The Golden Age of Hollywood

In 1968, when Stanley Kubrick's masterwork 2001: A Space Odyssey was released, I was 11 and my grandfather was 55. The pre-release hype on the film had been so big that he took me to the Tampa premiere of the film. He and I had never been to a film together before, but he thought this would be a culturally significant event and he didn't want me to miss it.

When we emerged from the theater after viewing the film, I distinctly remember the two of us looking at each other with expressions of "What the hell was that?" I'm sure it was the last Kubrick film he ever saw, but for me it was the beginning of a journey of exploration.

I'm 53 now and I'd guess I've seen the film 20 times since its release, each time comprehending a little bit more of what Kubrick was saying. It's been a slow, hard road, but well worth the investment of time and mental energy. Now, as I've, somewhat, come to piece the puzzle of the film together, one of the things I love most about it is that 2001 leaves so many questions unanswered.

It's been a mind blower for 40 years and I see no reason it will stop being a mind blower anytime soon.

So thanks, Granddad. I know you didn't have much fun that summer afternoon back in 1968, but you achieved your primary goal: getting me started early on exploring this historic film.

Readers who recognized the reference in this post's title will know this little taste I'm throwin' in above. But realistically, this is a film you have to study as a whole to get what it has to give. And it has plenty to give.

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Comment by Paco Malo on November 18, 2010 at 7:31pm
Correction: "... where are they gonna get Mom Mabley ..."
Comment by Paco Malo on November 18, 2010 at 7:13pm
MothGirl Wings and Rosie: You go girls!

Abdullah: The Cincinnati Kid, "not up to modern standards"? Where are the gonna Moms Mabley and the Preservation Hall Band, Ray Charles to do the theme, Norman Jewison to direct, Ring Lardner, Jr. back from the blacklist to co-write the script, McQueen at his peak, Edward G. Robinson, Carl Malden, Ann-Margaret, Joan Blondell, Tuesday Weld, Rip Torn, Cab Callaway, and a smoke filled room in the Quarter to play a depression era marathon 5 card stud match -- where you gonna get that today? Nowhere, no way! Cincinnati Kid rocks.
Comment by Rosie Sayer on November 18, 2010 at 2:51pm
MothGirlWings, I love your comment: 'Want to be a snarky jaded hipster? Stay home and do it there!' I totally agree. In my personal experience, it's hard to get people who aren't classic film fans to give an old movie its proper attention. Even if they claim to be interested, most people seem to get an uncontrollable urge to strike up a conversation about something in the movie while it's playing, and they talk over the dialogue that I'm trying to listen to. I wish they'd just pay attention to the movie and talk about it later!
Speaking of explosions, my ex can't stay awake through a movie unless it has plenty of explosions, car chases, etc. My classic films would put him to sleep within 10 minutes.
Comment by Abdullah aka Chuck on November 18, 2010 at 12:26pm
I have a friend whose favorite movie was The Cincinatti Kid. I saw copies for cheap so I picked up a couple and gave him one.He told me later,acting suprised, that it was still a good movie..just not up to today's standards! People can be so goofy about classics films. I suppose His Girl Friday would benefit from explosions and gross humor. Yeeesh!!!
Comment by Paco Malo on November 18, 2010 at 10:27am
"His Girl Friday" is a film that truly warrants repeated viewings. I'm still joyfully studying the rapid fire dialogue.

MothGirl Wings, if you do find it necessary to take out a snarky jaded hipster at the New Beverly, we'll start a legal defense fund for you here at GAOH. "Justifiable homicide," I say.
Comment by MothGirl Wings on November 17, 2010 at 11:05pm
Oh, and so glad you got to enjoy "His Girl Friday" on the big screen - that movie is so timeless and moves at such a lightning fast clip, you almost have to see it more than one time to catch all the quips and one liners.
Comment by MothGirl Wings on November 17, 2010 at 11:02pm
I love "A Boy And His Dog" and also saw it with Mr Ellison in attendance, but it was last year here in Los Angeles. The man is out of his mind, but in the most entertaining of ways - I think of all the speakers/guests that have ever appeared at The New Beverly Cinema, he has to be the longest speaker ever, and is still an angry young man at a not so young age - truly an original and just as fiery as ever.
The one drawback to seeing films on the big screen these days is that there can sometimes be some people who need to be taken out and shot, in my opinion, who find older films campy and fodder to be laughed at. That doesn't happen too often at the New Beverly, but it can and sometimes does, and it literally makes me homicidal. Want to be a snarky jaded hipster? Stay home and do it there!
Comment by Paco Malo on November 15, 2010 at 5:33pm
A Boy and His Dog with Ellison -- cool, dude, cool.
Comment by Abdullah aka Chuck on November 15, 2010 at 5:00pm
While I've never been a huge fan of 2001( enjoyable experience, but very over-rated IMHO) I did want to share an experience from 1976.the first comic/sci-fi convention I ever went to was in Kent Ohio at Kent State University. A member of the convention staff had a killer film collection, and we were lucky enough to go into the full-sized University theater throughout and watch classic films.King Kong uncut( which at the time was heavily edited for television) Invader from Mars, A Boy And His Dog( with guest of honor Harlan Ellison as the host) and great black and white Max Fleischer Popeye cartoons were all incredible to behold on the big screen.The audience full of college kids cheering as Popeye ate his spinach and hairs grew on his chest is something I will never forget!
Comment by Paco Malo on November 15, 2010 at 1:42pm
MothGirl Wings, I completely agree on both points. For 2001, leave the peyote at home.

Also, films that should be seen on the big screen is an excellent discussion topic. Another angle on this is seeing a film with a full audience and enjoying the crowd's reaction to a film. I saw His Girl Friday at our local 20's movie palace this summer and it was fascinating to follow which jokes and scenes the audience laughed at.

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