Almost like discovering a monolith buried underground, Warner Brothers recently found 17 minutes of lost footage from Stanley Kubrick‘s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey in a salt-mine vault in Kansas. But before you go and drop acid in anticipation of an extended cut of the film, consider the slippery slope this footage constitutes. One, just because the footage was found doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to make it into the public eye. Two, Kubrick himself reportedly cut the footage from the film because he felt it created pacing issues. And three, the film is just about perfect as is, do you really want to screw it up?

Hit the jump for more details on the footage as well as what it might contain.

The Film Stage first alerted us to the news of this footage. They point us to a reports from Forgotten Silver and Blastr about an event in Toronto where Douglas Trumbull and David Larson, who were working on the now canceled documentary 2001: Beyond the Infinite: The Making of a Masterpiece, mentioned the footage had been found in perfect condition. Though they weren’t sure what the plans for the footage are, they did show images of never before seen scenes that will be in an upcoming photo book. It was unclear if these images were from the found footage or not.

According the 2001 IMDB page, when the film premiered in 1968, it ran 160 minutes. Kubrick then went in and trimmed a good 19 minutes or so. It’s assumed this would be the footage that was found in Kansas. Here’s what the IMDB says was cut:

  • Some shots from the “Dawn of Man” sequence and a new scene was inserted where an ape pauses with the bone it is about to use as a tool. The new scene was a low-angle shot of the monolith, done in order to portray and clarify the connection between the man-ape using the tool and the monolith.
  • Some shots of Frank Poole jogging in the centrifuge.
  • An entire sequence of several shots in which Dave Bowman searches for the replacement antenna part in storage.
  • A scene where HAL severs radio communication between the “Discovery” and Poole’s pod before killing him. This scene explains a line that stayed in the film in which Bowman addresses HAL on the subject.
  • Some shots of Poole’s space walk before he is killed.

While none of that sounds particularly exciting, new Kubrick is new Kubrick and it would be pretty cool for this footage to make its way onto some sort of epic, mega Blu-ray release one day. Still, I don’t know if I’d want to see it edited into the film. Kubrick cut it, why would anyone want to go against his wishes? But, if there is any money to be made from this footage, Warner’s will surely find a way.

Do you think this footage should be released? Do you want to see it? Do you want to see it cut back into the movie?

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