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The Ultimate Trip: Stanley Kubrick's Space Odyssey

Cultural historian and writer Christopher Frayling explores the lasting influence of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke's 1968 science fiction masterpiece.

Cultural historian and writer Christopher Frayling explores the lasting influence of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke's 1968 science fiction masterpiece.

2001: A Space Odyssey was released into the world in April 1968. Puzzling, infuriating, inspiring and thrilling, it captivated audiences at the time and, fifty years on, continues to exert a powerful effect on our thinking about the present and the future.

This remarkable movie was the result of a synthesis of two very different visions. Based on his own short story The Sentinel, it was written by British author Arthur C Clarke - a futurist of uncanny ability. The director was Stanley Kubrick - an American working in the UK, whose previous works included the swords and sandals epic Spartacus and savage nuclear satire Dr Strangelove.

Marketed at the time as The Ultimate Trip, 2001 became an essential experience for younger audiences - many of whom went to see it multiple times, and sometimes in an enhanced state of consciousness. But alongside its wildly psychedelic visions, 2001 also presented an extraordinarily convincing and intricate vision of the future of space travel.

Christopher Frayling travels back in time to the creation of 2001, hearing how organisations like NASA and IBM were enlisted to help Kubrick craft his vision. And he speaks to scientists, critics and filmmakers to examine the film's enduring influence on science, design and popular culture.

Interviewees:
Maggie Aderin-Pocock, space scientist
Piers Bizony, science journalist
Victoria Broackes, Senior Curator, V&A Museum
Catherine Constable, Professor of Film Studies, Warwick University
John Landis, film director
Christopher Nolan, film director
Georgina Orgill, Stanley Kubrick Archivist, University of the Arts London.

Producer: Jane Long
A Hidden Flack production for BBC Radio 4.

Available now

57 minutes