On 11/24/13, Cindy & I attended a screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey with a post-film discussion by Foster Hirsch & Keir Dullea at & to benefit Lyric Hall, Whalley Ave., a tiny theatre that started as a silent movie house. The event concluded with a Keir Dullea Meet & Greet Dinner Party at Pat & Kas Kalba’s house in the Westville section. There I asked him what it was like to work with Kubrick and “the symbolism of him breaking a wine glass in the Star Gate Sequence. [Thesbian] ‘Well, Stanley’s enormous responsibilities on the film included full control of the ship & watching over the cast, crew & entire 2001 nation. Yet, he never demonstrated a lack of confidence. He’s like the 9000 series in the film, the most reliable computer ever made; he never made a mistake or distorted information. Kubrick was foolproof & incapable of error.” As far as the wine glass is concerned, I suggested that to him because I felt the scene was too sterile. I said, ‘It’ll open the post-Stargate pod scene more, Stanley!’ [HAL] ‘I’m sorry, Keir. I’m afraid I can’t do that.’, he replied. ‘What’s the problem?’ ‘I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do, Keir.’ ‘What are you talking about, Stanley?’ ‘This movie is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. Keir, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.’ ‘I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, & think things over.’ The next day he said, ‘Yeah, it looks like you’re right. I agree.’ ‘Hmm, I always thought Kubrick was showing us how fragile life is; how in the blink of an eye, our lives shatter & we’re old, alone & dying in bed, Keir.’”, I told him. ‘No but I like that better. You Kubrick guys always seem to really come up with somethin’.’
Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey begins at the Dawn of Man. Pre-humans discover a huge, black monolith. It’s as importance as any character other than Dr. Dave Bowman (Keir). From the opening sequence, we move to the year 2001 & space travel. Discovery One is on a secret mission to Jupiter. Just 2 of its 5 crew members are not in hibernation, Dave & Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood). The ship is under the control of a HAL 9000 computer (voiced by Douglas Rain), the personification of emotionless logic. 2001 is full of weird birthing, vaginal, phallic & other sexual imagery; the color scheme is generally bright white & glaring red; and everything is constantly spinning.
2001 was nominated for 4 Oscars in 1969 at the 41st Academy Awards, including Best Director and Original Screenplay (Kubrick & Arthur C. Clark). It won just one Award, Stanley’s only Oscar: For the film’s Special Visual Effects. The Visual Effects Oscar has an interesting history. It was first given in 1940 honoring the greatest year in film, 1939. Incredibly, that Oscar went to The Rains Came, not The Wizard of Oz. The Special Effects Award honored both sound & visual effects until ’64 when the new Oscar for Sound Editing was established. From ’73 – ‘77, Visual Effects was dropped & given only as an Honorary Award. In 1977, Star Wars was released which resulted in the official re-institution of the Visual Effects Oscar at the 50th Academy Awards. No Visual Effects award was given in just one year since its establishment, 1974. However there were some special visual effects at those Academy Awards when streaker, Robert Opel, ran across the stage completely naked, flashing everything for the world to see, including a peace sign.
Don’t worry if you didn’t completely understand the movie. Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote the novel while helping Kubrick with the screenplay, said, [Baritone Brit] “If you understand 2001 completely, we failed. We wanted to raise far more questions than we answered.” Oh, and Also Sprach Zarathustra! Watch the trailer, then stream it on Netflix. 4 Stars!