Almost 55 years ago, legendary director Stanley Kubrick created the space opera 2001: A Space Odyssey. Many adjectives can be attached to a masterpiece: luxurious, visionary and far ahead of its time. The Blue Danube Waltz also plays a significant role in the 1968 sci-fi movie.
Vienna. Can’t talk about dust. Anyone who still watches Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction opera “2001: A Space Odyssey” knows that even after more than 50 years, the film is still full of innovative ideas. It begins with the stylistic devices that the legendary American director (1928-1999) was able to skillfully use.
The director thought up many of these stylistic devices himself and they are still taught in film schools today. Just take the “bone-throwing scene” at the beginning of the movie. A prehistoric man throws a triumphant bone into the sky, which becomes a spaceship after one of the most famous pieces in cinema history.
Waltz in space
When it came to using film music, Kubrick also set entirely new standards for his time. The sunrise in the opening sequence to the grandiose sounds of Richard Strauss’s “Too Sprach Zarathustra” was a conscious decision by the director against the near-completed work of the film’s composer Alex North.
Because—as Kubrick explained in an interview at the time—why should he use freshly written, lower-quality music when there was already a selection of great orchestral music?
A reference to Vienna can also be found in the music for the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The aforementioned spaceship floats through space in an unforgettable spectacle to the sounds of King Johann Strauss’ Waltz “On the Beautiful Blue Danube”.
The movie was released a year before the moon landing
Due to the strong presence of the music, the sunrise and the spaceship dancing in three to four times are among the most famous scenes in cinema history, which will find many imitators in the decades that followed.
“2001: A Space Odyssey” is about the beginnings of humanity and a mysterious monolith that helps them in the next stage of evolution and accompanies them in the distant future.
But it’s also about the collective longing to leave the cradle of humanity – Earth – behind and travel to the stars. A dream that humanity takes a “big step” into the real world one year after the film’s release: On April 21, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon.
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