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space odyssey series Film Contributions Of The Sixties

Beginning roughly with the release of Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Stopped Worrying and Loved the Bomb in 1964, and continuing for about the next decade, the “Sixties” era of filmmaking made many lasting impressions on the motion picture industry. Although editing and pacing styles varied greatly from Martin Scorcesse’s hyperactive pace, to Kubrick’s slow methodical pace, there were many uniform contributions made by some of the era’s seminal directors. In particular, the “Sixties” saw the return of the auteur, as people like Francis Ford Coppola and Stanley Kubrick wrote and directed their own screenplays, while Woody Allen wrote, directed and starred in his own films. Kubrick, Coppola and Allen each experimented with characterization, narrative and editing techniques. By examining the major works of these important directors, their contributions become more apparent.
Dr. Strangelove (1964), an adaptation of Peter Bryant’s novel Red Alert, although still bearing the usual traits of a Kubrick film, is something of a departure for him in terms of editing and spatial strategies. The film’s run-time more or less corresponds with the fictional or represented time in the story. This direct correspondence between fictional and real time adds to the sense of temporal compression induced by the film’s insistent editing patterns. Although Dr. Strangelove employs many long takes, it contains the shortest average-shot-length of any Kubrick film. The film consists of roughly 700 shots and has a run time of 94 minutes for an average-shot-length of 8 seconds. Despite the rather short average-shot-length, Dr. Strangelove still resorts to crucial long takes to slow down the rapid momentum of the story (Falsetto, 35).
Several spatial and temporal procedures are at work in Dr. Strangelove, such as the use of the long take. Conversely, the B-52 sequences, often accompanied by various versions of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” employ different editing patterns than the rest of the film. These edits reinforce the film’s theme of inevitability. Through editing, the B-52 sequences display a strong cinematic rhythm. The shots are generally shorter than the other sections of the film, and they significantly contribute to the film’s shorter average-shot-length, despite Kubrick’s deliberate use of long takes (Falsetto, 44).
Stanley Kubrick’s next film was the science fiction masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. 2001 represents Kubrick’s most ambitious presentation of cinematic subjectivity, most prominently in the Star-Gate sequence and in the final episode of Dave Bowman in an isolation room. These sequences are a result of a film, which for most of its run time does not presented the subjective vision of any one character. In stylistic and visual terms, there is a movement from the three-dimensional style of the film’s first half to the flatter, more abstract visual style of the Star-Gate sequence. The film’s movement towards abstraction can be understood both in visual and narrative terms (Falsetto, 115).
2001’s presentation of details from the “Dawn of Man” sequence, to later space travel scenes are shot with complete conviction and impeccable detail. The viewer believes that the world might have actually looked like what Kubrick presented it as, several million years ago, and the depiction of space travel is just as convincing. The use of models, front projection, the slow editing techniques and camera work all help to create a more complete illusion (Falsetto, 141).
If 2001 was presented almost completely objectively, than Kubrick’s next film, A Clockwork Orange (1972) was presented almost completely subjectively. This may have been in part due to the constraints of the original novel by William Burgess, but nonetheless the film is told from the point of view of its central character, Alex. When Alex is not speaking on camera, he can often be heard as a voiced over narrator, interjecting his comments on the action which is occurring on screen.
The elements of fantasy and theater are evident in the infamous rape scene, where Alex does a freaked-out impersonation of Gene Kelly, performing “Singing in the Rain.” He moves with great flair, and his violent actions become a creative release. Carefully choreographed movements and gestures punctuate his actions. Part of the reason the film’s violence is so attractive is because not only is it presented with great imagination, but it is also performed by the only ... more

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Apollo 13: A Successful Failure

During a modification of Oxygen Tank No. 2 by NASA contractor, North American Rockwell, it was inadvertently dropped about 2 inches, which caused undetected damage to the interior assemblies.  This damage eventually led the failure of the $400-million Apollo 13 mission.
The crew of Apollo 13 was responsible for several scientific experiments that were to be carried out during the mission.  Atmospheric electrical phenomena experiments were designed to "study certain aspects of launch-phase electrical
phenomena."   An opportunity to study large mass impact phenomena on the Moon was available with this mission.  Instead of sending the third stage of the launch vehicle into solar orbit, as had been done on previous missions, the trajectory of the Apollo 13 S-IVB was designed to cause it to hit the lunar surface.   Equipment set up during the Apollo 12 mission would have been used to record the seismic signals.   The crew was also assigned to install a heat flow experiment designed to measure the amount of heat coming from the inside of the Moon.  This data would be used to determine whether the Moon actually had a molten core.  This would provide new insight on the internal structure of the Moon.
The Apollo spacecraft (CM) was named Odyssey and the lunar module (LM), Aquarius.  The CM was a conical pressure vessel with a maximum diameter of 3.9 m at its base and a height of 3.65 m.  The CM was divided into three compartments, forward, aft, and the crew compartment.  The forward compartment, in the nose of the cone, contained "the three 25.4 m diameter main parachutes, two 5 m drogue parachutes, and pilot mortar chutes for Earth landing."   The aft compartment, at around the base of the CM, "contained propellant tanks, reaction control engines, wiring, and plumbing."   Most of the volume of the CM, approximately 6.17m, is in the crew compartment.  The lunar module was a two-stage vehicle designed for space operations near and on the Moon.   The LM was originally designed to support two astronauts for 45 hours.  
The crew Commander was 42-year-old Navy Captain James A. Lovell, Jr. Lovell's partner on the moon, the lunar module pilot, was Fred Haise, Jr.  Assigned to remain in lunar orbit aboard Odyssey, the command module pilot, Navy Lieutenant Commander Thomas K. Mattingly.
"Five days before the launch date of April 11th, it was discovered that a member of the backup crew, Air Force Major Charles M. Duke, Jr., had come down with rubella (German measles)."   The prime crew was given blood tests to determine if they had immunity.  Lovell and Haise were cleared, but Mattingly was not.  Having recently been exposed to rubella and because it was likely that he could get sick in flight, he was replaced with 34-year-old John L Swigert, Jr., who did have immunity.  A test pilot, Swigert had a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Colorado and a Master of Science degree in aerospace science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The crew of Apollo 13 was boosted off Pad 39A of the Kennedy Space Center, right on time, at 2:13p.m., Easter Standard Time, Saturday, April 11, 1970.  From the sounds, sights, and vibrations given off by the Saturn 5, the most powerful rocket in the world, everything seemed to be going smoothly to the casual observer.  However, this was not the case.  A series of minor flaws appeared during powered flight up through the atmosphere.  Although not directly related, but precursors of the disaster to come two days later as the crew approached the Moon.
During the firing of the Saturn 5's second stage, the center engine in a cluster of five cut off 132 seconds early as a result of unusually large oscillations in thrust chamber pressure.  "This caused the remaining four engines to burn 34 seconds longer than planned."   This would, hopefully, take the vehicle to the planned acceleration at second stage cutoff.  Even with this compensation, the velocity was 223 feet per second lower than planned.  Again, the guidance computer attempted to correct this by causing the third stage, the S4B, to burn it's single engine 9 seconds longer than programmed.
"Two hours and 35 minutes after launch, the crew fired the S4B a second time for a ... more

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