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2001: A Space Odyssey is fifty

 
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MessagePosté le: Ven 11 Mai - 08:13 (2018)    Sujet du message: 2001: A Space Odyssey is fifty Répondre en citant





May 10, 2018

2001: A Space Odyssey is fifty

“An epic drama of adventure and exploration”

Stanley Kubrick’s remarkable 2001: A Space Odyssey was released in the UK on May 10, 1968.

Here’s an edited excerpt from Wikipedia for those unfamiliar with the plot:

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    2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel". The film, which follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer HAL after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith affecting human evolution, deals with themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and the existence of extraterrestrial life. It is noted for its scientifically accurate depiction of spaceflight, pioneering special effects, and ambiguous imagery.

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A 21-year-old David Bowie was so impressed by it that it became the inspiration for his first hit single the following year, Space Oddity.

Suggestions of mind-altering substances taken to enhance viewer appreciation of some of the more psychedelic scenes, weren’t exactly discouraged by one of the myriad posters produced to promote the film, running with the tagline: “the ultimate trip”.

Here Bowie explains to Bill DeMain of Performing Songwriter in 2003 that his own viewing experience may have been tweaked somewhat...

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    BD: How did “Space Oddity” come about?

    BOWIE: In England, it was always presumed that it was written about the space landing, because it kind of came to prominence around the same time. But it actually wasn’t. It was written because of going to see the film 2001, which I found amazing. I was out of my gourd anyway, I was very stoned when I went to see it, several times, and it was really a revelation to me. It got the song flowing.

    It was picked up by the British television and used as the background music for the landing itself. I’m sure they really weren’t listening to the lyric at all (laughs). It wasn’t a pleasant thing to juxtapose against a moon landing. Of course, I was overjoyed that they did. Obviously some BBC official said, “Oh, right then, that space song, Major Tom, blah blah blah, that’ll be great.” “Um, but he gets stranded in space, sir.” Nobody had the heart to tell the producer that (laughs).

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The song introduced the character of Major Tom, revisited in Ashes To Ashes and the David Bowie featuring Pet Shop Boys version of Hallo Spaceboy. The film’s influence was also apparent in the videos for Jump They Say and Blackstar.

Today’s 'lyric quotation' is actually the tagline for another of the 2001: A Space Odyssey posters (see montage), but it could easily be a description of Bowie’s own career.

FOOTNOTE: The image of Dave at the top of our montage is from a scene where he is disabling the all-controlling and murderous on-board computer, HAL, by removing his memory banks.

As HAL shuts down one of the final piece of dialogue goes thus:

    HAL: My instructor was Mr Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it, I can sing it for you.

    Dave: Yes, I’d like to hear it HAL, sing it for me.

To bring things full circle, The Langley Schools Music Project recorded a version of Space Oddity in 1976. The tapes were found and finally issued 25 years later in, you guessed it, 2001!

Bowie said this version of Space Oddity was "a piece of art that I couldn’t have conceived of", describing the vocals as "earnest if lugubrious" and the backing arrangement as "astounding".

Make up your own mind here.

#BowieSpaceOddity

davidbowie.com


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