clarke later dismissed it as 'too naive'. Also, the HAL 9000 computer started out as a mobile robot, but as Clarke feared that this view of artificial intelligence would become hopelessly outdated in the coming decades, the omnipresent red eye was conceived.
According to Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick wanted to get an insurance policy from Lloyds of London to protect himself against losses in the event that extraterrestrial intelligence were discovered before the movie was released. Lloyds refused. Carl Sagan commented, "In the mid-1960s, there was no search being performed for extraterrestrial intelligence, and the chances of accidentally stumbling on extraterrestrial intelligence in a few years' period was extremely small. Lloyds of London missed a good bet."
There is no dialogue in the first 25 minutes of the movie (ending when a stewardess speaks at 25:38), nor in the last 23 minutes (excluding end credits). With these two lengthy sections and other shorter ones, there are around 88 dialogue-free minutes in the movie.
Having calculated that it would take one person 13 years to hand draw and paint all the mattes needed to insert the assorted spacecraft into the starry backgrounds, Kubrick hired 12 other people who then did the job in one year.
The movie was not a financial success during the first weeks of its theatrical run. MGM was already planning to pull it back from theaters, when it was persuaded by several theater owners to keep showing the film. Many owners had observed increasing numbers of young adults attending the film, who were especially enthusiastic about watching the "Star Gate" sequence under the influence of psychotropic drugs. This helped the film to become a financial success in the end, despite the many negative reactions it received in the beginning.
Frank Miller, who plays the mission control voice, was a member of the US Air Force in real life, and a real mission controller. He was hired because his voice was the most authentic the producers could find for the role. Inexperienced and nervous, he could not keep from tapping his foot during recording sessions, and the tapping sound repeatedly came through on the audio tracks; Stanley Kubrick folded up a towel, put it under Miller's feet, and told him to tap to his heart's content.
Stanley Kubrick worked for several months with effects technicians to come up with a convincing effect for the floating pen in the shuttle sequence. After trying many different techniques, without success, Kubrick decided to simply use a pen that was taped to a sheet of glass and suspended in front of the camera. In fact, the shuttle attendant can be seen to "pull" the pen off the glass when she takes hold of it.
The last movie made about men on the moon before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked there in real life. More than 40 years later there are still conspiracy theorists who insist that this is not a coincidence, claiming that all footage of Armstrong's voyage was a hoax film directed by Stanley Kubrick using leftover scenes and props from this movie.
Rock band Pink Floyd was at one point approached to perform music for the film. However, they turned it down due to other commitments. Yet they retain a connection with the film: much like The Wizard of Oz (1939) and "Dark Side of the Moon", it is said that Pink Floyd's song "Echoes" from the album "Meddle" can be perfectly synchronized with the "Jupiter & Beyond the Infinite" segment of the film. See links section for details.
The only Oscar won by the film was for special visual effects. It was awarded to Stanley Kubrick--and was his sole win from 13 nominations. However, while Kubrick designed much of the look of the film and its effects, many of the technicians involved felt it was wrong for him to receive the sole credit. Following this controversy, the Academy tightened its eligibility rules.
The entire centrifuge section of the Discovery spacecraft was constructed as a single set. It was designed to rotate for shots such as the sequence in which Frank went jogging so that the actor remained on the bottom.
The sun and the crescent moon aligned with each other (in the opening shot) was a symbol of Zoroastrianism, an ancient Persian religion that predated Buddhism and Christianity and was based on the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra). This particular alignment symbolized the eternal struggle between light and darkness. Appropriately enough, the famous "2001: A Space Odyssey Theme" is from "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (Thus Spake Zarathustra), the symphonic poem by Richard Strauss, based on a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, which contained his famous declaration "God is dead". One can assume, given Stanley Kubrick's working methods, that none of this was accidental.
After seeing a documentary called To the Moon and Beyond (not listed on IMDb) at the 1964 New York World's Fair, Stanley Kubrick hired one of its special effects technicians, Douglas Trumbull, to work on this film. Trumbull developed a process called Slitscan photography to create the wild, kaleidoscopic images Bowman experiences going through the Stargate. It involved moving the camera rapidly past different pieces of lighted artwork, with the camera shutter held open to allow for a streaking effect. The overall effect gave the audience the sense of plunging into the infinite. Trunbull was later hired by ABC to produce the famous opening sequence for the ABC "Movie of the Week" using the same slitscan technique used for 2001.
According to Rolling Stone magazine, during one screening a young man rose as if in a trance at the monolith's reappearance near the end and ran down the theatre's aisle shouting "It's God! It's God!" Before the theatre's management could stop him, he had crashed through the screen.
Originally, Stanley Kubrick had Stuart Freeborn create a primitive but more human-like makeup for the actors playing early man, but he couldn't find a way to photograph them in full length without getting an X-rating from the MPAA, since they had to be naked. So Kubrick went with the hairy monkey model instead. With the exception of two baby chimpanzees, all were played by humans in costume. Freeborn and his wife Kathleen Freeborn used comic actor Ronnie Corbett as a makeup model, but he did not appear in the final film. Daniel Richter, who plays the ape moon watcher, choreographed most of these scenes. Early viewers of the movie wondered where Kubrick obtained such well-trained apes. It was later joked that "2001" lost the Best Makeup Academy Award to John Chambers for Planet of the Apes (1968) because the judges didn't realize the 2001 apes were really people, but there was no nomination list at all, as the award was not created until 1981--Chambers' award was merely honorary.
Poole (Gary Lockwood) was filmed wearing a helmet on the bridge of Discovery because Stanley Kubrick initially had doubts over the scientific possibility of a person's survival for even an instant in a vacuum; however, data published at the time indicated that such survival was indeed possible, which allowed the Emergency Air Lock re-entry sequence to be filmed and for scenes to be shot of the astronauts without their helmets.
Arthur C. Clarke first became aware of the project when the following cable from Roger Caras at MGM landed on his desk in 1963: "STANLEY KUBRICK DR STRANGELOVE PATHS OF GLORY ETC INTERESTED IN DOING FILM ON ETS STOP ARE YOU INTERESTED QUERY THOUGHT YOU WERE RECLUSE STOP" Clarke replied with the following cable: "FRIGHTFULLY INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH ENFANT TERRIBLE STOP CONTACT MY AGENT STOP WHAT MAKES KUBRICK THINK I'M A RECLUSE QUERY".
In both the book and film, HAL's creator, Dr. Chandra, has what is almost certainly a deliberately chosen name. Chandra, as well as being a common Indian surname, is a name of the Hindu lunar deity, and the word for "moon" in Hindi. Dr. Chandra's full first name, Sivasubramanian, can be translated as "Dear priest of Shiva". Shiva, the name of a supreme Hindu deity, carries as one of its meanings "the one who admits no imperfection". Therefore Dr. Chandra, the creator of a computer believing itself incapable of mistakes, has a uniquely appropriate first name. Arthur C. Clarke, who spent much of his life in Sri Lanka (where Buddhism is a major religion and Hinduism is a minor religion), would almost certainly have known these meanings.
In honor of the book and movie, NASA named a Mars orbiter: 2001 Mars Odyssey. This was not the first time NASA had a connotation with the film; the Apollo 13 command module's callsign was Odyssey during the ill-fated mission.
Stanley Kubrick initially approached Arthur C. Clarke by saying that he wanted to make "the proverbial good science-fiction movie". Clarke suggested that his story "The Sentinel" (1948) about finding an alien artifact on the moon, would provide a suitable premise. Clarke had written it for a BBC competition, but it didn't even make the shortlist. The movie's opening scene has elements in common with Clarke's story "Encounter at Dawn," and the ending is arguably related to his beloved novel "Childhood's End." The screenplay was written primarily by Kubrick and the novel primarily by Clarke, each working simultaneously and also providing feedback to the other. As the story went through many revisions, changes in the novel were taken over into the screenplay and vice versa. The official records say that the screenplay was written in 58 days (13 October 1965-9 December 1965). Shooting began with the "Monolith on the Moon" scene on 29 December 1965. It was undecided whether film or novel would be released first; in the end it was the film. Kubrick was to have been credited as second author of the novel, but in the end was not. It is believed that Kubrick deliberately withheld his approval of the novel as to not hurt the release of the film.
Originally intended as a road show release, with Overture, Intermission, and Exit music (all with curtain warmers) and a 35mm b/w prologue of interview with experts on the possibilities of extra terrestrial life. Despite the fact that the Overture, Intermission, and Exit Music were not used, the film still went out as a roadshow release, and still had an intermission. When Stanley Kubrick learned this, he not only ordered where the intermission took place, but had his film's composer record specific music for the intermission, and requested that the theater be plunged into darkness for a minute before the film restarted.
The joke working title, "How the Solar System was Won", reflected the original idea for the film. Just as How the West Was Won (1962) was a series of short stories spanning decades, this film was going to be a series of stories showing explorations on many planets and moons, ending with "The Sentinel" showing the uncovering of the monolith on the Moon, which was the first contact with extraterrestrials. A genuine working title was "Voyage Beyond the Stars". When Fantastic Voyage (1966) was released, Stanley Kubrick reportedly so disliked that film that he did not want his film to sound anything like it. In the end, "2001" was chosen as it is the first year of both the 21st century and the 3rd millennium. In 1999 Arthur C. Clarke held a press conference in which he said he was dismayed that so many people (including college professors and journalists) were incorrectly calling 2000 the beginning of the century.
Originally, HAL was to be called Athena and have a female voice. According to Keir Dullea (Dave Bowman), Nigel Davenport and Martin Balsam were hired and later replaced before Douglas Rain finally landed the role of HAL. Davenport was actually on-set in England during filming, reading HAL's lines off-camera so that Dullea and Gary Lockwood could react to them. Apparently, Stanley Kubrick thought that Davenport's English accent was too distracting, so after a few weeks he dismissed him and for the remainder of the shoot HAL's lines were read by an assistant director who, according to Dullea, had a Cockney accent so thick that lines like "Better take a stress pill, Dave" came out like "Better tyke a stress pill, Dyve". Later Balsam was hired and recorded HAL's voice in New York, but again when Kubrick heard his lines he wasn't satisfied, so he finally got Rain to re-record everything during post-production. Rain recorded in Canada, speaking his lines barefoot with his feet resting on a pillow to get the relaxed tone. For the sequel, Peter Hyams' 2010 (1984), the opposite process was used: Rain recorded all of HAL's dialogue during pre-production prior to principal photography. That's why, to this day, Dullea and Rain have never actually spoken directly to each other or met in person.
The film was originally to have ended just as it had in the book, with Bowman discovering the third monolith on Saturn's moon Japetus. This idea was scrapped, however, because the special effects crew was unable to make convincing-looking rings around Saturn. Effects artist Douglas Trumbull eventually perfected a technique for making the rings after production was completed, and used Saturn's rings to great effect in his directorial debut, Silent Running (1972).
Some of the "Dawn of Man" African sequences used the sounds of wild cats, gorillas and chimpanzees originally recorded for the MGM film Mogambo (1953). The sounds were authentic and actually recorded in locations throughout Africa during the making of "Mogambo" while it was being shot on location there.
According to Stanley Kubrick biographer John Baxter, Kubrick decided to use the Sinar Front Projection system for the desert backdrops during the animal/ape scenes. This method was selected because rear projection of the desert scenes would have proved too murky for Super Panavision. The use of the Sinar system explains why in the scene where the leopard is sitting next to the dead zebra (in reality a painted dead horse) the leopard's eyes glow a bright color. The Sinar system used glass transparencies as backdrops; however, the projectors necessary for this system were so hot that a draft or a breath could crack the glass. As a result, crew members were required to wear face masks, which started a long-persistent rumor that Kubrick had a paranoia of catching infections.
The chess position and moves that we see are from a game played in 1910 in Hamburg, Germany, between two undistinguished players named Roesch and Schlage. The computer claims that the final position is a checkmate in two moves. Actually, white is not obliged to play the move that HAL suggests (Bxf3), so we have a checkmate in three moves. Another result of Stanley Kubrick's fondness for chess is the character Smyslov, named after a Russian champion.
TMA-1 stands for Tycho Magnetic Anomaly-1. The monolith was originally to have been a black tetrahedron; however, it did not reflect light properly. Stanley Kubrick then decided to use a transparent cube, but that proved to be too difficult to use because of the reflections created by the studio lights. Next came a rectangular monolith cast from Lucite that looked unconvincing, and finally the familiar black slab.
By the year 2001, some of the product placements had become outdated. RCA Whirlpool, the maker of the zero-gravity food preparation unit on the moon shuttle, had become Whirlpool. The Bell System had been divested and the long-distance service became AT&T. Pan Am had ceased operations as an international air carrier (in fact, the Whirlpool change had already happened by the time of the film's original release).
It is reported that Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke watched an enormous number of science-fiction films in preparation for creating this movie and Kubrick himself acknowledged the influence of producer George Pal's films. Pal's Conquest of Space (1955) provided several plot points throughout the movie.
Stanley Kubrick previewed the film for critics, but quickly regretted doing so. Among the mostly indifferent and unfavorable reviews, as noted in the documentary 2001: The Making of a Myth (2001), were: "Somewhere between hypnotic and immensely boring"--The New York Times; "A monumentally unimaginative movie"--Harpers; "Space Odyssey fails most gloriously"--Newsday; and "Big, Beautiful but plodding scifi epic. Superb photography major asset to confusing, long-unfolding plot."--Variety.
Most of the monitor screens used throughout the spacecraft sequences are rear-projection 16mm showing loops of film. Due to Stanley Kubrick's typical multi-multi-take technique, a lot of these loops ended up getting scratched, and if you study some of the screens, particularly in the pod, you can see repeating scratches.
The "Blue Danube Waltz" was not the first piece of classical music intended for the space station sequence. Stanley Kubrick originally set the sequence to the Scherzo from Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's "Midsummer Night's Dream." Friend of Kubrick's introduced him to the Johann Strauss waltzes during this film's editing stage, and he re-edited the sequence to The Blue Danube for the final version of the film.
The soundtrack includes quotations from four pieces by György Ligeti ("Aventures", "Requiem", "Atmosphères", and "Lux Aeterna"). The music was used without Ligeti's permission, and he did not find out about it until he attended the movie's Vienna premiere.
Originally Stanley Kubrick wanted legendary manga creator Osamu Tezuka to do some of the art direction after watching Astroboy (1963). However Tezuka had to turn down the offer, due to transporting issues from Japan to the UK. After the film's release, Tezuka told Kubrick that he loved the movie and listens to the film's soundtrack while making his work.
Incrementing each letter of "HAL" gives you "IBM". Writer Arthur C. Clarke claimed this was unintentional, and if he had noticed ahead of time, he would have changed it. HAL stands for Heuristic Algorithmic Computer. IBM product placements appear in the movie as well, including the computer panels in the spaceplane that docks with the space station, the forearm control panel on Dave's spacesuit, and the portable viewscreens on which Dave and Frank watch "The World Tonight".
Frank Poole and Dave Bowman watch themselves in a television interview on "BBC 12". This was a play on the fact that, at the time of production, there were only BBC channels 1 and 2. The presenter in this scene is Kenneth Kendall, the first newsreader seen on British TV in 1955.
The full text of the Zero Gravity Toilet Instructions: ZERO GRAVITY TOILET PASSENGERS ARE ADVISED TO READ INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USE - 1. The toilet is of the standard zero-gravity type. Depending on requirements, System A and/or System B can be used, details of which are clearly marked in the toilet compartment. When operating System A, depress lever and a plastic dalkron eliminator will be dispensed through the slot immediately underneath. When you have fastened the adhesive lip, attach connection marked by the large "X" outlet hose. Twist the silver coloured ring one inch below the connection point until you feel it lock. - 2. The toilet is now ready for use. The Sonovac cleanser is activated by the small switch on the lip. When securing, twist the ring back to its initial-condition, so that the two orange lines meet. Disconnect. Place the dalkron eliminator in the vacuum receptacle to the rear. Activate by pressing the blue button. - 3. The controls for System B are located on the opposite wall. The red release switch places the uroliminator into position; it can be adjusted manually up or down by pressing the blue manual release button. The opening is self adjusting. To secure after use, press the green button which simultaneously activates the evaporator and returns the uroliminator to its storage position. - 4. You may leave the lavatory if the green exit light is on over the door. If the red light is illuminated, one of the lavatory facilities is not properly secured. Press the "Stewardess" call button on the right of the door. She will secure all facilities from her control panel outside. When green exit light goes on you may open the door and leave. Please close the door behind you. - 5. To use the Sonoshower, first undress and place all your clothes in the clothes rack. Put on the velcro slippers located in the cabinet immediately below. Enter the shower. On the control panel to your upper right upon entering you will see a "Shower seal" button. Press to activate. A green light will then be illuminated immediately below. On the intensity knob select the desired setting. Now depress the Sonovac activation lever. Bathe normally. - 6. The Sonovac will automatically go off after three minutes unless you activate the "Manual off" over-ride switch by flipping it up. When you are ready to leave, press the blue "Shower seal" release button. The door will open and you may leave. Please remove the velcro slippers and place them in their container. - 7. If the red light above this panel is on, the toilet is in use. When the green light is illuminated you may enter. However, you must carefully follow all instructions when using the facilities during coasting (Zero G) flight. Inside there are three facilities: (1) the Sonowasher, (2) the Sonoshower, (3) the toilet. All three are designed to be used under weightless conditions. Please observe the sequence of operations for each individual facility. - 8. Two modes for Sonowashing your face and hands are available, the "moist-towel" mode and the "Sonovac" ultrasonic cleaner mode. You may select either mode by moving the appropriate lever to the "Activate" position. If you choose the "moist-towel" mode, depress the indicated yellow button and withdraw item. When you have finished, discard the towel in the vacuum dispenser, holding the indicated lever in the "active" position until the green light goes on... showing that the rollers have passed the towel completely into the dispenser. If you desire an additional towel, press the yellow button and repeat the cycle. - 9. If you prefer the "Sonovac" ultrasonic cleaning mode, press the indicated blue button. When the twin panels open, pull forward by rings A & B. For cleaning the hands, use in this position. Set the timer to positions 10, 20, 30 or 40... indicative of the number of seconds required. The knob to the left, just below the blue light, has three settings, low, medium or high. For normal use, the medium setting is suggested. - 10. After these settings have been made, you can activate the device by switching to the "ON" position the clearly marked red switch. If during the washing operation, you wish to change the settings, place the "manual off" over-ride switch in the "OFF" position. you may now make the change and repeat the cycle.
If you consider the relative positions of Bowman when he first arrives in the suite, when he is next standing in the room, when he is in the bathroom, when he is at the table, and when he is in the bed, these points form a star.
Although all advertisements, as well as the soundtrack album and the movie's closing credits, claimed that the film was released in Cinerama, it was not shot in the Cinerama process (three synchronized films that would be shown by three synchronized projectors on a huge, curved screen). All Cinerama films from 1963 on were shot by one camera on 65mm film with a special anamorphic lens that would then project a blown-up image onto the curved screen. This film initially did such poor box office that MGM actually considered pulling it from Cinerama release after completion of a 30-day run. The exhibitors began reporting that audiences were not only increasing, but it was noted that some audience members had come to see the film multiple times. It eventually became one of MGM's biggest hits, yet was the only film to be pulled from Cinerama venues while it was still making a good profit. MGM was anxious to release its completed production Ice Station Zebra (1968).
In the film, the two astronauts are shown from the side during HAL's observation of their secret conversation. Most experts agree that reading lips from the side is very difficult but not totally impossible. It depends on also being able to be in close proximity, see facial cues and having prior knowledge of the subject of the conversation.
The phrase "See you next Wednesday" is heard for the first time during the scene in which Poole receives birthday greetings from his parents. The phrase would become a trademark of director John Landis, who would use it in many of his movies.
The actual "Space Station 5" model, which was about seven feet across, was found a few years after this film was made, discarded in an English field with wild grass growing over its rapidly decaying surface. The model was destroyed by vandals a few days later.
The end music credits do not list a conductor and orchestra for "Also Sprach Zarathustra." Stanley Kubrick wanted the Herbert von Karajan / Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic) version on British Decca for the film's soundtrack, but Decca executives did not want the company's recording supposedly cheapened by association with the movie, and so it gave permission on the condition that the conductor and orchestra were not named. After the movie's successful release, Decca tried to rectify its blunder by re-releasing the recording with an "As-Heard-in-'2001'" flag printed on the album cover. John Culshaw recounts the incident in the book "Putting the Record Straight" (1981). In Decca's haste to rush the re-release the recording, the album was issued with a disfiguring pitch waver at the end of each side. In the meantime, MGM released the official soundtrack album with Karl Böhm's Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlin Philharmonic) "Also Sprach Zarathustra" discreetly substituting for von Karajan's version. The always publicity-minded von Karajan, by then permanent conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, was furious with Decca. Rhino/Atlantic Records' current CD release of the soundtrack purports to restore the von Karajan recording to its proper place.
Filming the special effects shots took 18 months at a cost of $6.5 million (the film's total budget was $10.5 million). Stanley Kubrick was determined to make every effects shot look extremely realistic, something previous science-fiction films rarely bothered to do.
The television interviewer explains that gaps of seven minutes each were edited out of the broadcast as signals raced between Earth and the hugely distant Discovery crew. Given that the resulting interview ran about four minutes and there were 19 such gaps, the interview must have taken about 2 hours 17 minutes to tape, unless the questions and replies were all sent in single bursts and re-edited later.
Stanley Kubrick was initially forced by MGM to have Alex North (who had written the score for Kubrick's Spartacus (1960)) compose an original score for this film. Kubrick, however, always intended to use classical music for the film. He allowed North to score the first half of the film before informing him they planned to use only sound effects for the second half. It wasn't until he was watching the film at its premier in New York that North discovered that his music had not been used. He later reused themes composed for this film in The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968), Shanks (1974) and Dragonslayer (1981). North's original score was unheard for 25 years until composer Jerry Goldsmith re-recorded it for Varese Sarabande in 1993. In 2007, however, Intrada, working with North's estate, released North's personal copies of the 1968 recording sessions on CD.
In the original storyboard sketches, the Discovery was to have deployable solar arrays near the aft end of the ship. They were not carried through to the final design as they would have caused problems with the photographic effects, as well as the fact that in reality solar arrays were, at the time of filming, useless beyond the orbit of Mars.
Rather than using bluescreen, Stanley Kubrick filmed all the model shots against black backgrounds and required the compositing work to be done by a team of British animators painting travelling mattes by hand frame-by-frame to mask out each element. When production ended, most of the animators signed onto Yellow Submarine (1968) in order to work on something colourful after spending two years painting little black blobs.
This film was shot at MGM's Borehamwood Studios next door to where the TV series The Prisoner (1967) was being filmed. "Prisoner" star Patrick McGoohan borrowed some special effects footage of a starry sky for his episode "Chimes of Big Ben". This footage was not used in the broadcast version of the episode but is visible in an early edit that was later released on video.
The film's spaceships were models made from wood, fiberglass, Plexiglas, steel, brass and aluminum. The fine details that forever would change the look of space on the screen were created with heat-forming plastic-cladding, flexible metal foil, wire tubing and thousands of tiny parts taken from hundred of plastic model kits--everything from railroad cars and battleships to airplanes and Gemini spacecraft--bought at a European toy fair. The fine details made it possible for the cameras to get as close to the models as possible with no loss of believability.
The film's depiction of the lunar landscape owes much to the craggy, mountainous terrain that was common in science fiction before the Apollo landings. Nonetheless the film is surprisingly accurate given that the production predated even the Surveyor probes, let alone manned exploration.
To create the facial makeup for the apes, technicians first made a plastic skull substructure with a hinged jaw. After making molds of the actors' faces, the makeup men applied rubber skin to their faces and added hair one strand at a time, as if they were making a wig. Lip movements were achieved by using false teeth and tongues to hide the actors' real mouths. This freed the actors to use their tongues to operate remote controls that moved the lips. Only the actors' eyes were visible, and the masks were made up right to the eyelids.
The only scene from the film not shot in the studio was the "skull-smashing" sequence in which Moonwatcher realizes that he can use a bone as a weapon. That was shot in a field a few hundred yards from the studio on a small platform. This allowed for a low-angled shot with a vast expanse of sky in the background, though it also required a halt in shooting whenever a plane flew overhead. They almost ran out of animal skulls as Stanley Kubrick shot take after take. The final shot of the sequence was finally achieved when Kubrick walked back to the studio tossing bones into the air and filming their flight with a hand-held camera.
Originally Stanley Kubrick had planned to shoot the film in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. After consultant Robert Gaffney convinced the director that Super Panavision (aspect ratio 2.20:1) was a more visceral experience, Kubrick agreed and got MGM to pay for the photographic process. Since shooting a 70mm space film with monaural sound was frowned upon, Kubrick decided to mix the soundtrack in stereo sound.
The first film showing a completely revised (and very short-lived) version of the MGM lion logo, which became prominent, however, as the logo of MGM Records and of the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Magazine "poll" places won by this movie: In 2002, named by "Positif" (France) as #1 in both critics' choice and readers' choice of 50 best films in 1952-2002. In 2007, named by American Film Institute as #15 Greatest Movie of All Time, and #1 on AFI list of the 10 greatest "Sci-Fi" films, June 2008. "Open the pod bay doors, HAL," #78 (out of 100) of AFI's best movie quotes. "Dave, my mind is going, I can feel it," #82 of "The 100 Greatest Movie Lines," Premiere, 2007. A poster was #10 of 25 Best Movie Posters Ever, Premiere Magazine.
The "buttons" that Dave Bowman presses to arm the depressurization sequence of the pod are the valves of the seat portion of a Martin-Baker aircraft ejection seat's personal equipment connector (PEC). The valves sealed the pilot's air services such as oxygen, pressure jerkin, anti-g suit and air ventilation (depending on the specific aircraft requirements) when the seat was not in use. Below the valves can be seen the brass intercom connections. The component seen could possibly have been salvaged from a series 4 seat fitted to an English Electric Lightning.
The proportions of the monolith, as stated in the book, are 1 x 4 x 9 (1 unit deep by 4 units wide by 9 units tall). The proportions of the projected movie on the screen are 2.2 x 1, or 8.8 x 4, which is very close to the proportions of the monolith's largest two faces - 9 x 4. Whether by design or by accident, viewers are essentially watching the film "through" the monolith as if it were laid out horizontally.
While the ape makeup was being designed, computer technicians ran a program to determine how long it would take to make the number of ape costumes they needed. When the program said it would take nine years, they simplified the makeup.
Stanley Kubrick's decision to use classical music for his score would cost him. Contemporary composer György Ligeti sued over the unauthorized use of his music and the cutting of his piece "Adventures."
The movie has many instances of product placement for IBM. The most apparent are the computer panels in the space plane that docks with the space station, the forearm control panel on Dave's spacesuit, and the portable viewing screens on which Dave and Frank watch "The World Tonight."
Although HAL9000 is depicted in the film as an expert chess player, the actual on-set computer was a very weak chess player. This caused much amusement for Stanley Kubrick, himself an expert player, who would routinely beat the primitive automaton, and called it a "bumbling pisswit".
Stanley Kubrick insisted that the artists paint the Earth very pale blue because its albedo is 0.38. Only a few years later, photos from the Apollo missions made everybody realize that this figure is averaged over the pure white clouds and the deep blue oceans. Jupiter and its moons were also intentionally depicted vaguely because of the limitations of ground-based telescopes.
The actors hired to play the apes in the "Dawn of Man" sequence were mostly mimes and dancers, though they also used two baby chimpanzees as the tribe's children. They chose actors with thin arms and legs and narrow hips so that the fur added to make them look like apes wouldn't appear too bulky. Stanley Kubrick's fear was that the body fur might make them look like actors in B-movie gorilla suits.
Most of the effects shots were made during ten- to 12-hour workdays, with some takes lasting hours. Although the crew was large, the only sound audible in the studio during each take was the sound of the Panavision camera's motors and the sound of the motors moving the ships. One technician compared it to driving a tank.
Deleted scenes include details about the daily life on Discovery, additional space walks, astronaut Bowman retrieving a spare part from an octagonal corridor, a number of cuts from the Poole murder sequence including the entire space walk preparation and shots of HAL turning off radio contact with Poole--explaining HAL's response that the radio is "still dead" when Bowman asks him if radio contact has been made--and notably a close-up of Bowman picking up a slipper during his walk in the alien room; the slipper can still be seen behind him in what would have been the next shot in the sequence.
For shots of the spaceships that show people moving through the ships' windows, technicians photographed extras moving, then projected them on the windows with 16mm projectors. This led to one error in the film. The exterior shots of the ship carrying Dr. Floyd to the Moon show other passengers on board, but the interiors reveal that he's alone.
Despite his work earning a BAFTA for Best Cinematography, Geoffrey Unsworth did not enjoy the experience of working with Stanley Kubrick (like several cameramen before him). He told fellow cinematographer Oswald Morris (who had shot Lolita (1962)) that he felt he had no real creative input into the film due to Kubrick's uncompromising control of every aspect of the picture. "He [Kubrick], would give me the set-up and I would go in and light it", he told Morris.
In Chicago, a group of hippies went to the film several times, sitting in the front row until the intermission. Then they would move to the floor in front of the screen to watch the final star ride from the closest possible point.
The four acts of the film, in sequential order, are named thus: 'The Dawn of Man', 'TMA-1', 'Jupiter Mission' and 'Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite'. 'TMA-1' happens to be the only act without its title superimposed in the film.
Stanley Kubrick hired a company that made artificial limbs to produce a long-figured, narrow apelike hand to be operated by remote controls placed within the costume's arms. When this didn't look convincing, it was abandoned at great expense.
It took Stanley Kubrick and his crew months to figure out how to make the pen float during the trip to the Moon. They couldn't come up with a wire fine enough not to show up on film. Finally they taped the pen to a glass plate held in front of the camera. If you look closely, when the stewardess plucks it out of the air, you can actually see her pulling it off the plate.
This was the first film to make extensive use of front projection to provide backgrounds against which the actors worked. Using large transparencies, the crew projected the African landscape on the set for the "Dawn of Man" sequence. The same technique was used for the scenes of the moon landing.
The film originally opened with a ten-minute black-and-white opening sequence featuring interviews with actual scientists, including Freeman Dyson, discussing off-Earth life. Stanley Kubrick removed it after an early screening for MGM executives.
The first design for the monolith was a tetrahedron, but Stanley Kubrick thought that would make people think of pyramids. Next they tried a transparent cube, but it was too hard to keep it from reflecting the camera crew's lights. They tried a Lucite slab, but that didn't look convincing. Finally, they settled on the black slab shown in the film.
Although a narrator was in original drafts of the screenplay, this ended up being the first of Stanley Kubrick's movies (and one of only three, along with The Shining (1980) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999)) to not use spoken narration at some point. Title cards, however, are used to separate sections of the movie (a technique also later used in "The Shining").
Although the memories of many Los Angeles residents insist that this opened at the famous Cinerama Dome on Sunset Blvd., it actually opened at the Warners Cinerama Theater on Hollywood Blvd., and played there for months. It did not play at the Dome for several years.
Floyd's daughter (Vivian Kubrick) has a British accent (apart from the word "party", which she pronounces "parrdy"). This reflects the fact that Stanley Kubrick and his family had lived in Britain since 1961, when Vivian was one year old.
Floyd's daughter (Vivian Kubrick) appears to be under five years old. Since she was born in 1960, this would indicate that her part of the videophone conversation was shot quite early in the production, which began filming in late December 1965, or even prior to it.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Although it's commonly believed that the famous "jump cut" is from the bone being tossed in the air to a ship floating in space, it is in fact not a spaceship, it's a nuclear device circling the earth. So the bone being used as the "first" murder weapon is thrown to the "ultimate" weapon. Originally the "star child" was to detonate this device and all the other devices that were circling the earth. Stanley Kubrick decided against the ending as it was too similar to the end of his previous film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), where nuclear bombs are exploded.
HAL sings "Daisy Bell" (or "A Bicycle Built for Two") as he is shut down. This vaudeville song had already been used as one of the earliest pieces of electronic music, as it was was the first song ever programmed into a computer to be played back using a simulation of speech synthesis. The machine was an IBM 7094 that was located at Bell Labs in 1961. Furthermore, the lyrics include the phrase "I'm half crazy."
Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick disagreed on what HAL's birthday should be. Kubrick wanted HAL to be about the age of a child, so his death would have more emotional impact. Clarke insisted that such an old computer would not be used for an important mission. In the book, HAL's age was four years (12 January 1997), while in the movie it was nine years (12 January 1992). This disagreement resurfaced nearly 30 years later when film critic Roger Ebert held a birthday party for HAL 9000 by screening this film in Urbana, IL, in 1997, the date and place of HAL's birth in the novel (Ebert was also born in Urbana). Clarke and Kubrick were both invited. Clarke accepted his invitation and made an appearance at the festivities via satellite, but Kubrick declined, stating that they missed HAL's birthday in 1992. Another inconsistency in this scene is the name of HAL's first instructor. It is Mr. Langley in this movie but is Dr. Chandra in all other books and movies in this series. Since HAL is saying all this while being shut down, this could be interpreted as a result of memory failure.
One of Stanley Kubricks additions to the screenplay which Arthur C. Clarke did not like was HAL's ability to read the astronauts' lips when they are inside the pod. Years later, he admitted that Kubrick had been right all along, after learning that at the time, computers were being developed with the ability to read lips.
Just like in Arthur C. Clarke's short story 'The Sentinel', the finding of the monolith on the moon would initially be the film's climax. This eventually became the kick-off for the movie's second half. But even during production, the ending of the movie was still under constant revision. Stanley Kubrick initially planned to show extra-terrestrials, but found out that the production's budget was quickly running out. He finally decided that it would be better to not physically show the aliens at all, stating that "you don't show God".
At the end of the film, the only spacesuit that was never used is the blue one. In 2010 (1984), the blue suit is missing its helmet, apparently because the producers thought that Dave used it in this film when disabling HAL. Dave is actually wearing a green helmet, from the green suit which was stowed inside the emergency airlock.
In the sequence in which Bowman recovers Poole's body with the pod, the camera was running at four times normal speed so that the resulting footage would be in slow-motion, giving a slow, "drifting in space" look. That means the soft contact of the pod's arms with Poole's body was actually rather rough, and as a result, the stunt man doubling for Poole was badly bruised by the end of the takes.
According to the film's sequel 2010 (1984), the last received communication of David Bowman was "My god, it's full of stars!" Although this was never actually said in this film, in the novel David Bowman did utter those words before entering the wormhole.
Despite its G-rating, there are five on-screen murders: a man-ape, Frank Poole, and the three hibernating astronauts killed by HAL. The dialogue also includes the words "hell" three times and "damn" twice.
Stanley Kubrick was very well read. It is rumored that the image of the star-child came to him from the "Spirit of the Earth" in Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Prometheus Unbound": "Within the orb itself, Pillowed upon its alabaster arms, Like to a child o'erwearied with sweet toil, On its own folded wings and wavy hair The Spirit of the Earth is laid asleep..."
When filming Dave and Frank's private conversation in the pod, Stanley Kubrick found the scene as scripted to be too long. He asked Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood to instead improvise their lines over several takes.