20th Century Movie of the Week

2001-A_Space_Odyssey-19682001: A Space Odyssey is an epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was released into UK cinemas on May 13, 1968. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was inspired by Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel”. A novel also called 2001: A Space Odyssey, written concurrently with the screenplay, was published soon after the film was released. The film, which follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer HAL after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith affecting human evolution, deals with themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and the existence of extraterrestrial life. It is noted for its scientifically accurate depiction of spaceflight, pioneering special effects, and ambiguous imagery. It uses sound and minimal dialogue in place of traditional cinematic and narrative techniques, and its soundtrack is famous for its inclusion of a number of pieces of classical music, among them Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II, and works by contemporaneous composers Aram Khachaturian and György Ligeti.

2001: A Space Odyssey was financed and distributed by American studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but it was filmed and edited almost entirely in England, where Kubrick lived, using the facilities of MGM-British Studios and Shepperton Studios. 2001: A Space Odyssey received mixed reactions from critics and audiences upon its release, but garnered a cult following. It was nominated for four Academy Awards; Kubrick received one for his direction of visual effects. A sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, was released in 1984.

Today, 2001: A Space Odyssey is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential films ever made. In 1991, it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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