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C Entries
Edward L. Cahn
James Cameron
Lewis John Carlino
Richard Carlson
John Carradine
Helena Bonham Carter
Leo G. Carroll
Maurice Cass
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Arthur C. Clarke
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Joan Collins
Sir Sean Connery
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Peter Cushing
 
CLARKE, SIR ARTHUR C.
(1917–2008). British author.

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND HORROR FILM CREDITS
Wrote: unknown episodes of Captain Video (tv series) (and set designer) (1949-1955); "All the Time in the World" (1952), episode of Tales of Tomorrow; 2001: A Space Odyssey (with Stanley KUBRICK) (Kubrick 1968); The Colours of Infinity (with Nigel Lesmoir Gordon) (and appeared in) (documentary) (Gordon 1995).

Hosted:  The Unexplained (tv documentary) (1970); Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World (documentary tv series) (1980); Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers (documentary tv series) (1985); Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious Universe (documentary tv series) (1994).

Appeared in: "Suns, Space-Ships, and Bug-Eyed Monsters" (1977), "Mars, the Next Frontier" (2003), episodes of The Sky at Night; 2010: The Odyssey Continues (documentary short) (Les Mayfield 1984); Brave New Worlds: The Science Fiction Phenomenon (documentary) (Paul Oremland 1993); Without Warning (tv movie) (Robert Isgove 1994); Contact: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (documentary) (Mark Moidel 1995);  Rama (video game) (J. Mark Hood 1996); "Alien" (1996), episode of Future Fantastic (documentary series); 2001: HAL's Legacy (documentary) (David G. Stork 1997); Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (documentary) (Jan Harlan 2001); 2001: The Making of a Myth (documentary) (Paul Joyce 2001); To Mars by A-Bomb: The Secret History of Project Orion (documentary) (Christopher Sykes 2003); 50 Terrible Predictions (documentary) Mark McMullen and Gareth Williams 2005); Planetary Defense (documentary)  (Moidel 2007);  Vision of a Future Past: The Prophecy of 2001  (short documentary) (Gary Leva 2007).

Film based on his work: 2010: The Year We Make Contact (and appeared in) (Peter HYAMS 1984); "The Star" (1985), episode of Twilight Zone; Trapped in Space (Arthur Allan Seidelman 1994); Rendezvous with Rama (animated short) (Aaron M. Ross 2003).

 
Although he long enjoyed recognition as the world's greatest living science fiction writer, it is not surprising that relatively few of Arthur C. Clarke's works have made their way to the screen—because most film narratives are character-driven, and human characters were always of little interest to Clarke. Instead, his novels and stories wrestled with ideas, ranging from microcosmic concerns about the best way to construct and maintain a moon colony to the very Biggest Questions of the all: What is the universe all about? What is its purpose, and where is it going? And how do human beings, and human technology, fit into the picture? Attention to these grand issues—which are manifestly the focus of his greatest contribution to film, 2001: A Space Odyssey—may be mistakenly regarded as glib and fatuous by anthropocentric critics like David Thomson, who insist that the subject of all great works must be The Human Condition. But the fact remains that human beings are tiny, evanescent creatures in a vast, ancient, and mysterious universe, and it is mean-spirited and short-sighted to dismiss those artists who choose, however unsatisfactorily, to ponder the implications of that undeniable situation.

Since the scripts that he wrote for the pioneering television series Captain Video—and even their titles—probably are forever lost, and since few people have been able to see his episode of Tales of Tomorrow, Clarke's talents as a screenwriter must be primarily evaluated by examining 2001—a film with precious little dialogue but enduring imaginative power, regularly voted by critics as one of the ten best films ever made. And, as anyone familiar with the works of Clarke and director and co-author Stanley KUBRICK can attest, the film is more characteristic of Clarke's work  than of Kubrick's work. Still, Kubrick must be credited with the decision to strip away all of Clarke's narration and explanations, making the film more of an evocative mystery than Clarke's accompanying novel, in which everything seems much clearer but more prosaic (one specific example being the elaborately decorous rooms in which the aliens deposit Dave Bowman, more realistically replaced in Clarke's novel by a bland hotel room constructed by the aliens out of Bowman's memories).

A decade after 2001, Clarke attempted to launch other film projects—his novels 2010: Odyssey Two (1982) and The Songs of Distant Earth (1986) both originated as film proposals—but he had no direct involvement in the film that eventually resulted from the first novel, and no film version of the second novel ever materialized—which was also the fate of a once-circulating screenplay based on his novel A Fall of Moondust. But Clarke kept busy writing other novels and hosting three documentary series: Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers, and Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious Universe. These are all entertaining but a bit strange, for unlike Leonard NIMOY, who could get himself genuinely interested in and enthusiastic about the paranormal topics covered by his series In Search Of ..., the more seriously scientific Clarke could discern nothing credible in reports of UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and the like, so that he mostly functioned as a skeptical commentator on his own series, dashing cold water on the feverish speculations of others interviewed for the series. He undoubtedly earned less money, but garnered more enjoyment, from co-writing and hosting a 1995 documentary about fractals, a subject which came to fascinate Clarke in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Clarke essentially retired after writing a final novel in the 2001 series, 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997), although he remained remarkably busy for an elderly man suffering from post-polio syndrome by contributing to a series of "collaborative" novels mostly written by his collaborators and by making appearances on several documentaries about science and science fiction. And he endeared himself to the editor of Science Fiction Quotations, and others in the science fiction field, by generously agreeing to write forewords to their books even though there was virtually no money to be made. Despite his death in 2008, he remains a presence in Hollywood as the most prominent name attached to one of the most famous projects that keeps moving in and out of Development Hell, an adaptation of his novel Rendezvous with Rama (1973), at one point announced as a 2007 film starring Morgan FREEMAN. The story probably keeps getting shot down because film executives cannot discern how a film about the exploration of a vast uninhabited spacecraft could possibly make 200 million dollars. If the project is ever greenlighted, one hopes that the filmmakers will resist the inevitable suggestions to jazz up the plot with gruesome alien monsters and romantic subplots—perhaps by reminding nervous producers that 2001: A Space Odyssey, lacking all such guarantees of popular success, did just fine at the box office. What Hollywood cannot accept is that sometimes, film audiences do want more than the mindless crap that the smart guys insist they prefer, and if you are looking for something to think about, there is no better place to go than the works of Arthur C. Clarke.

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