40 Years of 2001: A Space Odyssey!
The late Stanley Kubrick’s legendary science fiction epic had its world premiere on April 2, 1968 at the Uptown Theater in Washington, D.C. and was released to the general public just four days later in 70mm format. By the fall of 1968, it was released in 35mm anamorphic format and advertised as Cinerama in movie theaters equipped with special projection optics and a widely-curved movie screen. Although it received mixed reviews upon its release, it is today regarded by audiences and critics as one of the greatest motion pictures ever made.
For myself, it has been my favorite film since high school back in the early ‘80s. Ironically, I hated it the first time I ever watched it. Having grown up with the action and speed of “Star Wars” and “Battlestar Galactica”, this seemingly slow, intelligent sci-fi story with very little dialogue and existing classical musical played out for me like a very cruel joke. Sometime later, when it was broadcasted on television, I gave it another look…and another, and another, until finally, I started to see the genius of it. For me, the rest is history.
Here are some more film facts that might interest you:
- It won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
- In 1980, it was only the second film released on VHS by MGM/CBS Home Video after “The Wizard of Oz”
- In 1991, it was deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.
- Critic Pauline Kael called it a “monumentally unimaginative movie” (????).
- It was number #22 on AFI’s “100 Years…100 Movies” list and was recently bumped up to number #15 for the 10th Anniversary Edition of that list.
- Among its many theatrical re-releases since 1968, it played an exclusive engagement at New York City’s former Loews Astor Plaza in December 2001.
At this time, I have no information regarding a 40th Anniversary theatrical re-release. If anyone does have this info, please let us all know.
To Stanley Kubrick, who was my favorite director of all time (still is), I say a heartfelt thank you for 2001 and all that you gave us throughout your career.