2001 Transition Edit
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Doing research has been one of the most enjoyable parts of writing this blog; you never know what nugget you’ll stumble upon.  I really got a kick when I happened upon the material for today’s post which is technically 2 shots.  Well, I guess it’s 4 shots, because not only am I serving up Kubrick’s stunning editorial truncation of millions of years of human evolution, but I’m also serving Kubrick.  Oh, yes, he’s been served.  The second shot (or 2 shots) is what Kubrick stole from.  But no worries.  As Oscar Wilde quipped, “Talent imitates, genius steals.”  While I don’t believe Kubrick ever commented on or admitted to this, as far as I could find, it’s hard to believe he didn’t get the idea here, consciously or unconsciously.
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Kubrick steals from the best

Now, everyone is super familiar with the famous, brilliant, awesome, mind-blowingly simple yet profound, etc, match cut transition in 2001 from the pre-historic primate’s bone-throw to the space ship millions of years later.  But not many probably know the shot from Powell/Pressburger’s A Cantebury Tale (1944) — including myself, until I stumbled upon it doing research for the recent post on Deliverance, of all things.  This must have inspired Kubrick’s master stroke.
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Cantebury Transition Edit
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In the 1944 application of the technique, we leap  centuries in one edit.  Check out how cool and ahead of its time this cut is – a falcon turns into an airplane.  Military technology jumps 600 years.  Pretty bold and cool.  It’s in the youtube video at 3:17.
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As cool as that is, Kubrick was able to give the same technique an even deeper resonance.  Instead of centuries, it’s millions of years, and the entire evolution of mankind is expressed in one-twenty-fourth of a second by way of a single edit.  Doesn’t get more efficient than that, does it?  That’s what a director is always striving for, to communicate the most information in the simplest way, with the greatest story impact. Earth to Kubrick, mission accomplished.
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