Director Stanley Kubrick wanted a transparent monolith for 2001: A Space Odyssey. He asked a UK plastics company to cast one from clear acrylic, but he didn't like the way it looked in a screen test. Instead, he used a monolith made of wood and painted black.
According to Amusing Planet, the unused acrylic monolith [sat unused] in a warehouse for a number of years until an artist acquired it to make a carving for the Queen of England.
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The rejected Monolith sat in the Boreham Wood film studios for several years, gathering dust, until famed Slovak-born, London-based sculptor Arthur Fleischmann acquired it. Fleischmann, who pioneered the use of acrylic in sculpture, had received a commission to make glittering crown sculpture for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 1977. At two tons, it was the largest block of acrylic ever cast. For three months, Fleischmann patiently chiseled away at the block inside a polythene tent near St. Katherine's Docks, in London. In June the same year, the Queen herself unveiled the sculpture.
The recycled prop has been on public display ever since at St Katherine Docks.
“I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
Douglas Rain, the actor who performed the voice of the computer Hal 9000 in Stanley Kubrick's film '2001: A Space Odyssey,' has died. He was 90 years old. Read the rest
Hallmark's got a 50th Anniversary HAL 9000 Christmas ornament... with light and sound!
The latest result in machine intelligence, the HAL 9000—thought to be the most reliable computer ever made and incapable of error—served as the brain and central nervous system for the Discovery One ship's ill-fated mission to Jupiter. Fans of "2001: A Space Odyssey" will want to bring home this special Christmas ornament that celebrates 50 years of the science-fiction masterpiece. Press the button to see the ornament light up as HAL says several memorable phrases.
Side note: reviewers can't decide if it's actually Douglas Rain voicing HAL or not (you can listen to a sample of HAL's ornament voice via the video on the product's page.):
Elizabeth: "I do believe these quotes on this ornament are the original Hal ... I played it against my lap top computer from the movie clips to compare. The difference is the speaker on the ornament is not great quality so it makes the sound of his voice a little off but the quotes are said the same way... I wish they would have added a few more fun quotes from the movie I like mine and glad bought it."
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Matt: Matt: "I just received this ornament today in the mail. The voice being used is not Douglas Rain's (Hal from the movies). This is not a minor issue for a product sold as "HAL 9000 50th Anniversary Ornament With Light and Sound." The use of another voice actor should have been disclosed as part of the product's description on this page.
A rare 1980 clip of Stanley Kubrick talking on the phone about the ending of 2001 has surfaced by way of a Reddit thread. A piece on the Esquire website explains:
...In a bizarre video, which has appeared on Reddit this week, the director seems to provide a very simple and clear explanation of the 2001: A Space Odyssey ending. It comes from a Japanese paranormal documentary from TV personality Jun'ichi Yaio made during the filming of The Shining. The documentary was never released, but footage was sold on eBay in 2016 and conveniently appeared online this week timed with the movie's 50th anniversary.
Here is the transcript of Kubrick's comments:
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I’ve tried to avoid doing this ever since the picture came out. When you just say the ideas they sound foolish, whereas if they’re dramatized one feels it, but I’ll try.
The idea was supposed to be that he is taken in by god-like entities, creatures of pure energy and intelligence with no shape or form. They put him in what I suppose you could describe as a human zoo to study him, and his whole life passes from that point on in that room. And he has no sense of time. It just seems to happen as it does in the film.
They choose this room, which is a very inaccurate replica of French architecture (deliberately so, inaccurate) because one was suggesting that they had some idea of something that he might think was pretty, but wasn’t quite sure.
You'll either love or hate this cut of 2001: A Space Odyssey set to Tame Impala's song "Eventually." No middle ground. Read the rest
“Holy crap! It's a monolith!” After my recent bookworm-o-gasm over Taschen's new William Blake book, I didn't think I'd be having another dreamy out-of-box book experience anytime soon, but I was wrong. The venerable art book publishers outdo themselves again with their just released The Making of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The book was designed by the highly regarded Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag, together known as M/M (Paris). The duo has created a truly one-of-a-kind experience here, an artifact in book form that's worthy of the iconic artifactuality (Is that a word?) of the source material. (Did I mention: It's a monolith!)
The book is 6.9” wide, stands 15” tall, and is covered in a lovely light-absorbing (and dust attracting) matte black stock. The book slides out of a glossy 4-sided wrap which contains the full-color cover art and back cover copy. Sliding the thick black slab from the sleeve, you're confronted by four sigil-like icons, representing stages of a Stargate journey, deep-embossed into the black cover board. The title on the spine is in black foil. Black on black. Lovely.
The cover opens portfolio-style (i.e. the cover spine is not glued to the bound pages inside). The cover and spine fold down flat, creating a kind of stage for unfolding the rest of the book. And stage is the right word, because that's what this books feels like: A performance. Many things feel different from a traditional book. Since the pages are so narrow, there are dozens of fold outs, in 2-panel, 3-panel, and 4-panel spreads. Read the rest