Payton Hobart really wants to be president. He really, really wants it, in fact. He seems to have planned out every detail of his two terms in the White House already. And he is only seventeen years old. He seems to the living example of why anyone who wants to be president enough to successfully go through the process of being successfully elected is probably precisely the wrong person to be doing the job.
Netflix’s new comedy drama begins with Peyton (Ben Platt)
starting his campaign for election to the position of student body president of
his Santa Barbara high school. This proves to be a surprisingly big deal fought
with all the intensity of the presidential election, Hobart imagines one day
fighting himself. Indeed, that’s the plan currently: future series aim to focus
on different political campaigns occurring throughout his life. The brilliant
opening title sequence depicts Peyton the politician being created by a
Frankenstein-like process of alchemy, before offering his hand to greet the
The opening episodes are very twisty and bubble over with exciting story possibilities. It is like Tracy Flick in 1999’s film Election magnified by ten. Peyton is slick and like Kennedy, Bush and Trump before him has been born rich. He seems to inspire a phenomenal amount of loyalty in both his girlfriend Alice (Julia Schlaepfer) and his campaign team (played by Laura Dreyfuss and Theo Germaine). But he also seems erratic and clearly has skeletons in his cupboard. What is his exact relationship with his handsome rival, River (David Corenswet)? Are they gay or bisexual? In fact, this probably isn’t a problem: everyone seems to be bisexual here, it is like a 1980s Bret Easton Ellis novel at times.
There are other intriguing elements notably potential running mate, Infinity Jackson (Zoey Deutch), a sweet character dominated by her horrendous grandmother (an excellent Jessica Lange). Peyton himself is dominated by his own bohemian Lady MacBeth-like mother (another Oscar winner, like Lange and also great here). River’s girlfriend, Astrid Sloan (Lucy Boynton) also seems potentially interesting, at least at first. The fine actor Bob Balaban also gets a high billing here as Peyton’s step-dad, but is barely in it.
Sadly, like a morally bankrupt politician, the series does not live up to its early promise. Perhaps that’s the problem with planning several seasons in advance like this: the creators seem to lose interest in this story and start setting up the next series a few episodes before the end. The election fizzles out. The mid-season episode, ‘The Voter’ depicts an apathetic student totally ignoring the election day events occurring around him. This is an interesting idea which might have provided a fresh new perspective on events. But the voter is clearly anything but normal, far more drug-obsessed, girl-obsessed (a point over emphasised with far too many shots of him checking girls out) and violent than anyone else. The episode is a complete dud.
Despite these flaws and too many irrelevant musical interludes from the talented Platt, however, The Politician is still well-acted and compelling enough to make it worth viewing. But as Peyton himself is once cruelly described, this is more Gerald Ford than Barack Obama.
For 2,000 years, the Devon city of Exeter has played a small
but vital role in our nation’s history. There have been highs and lows. For
centuries, it was one of the top cities in the land, elevated into a golden age
of prosperity. But the city has also suffered countless incursions from a wide
range of invaders both foreign and English. It came close to defeating William
the Conqueror, remained defiant in the face of German bombing, fought on both
sides in the English Civil War and has battled fires, plagues, sieges and
pretenders to the throne.
This is Exeter’s story, told
for the first time in alphabetical order.
Chapter headings include:
The Civil War
The Exeter Blitz
The Great Theatre Fire
Witches on trial
Chris Hallam was born in Peterborough
and settled in Exeter in 2005 where he now lives with his wife. He has written
for a large number of local and national magazines including DVD Monthly, Yours
Retro, Infinity, Geeky Monkey and Best of British. He also wrote The Smurfs
annual 2014 and co-wrote the book, Secret Exeter in 2018.
I am writing this in a time of acute political crisis. It is easy to lose all sense of perspective when assessing a situation while it’s still happening. Even so, the year 2019 is unlikely to be viewed as a happy one for nation when we remember it in forty years time.
Despite this, the fifth volume in Dominic Sandbrook’s history of Britain since Suez, reminds us, the period, 1979-82 was very eventful indeed.
To briefly recap:
In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman prime minister in British history.
By 1980, she was already hugely unpopular as unemployment and inflation rocketed. There would probably have been a recession around this time anyway, but Thatcher’s dogged commitment to monetarism made things worse. Not for the last time, Labour blow the opportunity to replace the Tories in power by electing the decent but unelecttable Michael Foot as leader.
1981: The SDP breakaway from Labour and are soon way ahead of both the Tories (blamed for unemployment, rioting and recession) and Labour (harmed by Foot’s unpopularity and the antics of Tony Benn).
1982: The Falklands War transforms the political landslide. Thatcher becomes hugely popular again. There were signs of a Tory recovery before the Argentine invasion and it is doubtful ,Labour would ever have won the 1983 election anyway. But the Falklands Factor removed all doubt.
Sandbrook’s brilliant at these sort of books giving both a thorough insight into the politics of the period but almost all aspects of British life.
There are plenty of useful nuggets of info here. The book opens with an account of the live broadcast of the SAS break-up of the April 1980 Iranian embassy siege. The Alan Ahlberg book Peepo! is discussed as is Raymond Briggs’ incredibly harrowing graphic novel, When The Wind Blows. The rise of Ian Botham and Steve Davis are examined as is the fall of Joy Division and the rise of the New Romantics.
I was born in 1976 and so for the first time, like Sandbrook himself (who is about two years older than me) find myself encountering things here which I just about remember. I enjoyed the references to Peepo! (a book my baby brother liked) and was particularly interested in the portrait of my home town of Peterborough. I would dispute the claim made by an employee of the bishop of the time (and apparently endorsed by Sandbrook) that “Race relations are not a problem in Peterborough.” There were no riots in Peterborough as there were in Brixton in 1981 and although I went to school with a large number of children of Pakistani, Indian and Italian, I am white myself and cannot speak for them. But I know this for a fact: there were definitely racial tensions. There still are.
Reading the book, I was surprised to learn just how racist many people were back then. The extent of racism in the police force seems to have been appalling.
Sandbrook has started writing for the Daily Mail in recent years and though he strives for balance, his conservative tendencies occasionally show. Polly Toynbee of The Guardian, then an early SDP champion, is at one point described as a “future saint.” Who regards her as a saint, you might ask? No one in the real world, that’s who. Certainly not Guardian readers. The term is only ever used in reference to Toynbee sarcastically by envious columnists on the Right. I was also surprised to see Sandbrook resurrecting the discredited claim that Michael Foot was in the pay of the KGB. Foot retained strong pro-democratic tendencies throughout his life and won a libel case against the Murdoch press when tbey made the same claim. Were he not dead, I’m sure Foot would be suing again. And I’m sure he would win.
So Thatcher generally comes out of this well, Sandbrook agreeing with Charles Moore, in the face of virtually all evidence that the Iron Lady had a sense of humour. Little credence is given to the notion that anyone might have found the somewhat jingoistic aftermath of the Falklands conflict distasteful. Tony Benn comes out of this badly. After an effective chapter about the fear of nuclear war experienced by many at this time, Sandbrook then seems to go out of his way to argue unconvincingly that nobody was ever seriously worried about it after all.
But ultimately, this is another literally superb addition to Sandbrook’s account of Britain since 1956. What next? Greed is Good? No Turning Back? Nice Little Earner? I eagerly await Sandbrook’s next volume.
As a chronicler of post-war Britain, Sandbrook is only seriously rivalled by David Kynaston and Alwyn W. Turner.
Guildhall Shopping Centre, Queen St, Exeter EX4 3HP
Three years after it opened, the Exeter branch of Lebanese restaurant chain Comptoir Libanis has established itself as a solid player in the city’s ever expanding food empire.
Arriving for lunch in the Guildhall Centre on a grey early October afternoon, we might have expected the restaurant to be deserted. Not a bit of it. There was a busy, pleasant, family friendly atmosphere and some well-behaved pre-school children sat near us, many wearing Fezs on their heads, which I presume had been given out specially (just like that?).
The food: For starters, we were recommended the Mezze Platter., for me and my wife to share. This consisted of hommos, baba ghanuj, tabbouleh, falafel, natural labné, cheese samboussek, flatbread and pickles. Every aspect of this was pleasant and as I am a nut allergy sufferer, I was especially appreciative of the staff’s sensitivity when I enquired about this.
I am generally quite a messy eater (the party of children I mentioned before, probably left less debris behind than I typically do. I thus went for a relatively safe option: a burger, specifically a Lebanese Lamb and Halloumi burger consisting of char-grilled lamb kofta burger with grilled halloumi, tahina, harrisa mayonnaise, tomato, pickled cucumber, served with Lebanese spiced potatoes.
We live in age where high quality burgers have become almost the norm. This one certainly really hit the spot. I soon found myself calculating how much bread I needed to sacrifice to ensure I could manage all of the main event.
Not for the first time, my wife chose well too, opting for Chicken Taouk: marinated grilled chicken breast with garlic sauce, pickled cucumber and tomato. I was soon in the weird position of envying her choice while simultaneously being pleased with my own selection.
Our only error? We had by now eaten far too much to even contemplate a dessert. The starter alone would have satisfied many people.
Still, never mind: we are sure to come to Comptoir Libanais again.
Reproduced, with thanks, from Bingebox magazine (2016):
It seems like a familiar sight. A lone sultry and very famous singer delivers a seductive performance of “happy birthday” to the birthday boy, actually her secret lover, who also happens to be her leader. But as she reaches the third line, something jars. The words change and things take a chilling turn. “Happy birthday…Mein Fuhrer,” are the star’s next words. For while this is Marilyn Monroe, she is not singing to President Kennedy, the charismatic young American president but to … someone else entirely.
So, begins the trailer for the second season of Amazon Prime’s, The Man In The High Castle. And as if we didn’t know already, this is a world in which history has taken a very different turn from our own. And not for the better.
THE REICH STUFF
of The Man In The High Castle stems from the endlessly fascinating question;
what would the world be like, had Nazi Germany and imperial Japan triumphed at
the end of the Second World War instead of the Allies, (that is the United
States, Soviet Union, British Empire and others)?
It was a
question which once haunted the feverish, troubled but hugely imaginative mind
of author Philip K Dick. The man whose writing ultimately inspired many of the
greatest science fiction films of all time including Blade Runner, Total
Recall, Minority Report and The Adjustment Bureau, Dick been just too young to
fight for the US in World War II himself but nevertheless realised what a close
thing the outcome of the war had been. Over fifty years’ ago, inspired by
another novel which convincingly imagined a victory for the slavery supporting
Confederacy in the 1860s American Civil War, he set to work producing a book
depicting a similar alternative ending to World War II.
Prone to hallucinations and sudden bouts of paranoia, Dick had a relatively short turbulent life, dying in 1982, aged just 63 without seeing most of his work reach the screen. But he enjoyed probably more success The Man in High Castle than with any other book during his lifetime.
WELCOME TO AMERICA: 1962
season of The Man In The High Castle in 2015 brought the book’s chilling vision
vividly to the screen. The United States of America we know from this period
(portrayed in the early series of Mad Men, amongst other things) was confident,
victorious and powerful poised on the verge of huge successes such as in the space
race, but also riven by racial division and on the brink of disaster both in
the Cuban Missile Crisis and in the growing war in Vietnam. But the America portrayed
here is very different: it is no longer in fact, even the “United States” at
all. We soon learn that the west coast of the former USA is now under the
control of the victorious Japanese while the eastern bit is under Nazi German rule.
The Rocky Mountains meanwhile are a neutral buffer zone between the two sides,
this being where the mysterious “man in the high castle” is said to reside.
Tantalising hints as to what has befallen the
Allies are scattered liberally throughout both the series and the book. One
character suggests the great war leader President Franklin D. Roosevelt was
assassinated long before the war started in this reality, perhaps explaining
why the US did not win. Another suggests that the war dragged on until 1947 instead
of 1945 here, only ending when Nazi Germany dropped an atomic bomb on Washington
land then and few of the characters we meet are not facing a conflict of the
loyalty of some sort or another. With the first season still on Amazon Prime
some might want to steer clear now. But for everyone else, here’s a quick
Francisco resident Juliana Crane (Alexa Davalos) for example, an expert in
aikido appears happy living under Japanese rule at the start of Season 1. That’s
until her half-sister Trudy who turns out to have been a member of the
anti-government Resistance, is unexpectedly killed. Juliana finds herself drawn
herself into the work of the Resistance as she attempts to complete Trudy’s
last job: delivering a tape entitled The Grasshopper Lies Heavy to the mythical
man in the High Castle. Intriguingly, the tape depicts an alternative version
of history in which the US and the Allies defeated Germany and Japan!
Essentially, the world in the tape is very like our own.
aided and abetted by her boyfriend Frank Frink (Rupert Evans) a man enjoying
some creative success but who has a dark secret which pushes him closer and closer
to full blown rebellion: he is Jewish. Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank) meanwhile
faces conflict of a different sort. Although supposedly a member of the
Resistance he is in fact a secret agent in the employ of SS Obergruppenfuhrer
John Smith (Rufus Sewell). Although very clearly a baddie, Smith is far from
the typical stereotypical black and white Nazi villain. As his name suggests,
he is an American-born participant in the new regime. A family man living a
comfortable suburban life, it is suggested he has been drawn to Nazism by the
apparent failure of the old American system in the Great Depression of the
Thirties. Trade minister Nobusuke Tagomi (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) is yet another
character who finds himself torn between conflicting loyalties. The new series
also sees Chief Inspector Kido (Joel de la Fuente) begins to take more interest
in the Man in the High Castle.
Juliana, increasingly unsure what to do about the treacherous Joe, Joe doubting
his own continued commitment to the Third Reich, Smith increasingly doubtful
about the Nazi philosophy after the illness of one of his children, more revelations
from The Grasshopoper Lies Heavy tapes and mounting tensions between Germany
and Japan, the ten hour long episodes of Season Two of The Man In The High
Castle promise to be just as compelling and as full of intrigue as the first.
At the root
of the series’ success however is its authentic portrayal of a chilling but
plausible alternative version of American history that though perhaps a touch more
plausible in the wake of Donald Trump’s recent election victory, has mercifully
WHO’S IN IT?
starring role of Juliana Crain, French-born Alexa has appeared in a good range
of TV (Angel, Mob City) and films (notably The Chronicles of Riddick and Clash
of the Titans).
With a key role
in Ewan MacGregor’s recently released directorial debut American Pastoral,
British actor Evans who plays Frank Frink has been in plays, TV and film
aplenty, notably offbeat superhero flick Hellboy.
Instantly recognisable as the older man love interest Lord Melbourne in the recent ITV Victoria, Sewell, also British, has been playing sexy villains for years in A Knight’s Tale, The Legend of Zorro and other films and TV.
Reproduced, with thanks, from Bingebox magazine (2016):
Send her victorious? As
the dust settles, ITV’s Victoria is widely seen as the winner of this autumn’s
big ratings battle with BBC’s Poldark. But whatever the outcome, both are
likely to be big sellers on DVD this Christmas.
In retrospect, with its
attractive cast and sumptuous period setting, it might seem hard to see how
Victoria could have failed. But fail, she very easily could have. A few months
ago, Jenna Coleman’s post-Doctor Who credentials were unproven. But as the
teenaged Queen assuming leadership of the greatest empire the world has ever
seen, Coleman has triumphed, her decision to forsake the TARDIS, totally
Her on screen romances with
her first Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (played by aging sex symbol, Rufus
Sewell) and more famously German aristocrat, Prince Albert (Tom Hughes) were
also well received. Although given that Coleman is already far more attractive
than the real Queen Victoria ever was and that her infatuation with Melbourne
along with much of the plotting which makes up much of the storyline is largely
fictional, the series soon faced charges of historical inaccuracy.
But unlike the last
attempt to tackle this subject matter – 2009’s film The Young Victoria – this
is a success. Perhaps it is fitting that that earlier film was written by
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. For it is in Victoria, that ITV has
truly found a period drama to compare to Downton’s level of success. Long live
The wilds of late 18th
century Cornwall have proven fertile ground for drama before. First, there was
Winston Graham’s dozen or so hugely successful Poldark novels. Then there was
the hit 1970s TV series. Finally, there was last year’s BBC ratings smash
Poldark starring Aidan Turner. It was only a matter of time before Poldark
returned. With the second outing proving another success, both recent series
are available on DVD and Blu-ray now.
This is perhaps
inevitably a sexier affair than the 1970s series: recognising this, Turner is
required to take his shirt off in the first episode of the second series. But
let’s not get carried away: were Poldark not compelling, well-acted, authentic
and reasonably faithful to its source material, it would never have worked. The
second series begins where the last one finished: with Ross accused of murder.
Thanks to this and the
likes of War and Peace and The Night Manager, the BBC has had a good year for
TV drama in 2016. But while one wouldn’t want to rain on Poldark’s undoubted
success, it is worth noting that Poldark though screened on BBC One was, like
Victoria, made by ITV Studios. With ITV also behind a number of the notable
period drama hits of recent years such as Downton Abbey and Mr Selfridge, is it
conceivable the Beeb’s status as the home of British period drama could be
under threat? Only time will tell.
WHO’S IN IT?
A familiar face to many
already thanks to roles including the poet Rossetti in TV’s Desperate
Romantics, as the conflicted vampire in Being Human and Kili in the Hobbit
films, the Irish actor’s dark brooding sex appeal as Ross Poldark has
undoubtedly smoothed the show’s path to success.
As Ross Poldark’s beautiful second wife Demelza, Eleanor Tomlinson has seen her star rise considerably. A film actress since her early teens, her CV includes major supporting roles in big screen flop, Jack The Giant Killer and BBC War of the Roses historical drama, The White Queen.
As the ruthless, arrogant and determined power-hungry banker George Warleggan, Jack Farthing has essentially taken the role of Poldark’s villain. A theatre actor, the Oxford-educated Farthing is best known for posh roles such as Freddie Threepwood in P.G. Wodehouse adaptation Blandings and for Oxford University-based film drama, The Riot Club.
Book review: Cult Filmmakers: 50 Movie Mavericks You Need To Know. By Ian Haydn Smith. Illustrated by Kristelle Rodeia. Published by: White Lion. Out now.
What makes a cult filmmaker? The key qualities seem to be distinctiveness and a degree of obscurity. Hitchcock and Spielberg were and are great filmmakers, but both are much too famous now to be included in a volume like this. Hitchcock might have appeared once. Spielberg too, perhaps in the brief interim after the release of Dual but before Jaws. But not now.
Indeed, it could argued that just by highlighting the fifty directors included in this volume in a book specifically titled, ‘Cult Filmmakers’, author Ian Haydn Smith is simultaneously undermining their cult status as much as he is re-enforcing it.
That is not to attack the book, which is a good one. The author’s choices are intriguing and it is almost as interesting to see who has been left out as it is to see who has been included. Sam Raimi doesn’t feature. Nor does Wes Anderson or the Coens. Presumably, the men behind The Evil Dead, Blood Simple and Rushmore would have been considered cult filmmakers once. However, they are now ineligible as they’ve all moved onto more mainstream successes as the men behind Spiderman, Intolerable Cruelty and Isle of Dogs.
But if this is the reason, it’s odd that the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton and Kathryn Bigelow are. Other selections are less contentious: David Lynch, David Cronenberg and ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters, have all achieved fame, while retaining their cult status. Some such as John Carpenter seem to have lost their initial cultiness, only to later recapture it.
The book is stylishly illustrated by Kristelle Rodeia. Occasionally, the pictures look nothing like their subjects e.g. Terry Gilliam. It doesn’t matter.
Personally, I am most grateful for the chapters shedding light on Amat Escalante, Benjamin Christensen and Barbara Loden, amongst others. Until this book, they were undeniably in my eyes, cult filmmakers: I had never heard of any of them. But now I do. And this can only be a good thing.
The answer lies within Chris Mullin’s excellent 1982 novel, A Very British Coup. Written in the dark days of early Thatcherism, Mullin envisaged a future (the late 1980s), in which Perkins, a working-class hero and onetime Sheffield steelworker leads the Labour Party to an unexpected General Election victory on a manifesto not dissimilar to the one Labour lost on in 1983. Perkins’ Labour Party is thoroughly socialist and the new government quickly embarks on fulfilling the radical agenda it has been elected on: dismantling Britain’s nuclear deterrent and leaving NATO, breaking up the newspaper monopolies, redistributing wealth and more.
Needless to say, the establishment: the civil service, the media and the security services are horrified. They immediately begin conspiring with the US (who, viewing things through a Cold War prism, see Britain as having “gone over to the other side”) in a bid to thwart the programme of the democratically elected government. It is a great read.
Mullin was writing at a very volatile political time. In 1980, the new Thatcher government was already proving to be such a complete disaster that it seemed hopelessly doomed. For much of 1981, the SDP, not Labour, seemed set to replace them. By the post-Falklands summer of 1982, the resurgent Tories again seemed unbeatable, as indeed, proved the case, the Iron Lady having staged her own very British coup in the South Atlantic. We are in very volatile times again now. The future in the Brexit era is very hard to foresee.
In this long-awaited sequel, Chris Mullin (now a former Labour MP himself) creates a convincing near future which cleverly not only seems sadly only too plausible but which also makes sense in the context of what has happened in the earlier book.
It is the 2020s. With Brexit having proven a miserable failure, serious consideration is being given to a humiliated Britain going crawling cap in hand and applying to rejoin the EU. Trump has left office, but has left the international situation thoroughly de-stablised. Today’s leaders have left the political stage. A King is on the throne, as he was in the earlier novel. Labour seemingly locked in perpetual opposition under an ineffectual woman leader seems poised for a takeover by the former aide of the recently deceased former Prime Minister, Harry Perkins, Fred Thompson (Mullin isn’t much of a one for glamorous character names). As so often happens, Perkins, the scourge of the status quo in life is now hailed by left and right alike as a great leader of the past, now he is safely dead. Thompson was played by Keith Allen in the acclaimed 1980s TV version of the book is still middle aged (Mullin admits to some authorial sleight of hand here: only ten years have passed since the events of the first book, not thirty or forty).
But can Fred Thompson succeed in leading Labour back to power and restoring Britain to it’s former glory? Will his family difficulties or a rising tide of violence threatening to engulf British politics get in the way?
The Daily Telegraph describes this book “preposterous.” Presumably, they mean “preposterous” in the sense that it doesn’t mindlessly back Brexit or shamelessly back Boris Johnson’s leadership bid as that newspaper did.
This is perhaps – like Thompson himself -not quite the equal of its illustrious predecessor. But it is a fine sequel and an excellent, short-ish read.
(Special awards for people who manage to stay alive long after you think they’ve died). 1. Olivia de Haviland (103). Actress. Star of Gone with the Wind (1939). Born before the Russian Revolution. To put things in perspective, the three other stars of Gone with the Wind died in 1960, 1967 and 1943. 2. Bill Tidy: Cartoonist. Used to be on TV a lot. A British, non-perverted Rolf Harris (85). I’m sure that’s how he’d want people to think of him. 3. Kirk Douglas (102). Born 13 years after the first aeroplane flew. “I’m Spartacus!” “I’m Spartacus!” “I’m…very old.” 4. Sirhan Sirhan (75). Assassinated Robert Kennedy in 1968. In prison ever since. 5. Lady Clarissa Eden, the Countess of Avon (99). Niece of Churchill. Widow of Sir Anthony Eden (1897-1977) who was Prime Minister (1955-1957) before Theresa May was born. She was the second wife of Eden, one of only three divorced men to become British Prime Minister. The third was Boris Johnson. 6. Former senator Bob Dole (96). Widely seen as too old when he ran for US president in 1996. Sample jokes from the time: “Dole was hit hard by his divorce…his first wife got to keep the cave.” “When Clinton sees a glass of water, he thinks: ‘oh dear. It’s half empty’. When Dole sees one he thinks, ‘oh great! Somewhere to keep my teeth!’” 7. Sidney Poitier. Actor (92). Huge in the 1950s and 1960s. 8. Rose West: murderer. Not that old (65). A bit surprised she’s still around though. 9. Frank Williams (88). The vicar in Dad’s Army. 10. Betty White (97). Last of the Golden Girls. 11. Jerry Lee Lewis (83) Musician. Great Balls of Fire. 12. Kim Novak (86). Star of Vertgo. 13. Tippi Hedren (89). Why do birds suddenly appear, every time she is near? 14. Dick Van Dyke (93). “I’m Dick van Dyke! I hope you are too” Google him and it comes up with ‘Dick Van Dyke causes of death’. But he isn’t dead. Diagnosis: Old.
Director Stanley Kubrick considered withdrawing the film soon after release in response to tabloid reports that groups of young men had been launching ‘copycat’ manned space expeditions to the planet Jupiter.
Conspiracy theorists have speculated that Kubrick made the film as part of a plot to fake the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landings. This is, of course, nonsense. He was already too busy faking the Vietnam War.
The final line of the film is “My God! It’s full of stars!” This claim is untrue: in fact, there are no Hollywood stars in it. Leonard Rossiter is literally the most famous person in the film and even he hadn’t been in ‘Rising Damp’ then.
The apes at the start of the film are speaking in genuine prehistoric dialect. Roughly translated, they are saying things like: “God, this is taking a while to get going isn’t it?” “Hey! Watch what happens when I throw this bone in the air!” and “Shit! Where did that big black thing come from? That wasn’t there just now…”
Ever the perfectionist, Kubrick made one extra throw the bone in the air 7,674 times, even before he switched his camera on.
The song ‘Daisy Bell’ was not Kubrick’s first choice for the famous HAL shutdown scene. He had originally planned to use the song, ‘Cinderella Rockerfella’ sung in duet with another computer voiced by Barbara Streisand. This didn’t happen only because Kubrick never thought of it.
Although authentic-looking, very few of the scenes were actually shot in space.
Stanley Kubrick originally planned to film the movie in real time, starting in the prehistoric era.
Some viewers reported finding the film overlong. Some even claimed it was longer than the actual year, 2001 itself, including those who had watched it during the year, 2001.
A pilot for a spin-off TV sitcom , ‘You Can Call Me HAL,’ in which the computer sang ‘Daisy Bell’ during the credits and occasionally killed people was made, but never aired as it was shit.
Some have noticed that if you move the letters of the name ‘HAL’ one letter back in the alphabet it spells out the initials: ‘GZK’.
Things which the film predicted correctly about the year 2001: there would be some were people around doing stuff with computers and space. Things it got wrong: manned space expeditions to Jupiter, computers don’t usually take that long to shut down, classical music wasn’t that popular.
Kubrick was reportedly disappointed that very few people really thought the flying bone had actually turned into a spaceship.
He also was surprised so many people guessed the ‘twist’ that the planet of the apes at the start was supposed to be Earth.
Alternative names for the film which were considered were: Million Dollar Space Baby, The Keir Dullea Movie, Monolithicent, Kubrick’s Pube and The Apes of Wrath.