Bizony, Piers


Bizony, Piers
(1959– )
   Piers Bizony, still awestruck decades after first having seen Kubrick’s space epic at the age of nine in rural Sussex, England in 1968, wrote 2001: Filming the Future, a lavishly illustrated, beautifully produced book, published in 2000 in a revised second edition by Aurum Press Ltd. , London. He became obsessed with the futuristic vision of this film and its grand topic, the exploration of both outer and inner space. Thirty years later Bizony is eager to demonstrate that the visual design of the film is still impressive and innovative. He wrote the book in cooperation with ARTHUR C. CLARKE, who wrote the source story for the film. Bizony claims that “until the 1960s, SCIENCE FICTION films had been part of the ‘B’ movie stockin-trade,” despite some notable exceptions Bizony ignores, such as Destination Moon (1951), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and Forbidden Planet (1955), which, respectively, introduced Oscar-winning special effects, a cautionary cold war allegory about the nuclear arms race, and a Shakespearean allegory (loosely adapting The Tempest) to the genre. Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke reinvented science-fiction cinema by looking ahead to the new frontier of space after the initial optimism of space travel expressed during the Kennedy administration: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to the goal, before this decade is out,” President Kennedy said in May 1961,“of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth. ” Bizony quotes that speech in his book to show that excitement was literally in the air. By the early 1960s the Soviets had launched cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into space, with the U. S.
   National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) soon in hot pursuit. Space travel had actually begun, so the low-budget approach would simply not do for the new Hollywood that Kubrick was a part of. His film 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY became a design paradigm for the new science fiction film and helped to create the kind of enthusiasm needed to keep the space program in orbit. Costing more than $10 million, the film took more than three years to complete. In this respect, the film set a precedent for the ultra-expensive blockbuster approach that became almost commonplace two decades later, once Hollywood became convinced that in order to be good, a film had to look good.
   Bizony recaptures some of the excitement that was generated by the film’s premiere. Misunderstood by some critics and virtually ignored by the Motion Picture Academy, 2001 was recognized by many viewers as a mystic if not an utterly metaphysical experience. For some chemically-enabled viewers, the technical achievement of the film’s conclusion was like looking into the face of God. Metaphysician Arthur C. Clarke, a wizard in his own right, wrote the foreword for Bizony’s book. The visual wizards who enabled Kubrick to trip the light fantastic, such as designer-in-chief TONY MASTERS, cameraman GEOFFREY UNSWORTH, and DOUGLAS TRUMBULL, who created the trippy Stargate tunnel special effects, are all given their due. The book also includes the original MGM press release announcing the project in 1965 and reprints Penelope Gilliatt’s enthusiastic review published in the New Yorker on April 13, 1968. Bizony’s intelligent approach demands serious consideration, and his book is also valuable for its conceptual drawings and inspired background detail.
   J. M. W.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Clarke, (Sir) Arthur C(harles) —     (1917– )    The author of the screenplay (with STANLEY KUBRICK) and novel, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968), Arthur C. Clarke is now regarded as one of the most important SCIENCE FICTION authors of the 20th century. Very early in life, Clarke… …   The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick

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  • Masters,Tony — (1919–1990)    Tony Masters was born in England and served as production designerin chief on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. He was a major in the Royal Artillery during World War II and began working in the film industry in 1946, after he was demobilized …   The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick

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  • Unsworth, Geoffrey — (1913–1978)    The cinematographer of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Unsworth began as a camera assistant in British films in 1932 and became a camera operator by 1937. He was promoted to the post of director of photography in 1946,working on Scott of… …   The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick

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