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Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece
— —
Michael Benson
Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece by Michael Benson at Abbey's Bookshop,

Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece

Michael Benson


Simon & Schuster

Film, TV & Radio;
Film theory & criticism;
Individual film directors, film-makers


512 pages

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Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the film's release, this is the definitive story of the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, acclaimed today as one of the greatest films ever made, including the inside account of how director Stanley Kubrick and writer Arthur C. Clarke created this cinematic masterpiece.

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.

A colorful nonfiction narrative packed with memorable characters and remarkable incidents, Space Odyssey provides a 360-degree view of this extraordinary work, tracking the film from Kubrick and Clarke's first meeting in New York in 1964 through its UK production from 1965-1968, during which some of the most complex sets ever made were merged with visual effects so innovative that they scarcely seem dated today. A concluding chapter examines the film's legacy as it grew into it current justifiably exalted status.

By:   Michael Benson
Imprint:   Simon & Schuster
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 38mm
Weight:   705g
ISBN:   9781501163937
ISBN 10:   1501163930
Pages:   512
Publication Date:   May 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Writer/photographer/filmmaker Benson provides a highly detailed, comprehensive account of the 1968 film. . . . And methodically documents how Kubrick drew inspiration from a range of sources to adapt for the screen. By the end, [he] makes a compelling case that 2001: A Space Odyssey is both uniquely Kubrick's film and utterly original. * Library Journal (starred review) * Benson's book is fascinating, every page startles, and it's a much-needed and comprehensive history of the making of 2001. -- A.S. Hamrah * Bookforum * Kubrick's risk-taking is the through-line of Michael Benson's Space Odyssey, an omnivorously curious account of how the movie came to be. . . . An enlightening and entertaining narrative rich in both pointed anecdotes and lucid technical expositions. -- Geoffrey O'Brien * The Wall Street Journal * If Kubrick's masterpiece was a remarkable voyage into the future, Michael Benson's book is a delightful voyage back in time. For those of us inspired by the film, this book provides a delicious peek into landmark collaboration of two creative geniuses and the lasting gift they provided for all of us. -- Lawrence M. Krauss, Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration, Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, and author of The Physics of Star Trek, A Universe from Nothing, and The Greatest Story Ever Told.. So Far A fascinating, detail-rich account of the long slog to make the science-fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. . . . [An] endlessly interesting narrative. Essential for students of film history, to say nothing of Kubrick's most successful movie. * Kirkus Reviews (starred review) * Rich, readable. . . . Benson is an avid researcher . . . he delivers expert inside stuff. -- David Thomson * The San Francisco Chronicle * [This] thoroughly researched, multivoiced narrative should become essential reading for anyone wanting to penetrate the mysteries that continue to swirl around this work and its creator. . . . Without trying to be a biography, it also grants us much insight into the enigmatic director of one of the most compelling science fiction visions in the history of the cinema. -- J.P. Telotte * Science * Despite the attention Benson lavishes on the humans-Kubrick and Clarke-HAL-9000 would have been proud of this smart, fluent, and meticulously researched account of the making of a sci-fi classic. -- Peter Biskind, author of Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood A HAL of a good story. -- Sloane Crosley * Vanity Fair * Enlightening. . . . A solid companion piece to a sci-fi classic, both for newbies trying to figure out the movie's existential questions and longtime HAL lovers who want to know everything about two guys and their grand movie mission. -- Brian Truitt * USA Today * Michael Benson's Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke and the Making of a Masterpiece is a masterpiece about a masterpiece-a passionately written, impeccably researched book about a great director's pushing himself, his cast and crew beyond safety or sanity in a relentless quest for a non-verbal vision of the transcendent future of both space and film itself. -- Scott Eyman, author of John Wayne: The Life and Legend and Hank and Jim: The Fifty-Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart A deep, informative and entertaining dive into the making of the movie. -- Dennis Overbye * The New York Times * Scores of books and videos about '2001' and its director have appeared over the half-century since its premiere, yet it would be difficult to envision anything offering the abundance of telling anecdotes, technical detail and keen insight that fills Benson's Space Odyssey. -- Douglass K. Daniel * Associated Press * [An] engrossing, immersive examination of the long path to Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's masterpiece. . . . The pair's fraught but hugely successful relationship forms the backdrop of this astonishing tale of obsessive genius at work. -- Ben Dickinson * The New York Times Book Review * A detailed and often thrilling account of one intense, unforgettable collaboration. It's a tremendous explication of a tremendous film. . . . Breathtaking. -- Sibbie O'Sullivan * Washington Post * Over the years, so much has been written about 2001 and its creation that I thought we knew all that there was to know. And then, I received a copy of Michael Benson's lively, exciting and exhaustively researched book, which further expands our understanding of what is truly one of the greatest films ever made. -- Martin Scorsese At last! The dense, intense, detailed, and authoritative saga of the making of the greatest motion picture I've ever seen, 2001: A Space Odyssey. I now have reason to see Kubrick's `proverbial really good science fiction movie' another 200 times. Michael Benson has done the Cosmos a great service. -- Tom Hanks

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