National Film Board – Universe (1960)


This film was so novel in it’s day people freaked out at how good it was. The production values were exemplary. No crappy animations, or amateurish attempts at lighting. No. This was space as rendered by Norman McLaren’s National Film Board. And that narration, the voice,… that gentle whispery voice of Canadian stage actor Douglas Rain.

This movie impressed NASA so much back in 1960 they bought a bunch of copies to keep on hand and distribute to people, even before JFK was elected, much less before he announced the Moon Program. It as THAT good. But guess who else noticed it? A young film maker named Stanley Kubrick. Look at ever frame. Pause, rewind and watch it again. Does it remind you of something? And that narrator,… Does that voice ring a bell? Well Kubrick took one look at this film and wrote down the names of all 3 guys who did the Special Effects and hired them (along with a young Douglas Trumbull) to make 2001: A Space Odyssey. And the voice actor, was hired to play HAL 9000. When you see this and realize Kubrick was obsessed and wanted to make his own version of this,… and wanted a kind of “open-ended” script from Arthur C. Clarke, he got everything he needed to whip something up. It just took forever to get it perfect. This film came out just 6 days prior to me being born. But it started some 8 years prior to that.

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