2001: A Space Odyssey (Second Edition)




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Peer reviewed


Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is widely regarded as one of the best films ever made. This book explores the complex origins of the film, the unique shape it took, and the extraordinary impact it made on audiences in the late 1960s. Based on new research in the Stanley Kubrick Archive at the University of the Arts London, this study challenges many of the widely held assumptions about the film. It argues that 2001 was Kubrick's attempt to counter the deep pessimism of his previous film Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), which culminates in the explosion of a nuclear 'doomsday' device, with a more hopeful vision of humanity's future, facilitated by the intervention of mysterious extra-terrestrial artifacts. The book traces the project's development from the first letter Kubrick wrote soon after the release of Dr. Strangelove to his future collaborator, leading Science Fiction and science writer Arthur C. Clarke, all the way to the dramatic changes Kubrick made to the film shortly before its release by MGM in spring 1968. The book also explores 2001's close links to many of the most successful trends in Hollywood filmmaking across the 1950s and 1960s, and to public debates about the space race and the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. After examining what was described at the time as one of MGM's biggest ever promotional campaigns, the study documents the film's enormous and ever growing success with both critics and audiences across the late 1960s and early 1970s, and its long-term impact on Hollywood’s output of Science Fiction movies This second edition features a new foreword which highlights the contemporary resonances of this classic movie with regards to debates about climate change and nuclear weapons..



Stanley Kubrick, Science Fiction, production history, marketing and reception, box office trends


Krämer, Peter (2020) 2001: A Space Odyssey (Second Edition). London: BFI.


Research Institute

Cinema and Television History Institute (CATHI)