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The NFB's 15th Oscar®-nominated film.

A triumph of film art, creating on the screen a vast, awe-inspiring picture of the universe as it would appear to a voyager through space, this film was among the sources used by Stanley Kubrick in his 2001: A Space Odyssey. Realistic animation takes you into far regions of space, beyond the reach of the strongest telescope, past Moon, Sun, and Milky Way into galaxies yet unfathomed.

Universe by Roman Kroitor and Colin Low was so realistic that it would inspire Stanley Kubrick to make his classic sci-fi opus 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick would also borrow Universe’s narrator Douglas Rain to be the voice of HAL-9000 in the same film!

Albert Ohayon
De la sélection : The 1960s: An Explosion of Creativity

When I was in Paris in 1949, I met Berthold Bartosch, the famous pioneer animator. He was planning a new film that he said was on the cosmos. His equipment was very simple but very ingenious, and he showed me how he planned to execute it with three-dimensional models. I was struck by his audacity and ingenuity. Afterwards I thought about him frequently as our equipment at the NFB developed.

When Roman Kroitor told me about his idea for a film about an astronomer, he said, "Why not experiment?" So we started in an old garage behind the NFB. I remembered some of Bartosch's ideas on time exposure and the importance of extreme depth of field. The 35 mm rushes on asteroids began to look very good in action. The asteroids were clinkers from the furnace travelling on a panner that we built for Grant Munro for a puppet film that he was making. His cameraman was Herb Taylor, and Herb became one of the cameramen for Universe.

When we moved to Montreal, we had a good studio close to the Animation Department. Sydney Goldsmith could experiment with effects, and Gerry Graham and Des Dew found a British special effects expert from England, Wally Gentleman.

On and off we experimented, and our cutting copy looked better and better. When the first Sputnik went into outer space, management at the Film Board suddenly got interested. What was to be a little classroom lesson became a production! Roman Kroitor and Dennis Gillson had shot a great live-action sequence of the astronomer and the observatory. I had pushed for lighting that would match the spectacular effects.

Eldon Rathburn wrote the score and recorded it in England, and the narrator was Douglas Rain, a Stratford Shakespearian actor. The narration was written by Roman Kroitor and Stanley Jackson. Tom Daly was the watchful producer from the beginning. It was exciting to see it come together. I watched the film not long ago, and I think that Berthold Bartosch would have been proud.

Universe has a simplicity, clarity and accuracy that films from space and the computer have not quite managed yet. I think!

Colin Low
De la sélection : Colin Low: Recollections from a Distinguished Career

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Universe, Roman Kroitor et Colin Low, offert par l'Office national du film du Canada

Largeur de la vidéo :

par Réinitialiser
  • réalisateur
    Roman Kroitor
    Colin Low
  • producteur
    Tom Daly
  • montage
    Tom Daly
  • scénario
    Roman Kroitor
  • commentaire
    Stanley Jackson
  • narrateur
    Douglas Rain
  • caméra
    Denis Gillson
    Wolf Koenig
  • son
    Joseph Champagne
  • montage sonore
    Kathleen Shannon
  • musique
    Eldon Rathburn

  • canuckft

    In 1962 the Principal of my elementary school showed it in the gym to all of the senior classes. It was awe-inspiring and was the beginning of my love of the NFB. The science is obviously outdated but the film is still wonderful.

    canuckft, 20 Avr 2020
  • DWPenner

    I actually watched this in school in the 60's. It is one of the things that inspired my interest in astronomy. I tried to watch it on an App for Telus Optik, but the search engine for the NFB doesn't seem to be able to find it. Perhaps it isn't available on that App. I did find The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes which I also remember from school. I would love to see it redone using today's computer graphics and new discoveries. But it needs a sound track as fitting as this one has.

    DWPenner, 4 Jul 2015
  • wimawep

    I remember this film because it was the first program selected to return to normal broadcasting on a station in NY,NY after the kennedy assassination.

    wimawep, 5 Avr 2014
  • vwvPHOBOSwvw

    Would like to see the version with Burgess Merideth. Many thanks tho:)

    vwvPHOBOSwvw, 9 Avr 2013
  • kruscito

    @Odnan: Have you tried watching the film in a lower quality version? If you click on the tab that says 'Standard Quality', you can select 'low' and the video should stream faster. If it's still a problem, let us know!

    kruscito, 3 Jui 2011
  • Odnan

    Hi I'm from brazil, and i wanted to watch this movie but it just stop loading all the every 2 minutes then it loads again then after 2 minutes it stops, i never managed to watch it or load it entirely

    Odnan, 3 Jui 2011
  • Ms_Tre

    I love this film! Just finished watching it on the Documentary channel and I'm watching it again...now, on the website :) It reminds me of the movies they used to make us watch in school :)

    Ms_Tre, 16 Mar 2011

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