Lost footage from 2001: A Space Odyssey found

 Werts 2001-Space-Odyssey
While conducting research for a now-cancelled documentary on the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Warner Brothers found 17 minutes of "lost footage" from the film, perfectly preserved in a Kansas salt mine. According to reports, 2001 sfx supervisor Douglas Trumbull mentioned the footage in a Toronto presentation last week. Apparently, Stanley Kubrick cut out approximately this amount of the film shortly after it was premiered. According to a post in this online forum by someone who was at Trumbull's lecture, those are the scenes that were found in the storage facility. From IMDB:
The film originally premiered at 160 minutes. After the premiere, director 'Stanley Kubrick' removed about 19 minutes' worth of scenes and made a few changes:

• Some shots from the "Dawn of Man" sequence were removed and a new scene was inserted where an ape pauses with the bone it is about to use as a tool. The new scene was a low-angle shot of the monolith, done in order to portray and clarify the connection between the man-ape using the tool and the monolith.
• Some shots of Frank Poole jogging in the centrifuge were removed.
• An entire sequence of several shots in which Dave Bowman searches for the replacement antenna part in storage was removed.
• A scene where HAL severs radio communication between the "Discovery" and Poole's pod before killing him was removed. This scene explains a line that stayed in the film in which Bowman addresses HAL on the subject.
• Some shots of Poole's space walk before he is killed were removed.

"Douglas Trumbull in Toronto" (Eagle Transporter Forum, via @ChrisCarter)

"2001: A Space Odyssey - Alternate versions" (IMDB)


  1. Oh, joy. I can’t wait to see that new footage of Frank Poole jogging in the centrifuge. The forty or so minutes of that from the released version always left me wanting more. Also, that lost footage of Dave searching for the replacement antenna sounds absolutely riveting.

    What I would really like to see is the scene where Bowman says “My god, it’s full of stars!” If it ever existed, this scene has been cut from the American version. I know it’s in the novel and 2010 (not a bad movie).

    2001 is the most boring film I ever liked.

    1. Yeah, 2001 was a major cinematic achievement, but the last thing it needs is more footage. It was long, deliberate, and slow.

    2. I forgot to add: the movie was not based on the book, but rather both were created at the same time and the book was published after the release of the movie. As such, there are some differences between them, some major and some minor. One of the major differences is that the book has the Discovery going to Saturn and its moon Japetus while the movie has them going to Jupiter. 2010, the book, was thus modified to go with the movie’s story line of Jupiter as the destination. The movie 2010 was then based on the book rather than being a separate, parallel development like the 2001 film. I suspect (though I have no evidence of this) that the creators of the movie version of 2010 just liked that line, thinking it added drama, so they used it in the movie.

      I could be entirely wrong – it could be that Bowman says that line in some film cut of 2001 somewhere, but it’s likely that he never said it.

      1. I have a feeling that the line could not have been spoken in the 2001 film because Kubrick and Clarke were ultimately aiming at something different with the monolith.
        My interpretation is that the monolith in the film is a gateway and the main issue is the confrontation with a far superior extraterrestrial civilization; while in the book the monolith is more of a “life-bringer device” as seen in the second film – creating new suns and inhabitable worlds – hence it was full of stars, which is something that doesn’t seem to make sense to me in the context of the “beyond and rebirth sequence” in the Kubrick film.
        Which is all, of course, merely one mans opinion.

        1. That’s a good point, though in the later books Clarke does make the monolith into a more “universal machine,” a sort of physical embodiment of a technology that’s virtually indistinguishable from magic – at least to us humans.

    3. What I would really like to see is the scene where Bowman says “My god, it’s full of stars!” If it ever existed, this scene has been cut from the American version. I know it’s in the novel and 2010 (not a bad movie).

      That line was in the book of 2001 but I doubt Kubrick filmed it. The 2010 movie opens with that line, as kind of a flashback to 2010.

  2. The footage was cut for a reason, probably pacing. Leave it out, or post it online but don’t try to sell me some “Director’s Cut” edition. With the exception of “Eyes Wide Shut”, all of Kubrick’s films were the Director’s cut.

  3. As Frank Poole gets “reanimated” in 3001, did HAL actually kill him? I suppose he was technically dead, but I’ve always thought that being killed meant you were dead dead and not almost dead.

    1. Man, 3001 was so horrendous… can we just forget it ever existed and consider him to have been killed by HAL? I mean, they infect the monolith with a computer virus. A COMPUTER VIRUS! :-(

  4. I’d be interested in seeing the additional footage, but not cut back into the film. I learned my lesson with Apocalypse Now Redux.

  5. To cut more of the spacewalk parts, did Kubrick cut more examples of the primitive “travelling matte” technique?

    Wasn’t 2001 the first movie to use the technique that George Lucas later perfected – with record-playback robot arms holding cameras – in his legendary dogfight scenes?

  6. I’m one of the few living geezers who actually saw the full version — on 2001’s opening day in New York, which, as I’ll never forget, was April 4th, 1968. I saw it again shortly after the cuts were made. They were obvious — and to me, at least, not an improvement.

    The first time HAL opens the pod bay doors, and the pod launches, we see the whole sequence in what seems like real time — very slow and stately. In the original cut, the subsequent pod scenes were handled the same way. I’m sure the repetition got a lot of criticism, and made that an easy target for cutting. I thought it was audacious and brilliant, and that it added to the suspense and tragedy when Dave goes out to rescue Frank’s body, and has to deal with the same slow procedure.

    Other cuts were not so obvious, though HAL’s cutting of Frank’s radio was another one that would have been better left in.

    Getting back to 1968: I left the theatre in the psychedelic trance that 2001 (especially on the big screen) can invoke… Walked out into Times Square, and felt like I was in a dream state — it was eerily silent, shockingly different from the usual bustle of voices and cars. Down into the subway, also weirdly still. Then I saw somebody’s copy of the New York Post, with a giant black EXTRA headline. Martin Luther King had just been shot in Memphis, and the news had broken during the couple of hours I was in space.

  7. Why has the documentary on 2001 been cancelled? Perhaps, the additional footage should simply be included in the documentary, not in the original film. I am curious what it is like.

  8. The biggest improvement in the film would not be adding in a few minutes of extra jogging, but putting it back on a giant curved Cinerama screen designed for 70mm prints. That’s how old guys like woid and I first saw it, and younger people who don’t have access to theaters like that are deprived of an extraordinary viewing experience. We watch it by projecting blu-ray onto a 100″ screen and sitting real close, but it just isn’t the same thing.

    1. Yeah! Screw Imax and it’s flat screen 3:4 aspect ratio.

      Bring back my Cinerama with a curved screen so deep the first few rows of seats were entirely within the curve.

  9. I saw this as a child the week it premiered. I was living in Mass, and my stepdad braved a blizzard to drive to the theatre. I remember some early man scenes I’ve not seen since then.

  10. what if some intrepid editor were to make radical 40 minutes cut of the film? i might actually stay awake through that.

    (especially, please cut the solarised upside-down mountains on acid. they’re just embarrasing.)

  11. From what I heard the original extended “jogging in the centrifuge” scene was designed to give the audience an authentic sense of how mind-numbingly boring space travel is. It worked fabulously well.

  12. I like how any discussion of this film inevitably includes contributions from people who exhibit their short attention spans as evidence that the script is of low quality.

  13. I seem to remember reading in Agel’s book “The Making of Kubrick’s 2001” that a computer game scene was cut as well and that Parker Brother’s was to manufacture the game as a movie tie-in. Can anyone add to this?


  14. Despite peoples warnings about this footage being cut for a good reason, if this leads to 2001 being re-release on the big screen it would be the GREATEST CINEMATIC EVENT EVAR!!! I’ve never seen it on a truly big screen.

    Also, haters gonna hate.

  15. I, too, saw 2001 opening night, and for the first time in my life, I went back and saw the film a second time within its first week. I liked the dawn of man sequence, and grew tired of Dave’s seemingly enless run around and around. The second week the film showed, I took a date who had expressed an interest in seeing the film.

    I immediately noticed the cut in the dawn of man sequence… a part was missing which I had enjoyed. The outer space ballet with the ship docking at the space station seemed significantly shorter, and the time that space travel took now appeared nearly instantaneous. The jogging was way (way) shorter… I did not miss how long it was, but I remembered visual details revealed during that jogging about the sleeping crew members which made their later deaths seem less important than the first two viewings.

    My main gripe about the film is the landing of the spherical ship on the moon: watching the computer monitor screens in both the moon control room and on the controls of the ship, the graphics show the ship landing over and over and over, unsycronized to the actual landing we view. I notice it (and noticed it) every time I see this scene and am annoyed by this flaw.

    Kubrick wanted to give a feeling of the time it takes to get anywhere and to decide to do anything. The first cut showed us that. It was my understanding (and I may have been misled) that theater owners and managers wanted the film to be shorter to allow them to show it one more time each day and that’s why the film was cut by nearly 20 minutes. I liked most of those 20 minutes and would enjoy seeing a restored version.

  16. There’s probably one film every generation that only works in its own moment. For people who don’t remember the ’60s, “2001” is slow and pretty boring and doesn’t actually make any sense. Yeah yeah, Clarke explained everything in the book but the story doesn’t work on the screen, and it’s mostly alien hocus pocus that nobody would care about anyway.

    But at the time it blew everybody’s minds because absolutely nothing like it had ever been on film before.

    I got a taste of the other side when my G.F. and I watched “Tron” again, the first one, with her nine-year-old in the room. Nine-year-old was singularly not impressed with “Tron.” And I realized there was absolutely no reason she should be.

  17. Good dance tune sampling “My God…” throughout: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC9O32R1BZY

    The comment in the release notes about a cut scene “explaining” a line that occurs later – anyone ever noticed this line and been troubled by it? I doubt it.
    It’s like the irritating need to explain or address every little detail in prequels or sequels – The Thing prequel is doing it, and the book Blade Runner 2 did it as well. Just because you tick all the boxes, doesn’t mean the story will be interesting.

  18. I too was one of the lucky ones to see the original film on the big screen. I have always been bothered by the cut of one scene that explains the line “My God, it’s full of stars!”. It’s been many years but I swear that the scene they cut was Bowman in the pod attempting to land on one end of the monolith, and as he gets close, it opens! He looks in and sees that it is “full of stars” just before he gets pulled into it and the psychedelic stuff starts. In the final cut the psychedelic stuff starts in space. Does anyone else remember this?

  19. The reason Dave Bowman doesn’t say “My God, it’s full of stars!” in the film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is because it’s a ridiculous line that would have completely ruined the atmosphere of awe that Stanley Kubrick so brilliantly created.

    I haven’t read Arthur C. Clarke’s books but I have seen ‘2010’ and I think it is an puerile piece of rubbish. If (as another commenter has said) Clarke changed the monolith’s location Saturn’s orbit to Jupiter’s in order for his book to follow the film, this illustrates the extent to which he dwells in Kubrick’s shadow.

    I’m no huge fan of Stanley Kubrick but ‘2001’ is the greatest film I have ever seen, and I seriously doubt I will ever have to revise that statement.

  20. Great Post thank you,
    thought you might enjoy my machinima film on Kubric’s Monolith

    Best Wishes ~

  21. There are several misconceptions about “2001” expressed in the comments above, which I feel compelled to correct (btw, I was one of those who saw the film in its first week of release, at the old Loew’s Capitol in New York City, when I was fourteen. so, I did see the full-length version, but remember the cut material only vaguely).

    Firstly: “2001” was shot in 65mm non-anamorphic SuperPanavision. While the film and advertising for the film say “Cinerama,” this acknowledges ONLY that the Cinerama Corporation had invested money in the film’s production. The film was NOT shot in the Cinerama process, and is NOT meant to be projected on a curved screen.

    Secondly: It wasn’t Arthur Clarke’s decision to change the Discovery’s destination to Jupiter. Kubrick’s special effects team was having a hard enough time depicting Jupiter realistically; they realized that creating a believable Saturn would be like doing Jupiter (both planets are gas-giants and resemble each other) PLUS RINGS, which they concluded was beyond the limits of what conventional special effects, circa 1967, could achieve. So, it became Jupiter.

    Thirdly: Hardly any traveling mattes were used in “2001,” which is why its effects are considered as groundbreaking as they were.

    Fourthly: Yes, “2001” was the very first film to utilize motion-control for special effects, allowing multiple passes to be made on the same piece of film to build effects elements one by one on the original negative.

    Fifthly: The REAL reason Bowman doesn’t exclaim “My God, it’s full of stars!” is that in the movie THE AUDIENCE CAN SEE WHAT HAPPENS FOR THEMSELVES. It’s a movie. It’s a KUBRICK movie. Literary conventions do not apply.

    Lastly: I read what you’ve all written and it confirms my conviction that even “2001”‘s most ardent admirers still DON’T UNDERSTAND IT. You nibble around the edges but, of what’s at the movie’s heart “its origin and purpose [are] still a total mystery” (to quote Dr Heywood Floyd).

    One more thing: If Warner Bros., the current owner of “2001,” wants to restore the lost footage to the film, they’re going to need permission from the Kubrick Estate, since the director insisted on iron-clad contracts regarding the presentation of his films.

    I really do hope it comes to pass, particularly because the current Warner Home Video Blu-ray of the film is a travesty as far as the color is concerned. No one there seems to have had any idea as to what the film is supposed to look like, resulting in a transfer that is consistently a ghastly shade of green.

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