Were there any other comments by fans?

[Yes, many. Here are three. This first is from Frederic Lyman]: 

           *                *              *               *

Few films ask us to think. Since 2001 did, I felt obliged to let you 
know that I tried to.

I am told that C.G. Jung found dreams to develop in four acts:

     - Introduction 
     - The plot thickens
     - Crisis
     - Resolution

2001 is a story structured like a dream.

The four acts are announced not by raising and lowering of a curtain 
but by the appearance four times of knowledge, embodied as a Duranodic 
slab, like the apple tree of Genesis a phallic symbol, the phallus 
being the instrument of primary creation, as is knowledge that of 
intellectual creation:

INTRODUCTION - the first appearance of knowledge and the first result; 
the first tool, a weapon, followed by the entire history of man most 
beautifully pictured as that weapon (tool) rising to the grandeur of a 

THE PLOT THICKENS - an overeducated doctor is congratulated on a 
completely innocuous speech, and he, in turn, congratulates his 
colleagues on a discovery which took no more initiative than a dog 
discovering a bone. Knowledge is turned against them. It deafens them. 
It overwhelms them. So, to discover its origins, they send a ship, 
captained by a man of humility, calm under pressure, an artist; in 
short, a hero. Knowledge on board in the form of a computer tries to 
thwart him. We are not told until the computer is expurgated that it 
alone knew the purpose of the mission.

CRISIS - the hero (der Held) arrives at the point of discovery. As we 
see from the expression on his face, it is a more terrifying experience 
than his bout with the computer, for, as we discover in the final...

RESOLUTION - the discovery is not of some strange new world but of 
himself; the wisdom of age is his rebirth.

But whose dream is it? Yours, of course, but I think you asked yourself 
if you were so much different from the rest of us and you decided that 
you were not and so you made a film.

     Frederic P. Lyman
     Malibu, California

Mr. Kubrick responded:

     Thank you for your fascinating note. You are very
     perceptive, indeed.

[Next, a comment from Truman Brewster]:

Stanley Kubrick is telling us that man's intelligence is a toolmaking 
intelligence, and that tools take precedence over man. (Even language, 
which has been considered our highest achievement, is a tool. It is not 
accidental that there are only forty-three minutes of non-dialogue in 
this three-hour movie. As we become more and more involved with 
electronic technology and gadgetry, there will be less and less 
involvement with language, at least language as we know it.) As to the 
question of what we are doing with this tool-making intelligence, it 
would seem Kubrick is telling us we are getting nowhere fast. (I 
happened to see this movie in Manhattan Island, which is an old, dirty, 
broken-down tool where the poor people, who allow it, go in circles and 
dehumanize themselves.)

Kubrick has given us a big, expensive, spectacular joke, and also 
something of a tragedy, in which man's intelligence, potentially great, 
is up to nothing.

Kubrick's dissolve from the tool-bone thrown in the sky to a space 
station in 2001 is not beside the point. Thousands of years of human 
history were skipped, as if man has not been up to anything except 
finally making these giant space tools. (IBM will also do away with 
human history, and humanity may be dismissed in favor of junk.) Not 
only history, but what happened to language? There is none in the 
movie. Are we being told language is not important? Perhaps it is not. 
Most people I know use it only for rudimentary forms of communication, 
such as "Where is the bathroom?" "I love you," but my cat is just as 
effective in communicating in spite of his speechlessness. It is said 
we use language to educate and carry on traditions, but much education 
is only information, and our traditions are invariably on collision 
courses. We get propaganda and polemics rather than reasoning. A verbal 
man such as Stanley Kauffmann has programmed himself to be a reviewer, 
and, though he has a good movie to verbalize about, he only cranks out 
a non-review in which he is hung upon words such as amusing and dull. 
Except for a few poets who have thrilled us, a few novelists and 
essayists who may have told us something about our conditions, and a 
handful of philosophers who have looked into the errors of our forms of 
knowledge, and versifiers who write the likes of "Daisy, Daisy" to 
please us, we really have not put language to much use.

Kubrick's fine 2001 seems to be telling us all this. At the end of it, 
after the mission (our mission) has failed utterly, we see a large, 
white fetus returning to view the Earth, its oversized eyes almost 
angelic. How glad we are to be back -- and as a little child. Could it 
be the best thing we have going for us is our infant intelligence, 
which wonders at the sights, sounds, and touch of the world? We are as 
children. For us, there may be nothing else.

     Truman Brewster
     Los Angeles


[Finally, a letter from Stephen Grosscup]:

Ten years ago -- when I was sixteen and just beginning to discover the 
rather splendid world of "serious" music -- a friend of mine came 
dashing into my house with a record album and demanded that I " . . . 
listen to this!" Patiently, but firmly, I explained to my friend that I 
was going out soon and could not possibly listen to the entire album. 
Too late. My friend had placed his record on my turntable and was 
adjusting the volume on my amplifier. I heard the low, ominous rumbling 
-- the sudden, intensely dramatic pronouncement of a horn -- the utter 
exaltation that is the opening of Richard Strauss' THUS SPAKE 

Ten days ago I was with that same friend and we were listening to that 
same opening -- but this time it was music with sight added -- a vision 
as brilliant as the music -- and twice as elative.

I must confess to a feeling of something akin to intimidation -- to 
think that these words might be read by the man responsible for 2001: A 
SPACE ODYSSEY. I have been an avid and intelligent devotee of motion 
pictures for almost twenty years -- I started early -- and I must admit 
that after leaving the theater showing 2001 I had the definite 
impression that for the first time in my life I had truly seen a 
"motion picture." I think that perhaps a hundred years from now people 
will look back upon those of us who were able to see 2001 with the same 
awe and envy that I experience when I think of the people who were able 
to see the first performance of Wagner's RING or Mahler's THIRD 

In short -- I thought 2001 was magnificent. I thought that the 
implications of 2001 were monumental.

I found 2001 to be your most optimistic film to date. With the 
exception of LOLITA, I have enjoyed all of your previous films 
immensely. It would be difficult to pick my favorite among THE KILLING, 
PATHS OF GLORY, and SPARTACUS. DR. STRANGELOVE was very depressing -- 
almost as depressing as 2001 was elative. In pondering your films, I 
find that SPARTACUS was the least stylistic. In fact, in light of 2001, 
SPARTACUS becomes somewhat of an enigma, SPARTACUS seems an almost 
average picture from a man who makes above-average films. However, its 
"averageness" did not prevent me from seeing it six times. I am 
speaking of style, because 2001 was so completely stylistic -- that is 
to say, it is the only motion picture ever made that so utterly bears 
the mark of a single man -- of a single mind. Every other motion 
picture can lead to the speculations -- "I wonder what it would have 
been like if . . . David Lean . . . or William Wyler . . . or . . . 
Robert Wise had directed it?" That sort of speculation is impossible -- 
and unthinkable -- with 2001. It is a film of incredible and 
irrevocable splendor. Now, on to the implications. For one thing, 2001 
has -- as no other film ever has -- elevated the artistic potentiality 
of motion pictures to a hitherto undreamed-of level. In a sense, you 
have not only said "It can be done!" . . . you have "done it!" 2001 
does not mark the growth of the art of the cinema; it is the birth of 
the cinema. People can honestly say that they have never seen anything 
like it -- simply because there never has been anything like 2001. Ah, 
but you must know that much better than I! 

The major implication inherent in 2001 takes place within the first 
ninety (?) seconds. Had I not already thought of this implication, I 
would quite probably now be confined in a rest home suffering from an 
"elation-caused insanity." About 18 months ago I had an idea. I was 
thinking about the potentiality of home videotape recorders. It seemed 
to me that when the day came when HVTRs were available to the general 
public that there would be a lucrative market for prerecorded 
videotapes, in much the same way that records and prerecorded 
stereophonic tapes constitute a lucrative market today. I then thought 
of the possibilities for the content of these prerecorded VTs. Starting 
with rock-and-roll, I worked my way up to absolute music. "What if," I 
thought, "someone wanted to 'see' Beethoven's Ninth Symphony?" Would 
you show them an orchestra and chorus? Or what? Then I thought: "What 
if someone 'filmed music'?" Then I thought: "What if I filmed music?" 
To make a long story shorter, I then proceeded to read a number of 
books on photography, buy a small, almost ludicrous super-8mm camera, 
and put my abstract idea into concrete form. I went out and "filmed" 
the third movement of Gustav Mahler's Seventh Symphony. It worked! It 
worked beautifully. I was fully aware that I was a rank amateur using a 
primitive camera that did not even have reflex viewing, and yet upon 
viewing the final results -- about five hours' cutting time was 
required on my little Sears, Roebuck & Co. editor -- I knew beyond any 
doubt that it worked. Until seeing 2001 I had always thought of filming 
music in terms of objects existing "naturally" in reality. But it is 
doubtful that ever in my own lifetime will I be able to "shoot" a 
natural scene involving three planets. I knew instantly that you had 
too much reverence for Richard Strauss to tamper with the score which 
meant that you had to put the film to the music -- and you did -- three 

I have since done a great deal of thinking -- and preparing -- about 
"filmed" music. I have gone so far as to envision a day when there will 
exist a new kind of artist who is both composer and photographer and 
who will bring about a new form of art. But that day, I think, is a 
long way off, but maybe by the year 2001 . . .

I am currently directing my thinking and my mental and financial 
resources toward the production of several complete symphonies. If I 
succeed, you will no doubt hear of -- or from -- me. I would like to 
succeed if for no other reason than to pay you back for 2001 -- to 
cause you as much elation with my creativeness as you have caused me 
with yours.

Finally, I would like to comment on some of the aspects of 2001. My 
favorite scene is the discovering of the "tool" by the simian. It is 
the most heroic sequence I have ever encountered. Just the scene alone 
would have been brilliant -- but to show the scene with the music of 
Strauss was the proverbial "frosting" on the cinematic cake. Also, the 
changing of the "tool" into a spaceship was brilliant. I was 
particularly taken with the entire opening sequence -- from the glowing 
eyes of the tiger (?) to that haunting night sequence when the ape-men 
crowd together for warmth and for the atavistic sense of security such 
bodily contact must have represented. However, the most devastating 
part of that scene was the close-up of the eyes -- those human, 
frightened eyes realizing even then that their security was a 
collective illusion and that the night was fraught with individual 

I found the obelisk -- slab, or whatever -- to be a masterstroke of a 
leitmotif -- especially with Ligeti's voices. And the shots of the 
obelisk and the sun were hauntingly powerful. The space sequences were, 
of course, exquisite. After the show, some friends and I debated the 
"why" of your use of the Strauss waltz. I advanced the theory that 
several centuries ago three-quarter time was referred to as "perfect 
time," and that you thought this best described the motion of the 
universe and man-made objects attempting to imitate and/or conquer that 
universe. Your incredible sense of humor was particularly noticeable a 
number of times, but especially in two scenes. In the opening, when one 
of the simians looks full-face at the camera and growls, and in HAL's 
rather laconic comment, "I know I've made a number of poor decisions 
recently . . ." Too much!

At the end of the motion picture, when your name appeared on the 
screen, I broke into wild applause. The rest of the audience finally 
caught on, but I must say I was rather disappointed in them. Did they 
think the film just came into existence? I hope by my applause I made 
them aware that for the last three hours they had been watching the 
work of a brilliant man possessing a brilliant mind. I am led to 
believe that perhaps a number of people don't deserve to see 2001. But 
that is a moral issue I shan't go into at this time.

In conclusion, Mr. Kubrick, I thank you for reading my letter and -- 
for ever and ever -- I thank you for making 2001. I believe that art is 
a psychological necessity for man -- a provider of emotional fuel and 
mental food. And 2001 has appeared at a time when most artists are 
poisoning their audiences with anti-art and anti-heroes.

I would not be at all afraid to state that with 2001 you may have quite 
possibly saved any number of spiritual and physical lives. For it is 
within the power of a film such as yours to give people a reason to go 
on living -- to give them the courage to go on living. For 2001 implies 
much more than just an artistic revelation. On a philosophical level, 
it implies that if man is capable of this, he is capable of anything -- 
anything rational and heroic and glorious and good. Think of how many 
men and women might very possibly thrust off the shackles of the 
monotonous stagnation of their day-to-day existence -- how many might 
strive to reach goals they thought impossible before -- how many might 
find elation and pleasure hitherto denied them by their own lack of 
courage. How can man now be content to consider the trivial and 
mundane, when you have shown them a world full of stars, a world beyond 
the infinite?

     Stephen Grosscup
     Santa Monica, California

Mr. Kubrick responded:

     Your letter of 4th May was overwhelming. What can I say in reply?

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