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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

50th Anniversary of "2001: A Space Odyssey"

Above, astronaut Dave Bowman (Keir Dullea) faces The Monolith at the end of the movie.

Since this month marks the 50th anniversary of the release of 2001: A Space Odyssey (it actually premiered in Washington, D.C. on April 2, 1968), I popped in my DVD of the movie this evening.

I first saw 2001 in June 1968 as a "graduation present" from junior high from my parents. We went to see it in Hollywood at the Hollywood Pacific Theatre (formerly known as the Warner Hollywood Theatre before 1968). In those days, taking in a movie in Hollywood was an occasion for dressing up.

We sat in the balcony of the theater and when the opening shot of the sun and planets in conjunction was shown, I felt a tiny bit dizzy. The movie was presented in Super Panavision 70 (a 70 mm format), although it was advertised as being shown in Cinerama (the three-projector process). I've seen two movies in true Cinerama: The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm and How The West Was Won.

At the time, when the movie ended and people were leaving the theater, we overheard many saying that they didn't understand it. It was my feeling at the time as well. It wasn't until I read the book (by Arthur C. Clarke) a year later that I understood the movie.

2001: A Space Odyssey still dazzles fifty years later, especially the "stargate" sequence near the end of the movie. I did manage to recognize the "Totem Pole" rock formation in Monument Valley during that sequence. Many "stoners" in those days liked to view 2001 with some "chemical help".

It is to be re-released next month.

According to the New York Times:
An unrestored 70mm print of Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece "2001: A Space Odyssey" is coming to select U.S. theaters in May in celebration of the film's 50th anniversary. 

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