Road to the Stars (1958)

Viktor Kuprin

Spaced Cadet
Title: Road to the Stars

Genre: Documentary, Science Fiction

Director: Pavel Klushantsev

Cast: Georgi Solovyov, Georgi Kulbush

Release: 1958-06-04

Runtime: 49

Plot: This film consists of three parts. The first dramatizes the life of the founder of Soviet astronautics, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky; the second describes the development of rocket technology; and the third visualizes the future with enactments of the first manned spaceflight, spacewalk, space station construction and humans on the moon.
Road to the Stars (1958)
It was July 20, 1969, and Apollo 11's lunar module had landed on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin would take their first historic steps a few hours later. On the CBS TV network, Walter Cronkite was providing round-the-clock commentary and, if I remember correctly, Arthur Clarke was one Cronkite's guests for the broadcast. I remember there was a montage of SF films depicting visits to the moon, shown to fill some time on the air. I saw a brief scene from this rare USSR space film, Road to the Stars, that showed a big Soviet lunar colony. For years I've wanted to see the film. Now we can all watch it on RuTube (see link below). It's been said that Stanley Kubrick saw Road to the Stars before he made 2001, and surely it is true. There are many scenes in 2001: A Space Odyssey that are almost identical to Road to the Stars. Watch it and see if you recognize them. I don't mean at all to be critical of Stanley Kubrick or 2001, which I still believe is probably the most significant (and best) first-contact SF film ever made. But it can't be denied that "the Russians got there first!" :D


From the Wiki's 2001 article:

The Russian documentary film maker Pavel Klushantsev made a groundbreaking film in the 1950s entitled Road to the Stars. It is believed to have significantly influenced Kubrick's technique in 2001: A Space Odyssey, particularly in its accurate depiction of weightlessness and a rotating space station. Encyclopedia Astronautica describes some scenes from 2001 as a "shot-for-shot duplication of Road to the Stars". Specific comparisons of shots from the two films have been analyzed by the filmmaker Alessandro Cima. A 1994 article in American Cinematographer says, "When Stanley Kubrick made 2001: a Space Odyssey in 1968, he claimed to have been first to fly actor/astronauts on wires with the camera on the ground, shooting vertically while the actor's body covered the wires" but observes that Klushantsev had preceded him in this.
Interesting reading. Thanks to Viktor and some of his earlier posts I've been exposed to some other Russian sci-fi works but not heard about the comparisons between Kubrick's 2001 and earlier Russian works. It does make for some compelling argument that Kubrick was at least influenced by Klushantsev.

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