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I saw the original Cinerama curved-screen roadshow at the Summit Theatre in Detroit…… April 1968. After the film ended, my parents walked out of theatre saying: “What the hell was that we just saw?”. Meanwhile, I’m walking out of the theatre with a huge smile on my face as if I had just seen God. It was a moment I’ll never forget.
That was almost exactly my response as I and my friends exited the Cinerama theatre in Louisville. It’s as if you the viewer have also taken an evolutionary leap. For those of us who were open to it, it was a life-changing event.
What makes “2001” unique among not just science-fiction movies but movies in general is that Kubrick the filmmaker chipped away all the intellectualized answers Clarke wrote into the book, like the narration, humanoid alien in the “Dawn of Man” sequence, etc. The result is a movie that can be watched on a purely visceral level. Any interaction between humans and a vastly more ancient intelligence is likely to be puzzling, perhaps even inexplicable. Somehow, with 1960’s technology, Kubrick manages to get this across on the screen by showing us, not telling us. It’s a great achievement of story telling, in my opinion. Best enjoyed in a theater in 70mm release!
The Hollywood Theatre in Portland recently acquired a 70mm print of the film thanks to donations from its membership and others. The cost was $25,000. They regularly schedule “2001” to sold-out audiences. I’m looking forward to experiencing it again in a venue other than television!