Thursday, January 10, 2013

Episode Three (2001: A Space Odyssey / The 39 Steps)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stanley Kubrick (screenplay) and Arthur C. Clarke (screenplay and story "The Sentinel")
Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood and William Sylvester

I kept putting it off and putting it off. I was afraid to watch it because I was absolutely convinced that there was no chance it could live up to its reputation and I would be dealt a crushing disappointment. However, this fear was totally groundless. I sincerely doubt that I'll ever truly grasp its full meaning, but by the end was convinced that the only two legitimate scores one could give this film are 10 or 0. Considering the overwhelming feeling of awe I had throughout, it must be 10. The film is visually stunning (Kubrick knew how to capture an image, that's for sure) and has a brilliant selection of classical pieces to accompany the beautiful and iconic imagery. Exploring themes of evolution, technology and man's place in the universe, "2001: A Space Odyssey" is not a film that will leave your mind anytime soon - regardless of whether you find the actual execution enthralling or boring and tedious (both points of view which I can understand).

Score: 10 / 10

The 39 Steps (1935)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Writers: John Buchan (novel), Charles Bennett (adaptation), and Ian Hay (dialogue)
Stars: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll and Lucie Mannheim

It is very difficult to watch this movie while already being quite familiar with Hitchcock's later, and far superior, Hollywood films. Still, it has its share of suspense and humor and it's easy to see this as something of a "prototype" of the superior thrillers that he would make in later years. Honestly, there's nothing here that Hitchcock didn't do much better later on in films like "Saboteur," "North by Northwest," "Foreign Correspondent," etc. Overall this is some lightweight fun, but I'd only call it a "must-watch" for Hitchcock fans who have already made their way through his Hollywood catalog and still crave more.

Score: 5 / 10

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