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Publisher's Summary

Regarded as a masterpiece today, 2001: A Space Odyssey received mixed reviews on its 1968 release. Despite the success of Dr. Strangelove, director Stanley Kubrick wasn't yet recognized as a great filmmaker, and 2001 was radically innovative, with little dialogue and no strong central character. Although some leading critics slammed the film as incomprehensible and self-indulgent, the public lined up to see it. 2001's resounding commercial success launched the genre of big-budget science fiction spectaculars. Such directors as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and James Cameron have acknowledged its profound influence. 

Author Michael Benson explains how 2001 was made, telling the story primarily through the two people most responsible for the film, Kubrick and science fiction legend Arthur C. Clarke. Benson interviewed Clarke many times, and has also spoken at length with Kubrick's widow, Christiane; with visual effects supervisor Doug Trumbull; with Dan Richter, who played 2001's leading man-ape; and many others.

©2018 Michael Benson (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A fascinating, detail-rich account of the long slog to make the science-fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey." (Kirkus)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A thorough and deeply enjoyable story about the making of an epic film

Younger people have little idea how impactful the film 2001: A Space Odyssey was when it first came out. It inspired a whole generation of filmmakers, including major names like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and James Cameron. The film is visually sumptuous, employing cutting edge special effects, many of which were pioneered by Stanley Kubrick and his team. This book is a wonderful romp through the making of the epic, revolutionary film. It provides so much wonderful detail about Kubrick's obsessiveness, his attention to factual detail and his often-times tyrannical style of directing. I loved every second of it, and went back right after finishing it to watch the film again. Doing so right after reading the book opened my eyes to many details I had missed the first (and second and third) time around watching it. I confess I even learned a lot more about the plot, which was very confusing to me at times. It's an excellent summer read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Tells you everything you want to know about...

... the making of 2001. It's not my favorite movie (confession: I've never been able to watch it in its entirety), so it was, for me, too much information. But if you loved 2001, this is probably a must listen. It should answer every question you have about the movie. I had a huge problem with the narrator doing dialects. Even if they were good, which they are not (his Carl Sagan sounds nothing like him and I have no idea what his accent for Kubrick's German wife sounded like), it was unnecessary. The narrator should never call attention to himself and by doing accents, he does exactly that. Had he not done so, I'd have given his performance 5 stars.