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2001: A Space Odyssey lost footage found

2001ASpaceOdyssey.jpgIt sounds like the next generation of lost footage films, perhaps a documentary about Stanley Kubrick's classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey and the revelation of some found footage that turns the story on its head, explains it perhaps, or changes the entire subtext of the film.

It doesn't do that though and this is a real life story, although the discovery has come from a documentary about the film that never ended up getting made, the found footage apparently exists and runs for about seventeen minutes.

Of course this does raise the age old question about working on a film after the director's death, or even the reworking of a film by anyone other than the original director. In the case of the latter it happens all the time, and although the former happens less often, it does.

Usually we see it happening when cutting room footage is discovered for a film and re-inserted to make a pre-edit version of the film, and this really began life as the true Director's Cut, where we saw the director being allowed to release his version of the film after the studio had seen their version released. Often the director would have been made to cut certain sections from his film in order to make it more accessible, commercial, or just fit in with the studio's views, and when it came to DVD release the studio allowed them the time to create their original vision. After all it sold more copies then.

Since then though it has become more of a scrabble to find edited footage and put it back into the film, after all the audience has latched on to the idea of the Director's Cut and if there's spare footage around why not throw it back in and get a second release of a film to fans under that revenue earning heading.

In a lot of cases these days we see the director releasing the version of the film that he wanted and just discover a version on DVD with added footage in the film that wasn't in the cinema. Not sold as a Director's Cut at all, just as a film with the footage dropped on the editing floor put back in.

Although it's not ideal, it's still done with the director around, or one would hope, but a number of times now we've heard of an older film having footage “restored” that wasn't in the film when the director first released it, no one can know for sure but it usually means they edited it out before releasing it, so why does someone else who has nothing to do with their original work have the right to put it back in and release it?

A very good question, and one that will be asked about the supposed found seventeen minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

According to Forgotten Silver, Blastr and The Film Stage, who are all involved in the story chain, Douglas Trumbull and David Larson were at a film event in Toronto and talked about working on the documentary 2001: Beyond the Infinite: The Making of a Masterpiece, which has since been cancelled, and revealed the footage that had been found in perfect condition. They said that the footage was brand new and that an upcoming photo book was going to contain shots from this footage.

Looking at IMDB /Film discovered the story of a lost nineteen minutes of the film. The story is that the première in Kansas actually ran to one hundred and sixty minutes and Stanley Kubrick removed some nineteen minutes after that showing, and that includes...

Oh before I leap in, should I say that this contains spoilers if you haven't seen the film?

Some shots from the “Dawn of Man” sequence and a new scene was inserted where an ape pauses with the bone it is about to use as a tool. The new scene was a low-angle shot of the monolith, done in order to portray and clarify the connection between the man-ape using the tool and the monolith. Some shots of Frank Poole jogging in the centrifuge. An entire sequence of several shots in which Dave Bowman searches for the replacement antenna part in storage. A scene where HAL severs radio communication between the “Discovery” and Poole’s pod before killing him. This scene explains a line that stayed in the film in which Bowman addresses HAL on the subject. Some shots of Poole’s space walk before he is killed.

It does sound interesting, but not Earth, or space, shattering, and one wonders if there would be a need to see this edited into the film. I could see the studio delivering a new Blu-ray with the added footage, and perhaps one of those new modes of viewing the film where it inter-cuts the new sections and shows you what it would have looked like before it's cut. Actually writing about that does make the idea sound rather interesting.

The question is, is it right? Should it be clearly sold as something that the director didn't want us to see and is far from a Director's Cut? Should these type of films be clearly sold as a Studio Cut? Should they even be sold at all and at the most the footage offered as deleted scenes on a new release?



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