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30 Interesting And Fascinating Facts About 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction movie produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially based on Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel.” Take a look below for 30 more interesting and fascinating facts about 2001: A Space Odyssey.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey is noted for its scientifically accurate depiction of spaceflight, pioneering special effects, and ambiguous imagery.

2. The movie 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.

3. 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.

4. The production was subcontracted to Kubrick’s production company, and care was taken that the movie would be sufficiently “British” to qualify for subsidy from the Eady Levy.

5. The movie received mixed reactions from critics and audiences upon its released, but gained a cult following and slowly became the highest-grossing North American movie of 1968.

6. The total footage shot was about 200 times the final length of the movie.

7. Stanley Kubrick had several tons of sand imported, washed, and painted for the Moon surface scenes.

8. According to Arthur C. Clarke, Stanley Kubrick wanted to get an insurance policy from Lloyd’s of London to protect himself against losses in the event that extraterrestrial intelligence were discovered before the movie was released. Lloyd’s refused.

9. The carry-on bags belonging to the Russian space scientists with whom Dr. Floyd shares a drink are marked Aeroflot in Cyrillic, which is still today the Russian national airline.

10. The working title was “Voyage Beyond the Stars.” When “Fantastic Voyage” was released, Stanley Kubrick reportedly disliked the movie so much that he didn’t want his movie 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.

11. In the premiere screening of the movie, 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.”

12. 2001: A Space Odyssey was 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 the movie.

13. 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.

14. Stanley Kubrick cut 19 minutes from the movie’s original 158-minute running time after its New York premiere, mostly to speed up the pacing.

15. According to Katharina Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick provided the breathing heard in the space-suits.

16. At the beginning, the prehistorical African landscapes are just photographs, not actual clips.

17. All of the special effects footage had to be printed on the original negatives. Stanley Kubrick thought that using copies of the negatives would harm the visual quality of effects shots.

18. In honor of the book and movie, NASA named a Mars orbiter: 2001 Mars Odyssey. This wasn’t the first time NASA had a connotation with the movie, as the Apollo 13 command module’s callsign was Odyssey during the ill-fated mission.

19. Though almost invisible when watching the movie on a TV screen, the four satellites in the first space sequence have United States, German, French and Chinese markings.

20. HAL 9000 never once says, “Good Morning, Dave,” despite this line being one of his most recognized quotations.

21. There is no dialogue in the first 25 minutes of the movie, nor in the last 23 minutes. With these two lengthy sections and other shorter ones, there are around 88 dialogue-free minutes in the movie.

22. Rock band Pink Floyd was at one point approached to perform music for the movie. However, they turned it down due to other commitments.

23. The main Discovery set was built by aircraft manufacturer Vickers-Armstrong inside a 12 meter by 2 meter drum designed to rotate 5 kilometers per hour. It cost $750,000.

24. The entire movie contains only 205 special effect shots, compared to 350 in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and over 2,200 such shot sin Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.

25. Aside from the movie’s music, no sound is heard in the space sequences. This is because, technically, in space there is no sound.

26. Originally, HAL was to be called Athena and have a female voice.

27. The silverware used at the station and in the Discovery was designed by renowned Danish architect Arne Jacobsen in 1957 and is still available for sale 50 years after first being produced.

28. Stanley Kubrick kept the costume of Moonwatcher.

29. Filming the special effects shots took 18 months at a cost of $6.5 million. Stanley Kubrick was determined to make every effect look extremely realistic, something previous science fiction movies rarely bothered to do.

30. 2001: A Space Odyssey is Christopher Nolan’s favorite movie. Nolan directed Interstellar in 2014, which has multiple similarities to 2001: A Space Odyssey.