17 Minutes of Lost Footage from '2001: A Space Odyssey' Found!
Back in September, our Indie Trailer Sunday feature called attention to Beyond the Infinite: The Making of a Masterpiece, a documentary on Stanley Kubrick's classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the hands of Douglas Trumball, effects supervisor on the iconic film, and David Larson, the doc was exploring "not just the technical story but the human story, the personal story, the experiences of people who interacted with Kubrick that is really true to the style and look of 2001: A Space Odyssey." But while the doc has since been canceled, the two learned Warner Bros has discovered 17-minutes of cut footage that was presumed lost.
In a long chain of discovery, The Film Stage learned this info from Blastr, who translated an article from Forgotten Silver reporting on the documentary duo whilst speaking at a special screening of a 70mm print of 2001: A Space Odyssey (did you get all that?). In addition, they've hypothesized that much of the footage is what ended up on the cutting room floor after the initial 160-minute running time from the 1968 premiere was reduced by 19-minutes later on. IMDb says some of the cut footage includes "a scene where HAL severs radio communication between the Discovery and Poole's pod before killing him," plus "an entire sequence of several shots in which Dave Bowman searches for the replacement antenna part in storage was removed."
However, just because this footage has been unearthed, doesn't mean it will ever be available to the general public. Still it's interesting to learn that this footage that was presumed lost forever has now been discovered still "perfectly preserved." In Toronto, Trumball and Larson showed images from the never-before-seen footage which will apparently be included in a behind-the-scenes photo book that is being put together in place of the halted production. We're not yet sure when the book will be released (but we already want one).
This discovery is most certainly exciting, but it also raises some concerns with using the new footage. For example, would this footage be used by Warner Bros to craft an extended cut of 2001: A Space Odyssey for yet another dip into the home video market? And if this footage was cut from the film (apparently because Kubrick thought the various scenes created pacing issues), is this going to be quality footage that will excite fans, or just another weak DVD supplement-style collection of footage best left on Kubrick's cutting-room floor. Surely plenty of hardcore Kubrick fans would love to check out these lost deleted scenes, but I'm also willing to bet many of them find the sci-fi masterpiece perfect in its current form. What do you think?