My 47-year Odyssey with "2OO1"
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|Written by: Edward Oines, Canton, SD, USA||Date: 03.10.2015|
|"Star Wars" director George Lucas speaks of "2OO1: A Space Odyssey": "Stanley Kubrick made the ultimate science fiction movie, and it is going to be very hard for someone to come along and make a better movie, as far as I'm concerned. On a technical level, it can be compared, but personally I think that "2OO1" is far superior"|
I first saw '2OO1' as a not quite 14 year old in January 1969. It was being shown at the smallest theater in Sioux Falls, SD, and was leaving in 2 days, and I had to convince my mother to let my then 18 year old brother to take me on a school night. My memories were mainly of being struck by how realistic everything looked, when compared to Star Trek. I was hooked, That summer I read the novel and went to see it at a larger theater, and even though the print was badly scratched, I enjoyed it and hoped to see it again. In December of 1972 M-G-M ran their "Fabulous Four" between Thanksgiving and Christmas, consisting of '2OO1' 'Ryan's Daughter', 'Gone with the Wind' and 'Dr Zhivago'. New prints were struck, so I saw it 5 times in that week. On a screen more than twice as big as the first theater, and fell even more deeply in love. I insisted on taking my parents, as I was now 17, and they were just as mystified as Piers Bizony's were. I remember the last time I went going in a half hour early, so that I could see 'the ultimate trip' twice.
|More in 70mm reading:|
Stanley Kubrick's "2OO1: A Space Odyssey" in Super Panavision 70
PDF: "2OO1" review, 1975
|Edward Oines' original review of "2OO1" from 1975|
Click to see enlargement
In the fall of 1974 I was sophomore in college M-G-M decided to make a full re-release of "2OO1" in 35mm & 70mm, and my studies suffered as I spent hours perusing all of the box office results in Variety at the school library. I sent letters to the Cooper Theatre in Minneapolis, MN and the Indian Hills Theatre in Omaha (both formerly Cinerama) trying to convince them to show the film. The Cooper agreed, and my best friend Collin and I drove 5 hours to Minneapolis the day after Thanksgiving 1974, sat thru the movie 2 times from the front row, and drove home with stars in our eyes. The 70mm print was perfect. I later wrote the Cooper asking to buy one of the 'Star-Child' posters they had on display, and they gave both of them to me! One of them is hanging in my basement.
When I returned to school after Christmas I found out that the local theatre was showing the film for a week, so I was inspired to write a review for the college newspaper, which I had never done anything of the kind before, and they printed it! I lost the clipping over the years, but went back to the school about 10 years ago and they were able to retrieve it from the microfilm archives.
In the summer of 1976 a Sioux Falls theatre ran '2OO1' as a "Midnight Special" and I smuggled a personal cassette recorder in, and as there were only about 10 of us there, and I successfully made a cassette recording of the complete soundtrack, only losing time for flipping and switching tapes. That was the last time I saw the movie projected until 2008. I bought a VHS recorder in 1979, and spent $50 for 2 blank cassettes to record the film when it played on HBO in SP speed and played them over and over. All of the subsequent re-releases never came to Sioux Falls and I never knew when it occasionally played in Minneapolis until after it had left.
|Advertisement from the Minneapolis paper with the date|
My father passed in August of 2008 after 3 years of suffering with Alzheimer's, and left each of us 3 kids a small inheritance, and I used some of it to drive 3 hours to Omaha, NE, to fly to Los Angeles to see '2OO1' in 70mm for the first time since 1974 at the Cinerama Dome in September. The print was from 2002 and was charitably given a 'B-plus' grade by management, I think to try to justify the $14.00 ticket price. The print was scratched a bit but it was great to see it again with a full 800-seat house on a 32' X 86' screen, and the sound was wonderful. I subsequently satisfied my cravings with a 40" HDTV and a Blu-ray player, watched in the dark from a distance of 4 feet. As you can imagine, my wife and son think I am quite daft.
In January 2013 the nearby Cinemark/Century multiplex showed '2OO1' for one day and one night screening on a Tuesday and although it was only a 90 seat house the screen was as wide as the theater, and a twenty foot screen is far larger than my (now 50 inch) HDTV, with my bored wife beside me at the matinee and my equally bored son & his wife at the evening screening. The film looked wonderful in 2K digital, and my family made me wish I had gone alone by forcing me to leave before 'The Blue Danube' was finished after the credits ran.
This past June I saw '2OO1' for the 21st & 22nd times at the renovated and restored Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis, MN, on a 40 foot screen, and was disappointed I could only see it on Friday and Saturday at midnight, but crowds were good and management asked me to remind them to run it again in 2016.
I found on eBay a '2OO1' theatre poster from 1978 where George Lucas is quoted as saying the film is "far superior" to Star Wars and am trying to convince a nearby independent 2nd run multiplex to borrow my poster for a month to generate interest and then have a weekend screening in November, to cash in on the "Episode VII" hysteria. Wish me luck!
Just wanted to let you know that on Sunday, April 3 and Wednesday, April 6, '2001' will have a late afternoon screening in over 130 Cinemark/Century Theatres in the US. Since it is not 'in70mm' you may not wish to put it on the website, but I am doing everything I can think of to get at least 100 people or more to go to the screenings in nearby Sioux Falls, SD, so that we could see it once a year instead of every 3 years.
Best regards, Edward
June 30 at an unnamed 70mm cinema in Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota. First 2 minutes ruined by projectionist not raising curtain until 'MGM' logo screen appeared, so shot of Earth rising over the Moon and Sun rising over the Earth were projected onto the curtain; was not gone until opening credits started.
The print looked like a 70mm print that was 50 years old but had been stored perfectly. Sound was loud and clear, best part of the screening. Seemed to me that projected image was too dark, and it was not dark enough in the theatre itself. Static shots wiggled a bit, and there was the occasional brief defect. Had this screening been in the year 2001, however, l would have been delighted and stayed to see it twice. It was all good though, as l became aware of the screening in April by in70mm.com, so l was the first to buy a ticket, and was willing to drive 5 hours one way to attend the screening, which impressed the manager so much, that he gave me one of their 'Special 70mm Presentation' movie posters.
A 25-ish woman who sat next to me, (in Minneapolis), told me she had only seen bits of the film on TV and all her friends said it was 'boring' but she wanted to find out for herself. She occasionally asked me a question, but the best thing was when the title card for the 3rd act came up, l leaned over and said,
"That's why Buzz Lightyear says, "To Infinity, and Beyond!"!"
She thought that was soooooo cool! In July, l drove 3 hours south to Omaha, NE to see the Ultra 4K IMAX version of "2OO1". Much better than the 70mm, but was still to me, too dark. However, the screen filled my field of vision, contrast was greatly improved, as l could see many more stars than the 70mm print. There was zero 'motion blur' when the moon bus crossed he screen left to right, and l could, for the first time, read 'TelePad' below the IBM logo on the lower right corner of Poole and Bowman's tablets, as they watched themselves get interviewed by the BBC. The spacewalks were very good, and the trip was fantastic! l debated whether to stay and watch it a second time, but driving at night at the age of 63 is not something l do not care to do for more than 30 minutes, let alone 3 hours. l would, however, make a 2nd road trip this summer to see the 4K IMAX version again. l now have seen "2OO1" projected 30 times. Pretty good for only seeing it on home video between 1976 and 2008. All the best, Edward
All the best,
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