blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Universe (1960, Roman Kroitor and Colin Low)

A scene from UNIVERSE, directed by Roman Kroitor and Colin Low for The National Film Board of Canada.

As a documentary short, Universe is undoubtedly interesting as a look at the history of astronomy. The expectation of life (or, at least, vegetation) on Mars, for example.

However, as a film, it’s an obvious precursor it pretty much every science fiction film made after it. Its opening seems so much like something out of 2001–the majesty and grandeur of space set to emotive classical music–it’s stunning to discover it predates that film by eight years.

Directors Kroitor and Low do an outstanding job not just composing their shots, but keeping the picture moving. It does start to drag a little at the twenty-minute mark (of twenty-seven) simply because they haven’t established the point… talking about the discovery of the universe.

The shots showing mundane human activities are also beautiful. Tom Daly’s excellent editing of the film is an essential component.

Universe is a visual feast.

3/3Highly Recommended


Directed by Roman Kroitor and Colin Low; written by Kroitor; edited by Tom Daly; music by Eldon Rathburn; production designers, Sidney Goldsmith and Low; produced by Daly and Low; released by The National Film Board of Canada.

Narrated by Stanley Jackson.


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