2001: A Space Odyssey was on TCM last night until the wee hours (2 am EST). Now, I must have seen this cinematic epic -- one of my favorite films -- at least a hundred times, beginning in 1968 when I saw it in Cinerama in Boston upon its first release, followed by a couple of times on acid in local theatres in New Haven in the '70s. Once, in 1996, in a punk club in Ebisu Tokyo (known as The Milk Bar, appropriately enough for all you Stanley Kubrick fans), where it screened on a TV monitor in the basement, but with a totally improvised new electronic noise soundtrack replacing the audio. Once this film hit home video and then DVD, fuhgettaboutit -- I've played music to the Stargate sequence myself over the years as part of my "Monsters from the Id" project.


Compare and contrast the picture of Keir Dullea as old Dave Bowman in the Regency bedroom of his, or It's, mind at the end of the film, right before he transitions into the Starchild with this photo of cadaverous vampiric Max Schreck as Count Orlock in F. W. Murnau's 1922 Nosferatu


Kubrick knew the history of cinema backward and forward and what he was doing here. This makes sense if you read Arthur C. Clarke's novelization of the film, in which the Starchild detonates an orbiting nuclear warhead to create a false dawn on Earth where the Cold War is still raging ("Russia, are you listening?" -- D.J. Trump).

Kubrick, sensing a Bridge Too Far here, cut that bit out of his film so that there is instead an almost upbeat mystical-religioso ending ("And a young child shall lead them") as the Starchild hovers benignly over Planet Earth.

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