Monday, September 30, 2013

Universe (1960)

1 Nomination, 0 Wins

Nomination: Best Documentary, Short Subjects - Colin Low

Released just 11 months before Yuri Gagarin became the first person in outer space and 12 months before Alan Shepard became the first American to do so, "Universe" is a roughly 30 minute documentary released by the National Film Board of Canada which uses the work of the David Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill, Ontario to give a look at our known universe.  The film looks at each planet in our solar system, and also looks at asteroid belts and briefly at the stars beyond.

"Universe" was, according to the National Film Board of Canada's website, an inspiration to Stanley Kubrick in his work on 2001: A Space Odyssey, and it's easy to see why.  Not merely a dry educational documentary, the film is beautifully shot, with moody shadows reminiscent of Richard Brooks's direction and Conrad Hall's cinematography for In Cold Blood.  The outer space effects are also remarkable, leaps and bounds ahead of the cheesy effects used for outer space scenes in most films of the era.  Roman Kroitor and Colin Low produced a remarkably artful film in "Universe," and as a result the film is as lively and engaging 53 years later as it must have been at the time of its release.

Remaining: 3125 films, 857 Oscars, 5348 nominations

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