Most of Stanley Kubrick’s more revered and well-known flicks haven't received The Criterion Collection treatment. Only a handful of his early efforts have received the brand’s refurbishing and restoration (among them “Paths of Glory,” “Spartacus,” and “The Killing”). However, fans of Kubrick’s — as well as committed savants of outdated A/V analog technology — may remember that his magnum opus, “2001: A Space Odyssey,” did once upon a time get the Criterion treatment… on Laserdisc. Well, Kubrick nerds, your day has come. What we have here is a juicy bit of behind the scenes goodness that will appease any die-hard fan of the director, one that’s ripped straight from the Extras section of the film’s Laserdisc release.
The video begins with the ever-magisterial Arthur C. Clarke, author of the source material, at the L.E.M., or Lunar Excursion Module. Clarke goes on to explain the shared objectives that brought him to work with Kubrick, as well as his hope “… to convey to the audience the wonder, beauty and promise… of the new age of exploration”. Clearly, Clark and Kubrick understood that they weren’t simply making another large-scale science fiction epic, but also a terrifying and prescient glimpse into what the future of our earth and its people may hold. Faithful Clarke readers will be thrilled to discover that the video eventually gets into the kind of dense, far-out-there territory that the author has made a career on (alien moons, far-off solar systems, etc.) but aside from the more celestially-inclined theories, this video should be catnip to any “2001” fan. And to think that’s what home video extras used to look like!
Take what Neil Young calls a “journey through the past” and check out some of the extras from the “2001” Laserdisc right here.