The Shining

→ in

I have just freaked myself out watching The Shining for the first time, at 3am on my own in a small room in the Hospital wing where I sleep when doing a night-shift. Having calmed down and done some breathing exercises I realised what a classy piece of cinema it is.

Kubrick - Unique genius
Nicholson - Best Actor (One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest - fav film)
Woman - should get prize for sustaining look of terror the longest

I must admit that some parts puzzled me, especially the ending, and the whole 20's Brady/butler thing that was going on. I presume that reading the book would help, but frankly cant be bothered at this time. There is some mumbling about Native American burial sites, but I dont buy it. I cant see how that is relevant to the Jack Torrence/Charles Brady storyline other than the fact that the hotel could be haunted. Am I missing something obvious? I would love to be enlightened so I can stop thinking about it as I try to sleep tonight. Please explain.

I don't know how much the book is going to help you. Stephen King and many of his fans have mostly disdain for how Kubrick and company strayed so far from the novel.

I think the key to Kubrick's Shining is realizing that, apart from the "shining" ability and a few of the things Danny or Wendy sees while alone, only one of the creepy "supernatural" events can't be explained away as simply Jack Torrance's own maddness - and that's the unlocking of the freezer door after his wife traps him there. Otherwise, it can all be seen as visualizations of his own addled mind. And what Danny and Wendy see, too, can be explained as their own visions and nothing ghostly at all.

There's too much of a lazy assumption in viewers of movies that what is presented on screen is automatically "true". Just because we as the audience can see it, that doesn't mean it's really there. The camera's eye does not have to be objective, and even though it may not be standing in as a character's eyes in a P.O.V. shot, it doesn't mean what we are seeing isn't just that character's psychological perspective - even if we can see that character in the frame with the images too. If you follow me?

As for the photograph at the very end of the film, again, it can be seen as a vision of Jack's - perhaps the last he had before he froze to death in the maze. In the Roaring '20s as he imagines it, an alcoholic writer like himself might have enjoyed a Gatsby-like existence instead of the many problems and lack of money he has to deal with, so he places himself in that romanticized world.

If you want to view it more simply, as just a ghost story of some kind, that interpretation will work too, but there's more layered into it, a more complex psychology. I think so anyway. Like all of Kubrick's films, and any great movie for that matter, you'll benefit more and more from repeat viewings. Kubrick's films are not made to be easily digested and then tossed aside. They stay with you, and commitment to rewatching them offers many rewards. Many viewers find the intentional ambiguities of Kubrick's work to be frustrating and unnecessary, but for fans they are what help make his work so vital, unique and rewatchable, bringing new and wildly different interpretations depending on when you watch, whether you've seen a Kubrick movie once, twice, ten or fifty times.

The unsettling tone and overall sense of dread Kubrick created in The Shining is fantastic. The look of the film, including all those beautiful tracking shots through the hallways and finally the snowy maze, utilizing what was then the new invention of the steadycam, are mesmerizing. Nicholson's performance, which hits Kabukiesque stylized over-the-top highs as he goes completely mad, fit in perfectly with what the film is doing, a jarring and effective juxtaposition to the stillness and quiet of that empty isolation.

It's great, above and beyond it being a "horror" movie - though I think it satisfies all those genre requirements very well. In my book, it is only behind Polanski's Rosemary's Baby as THE greatest Horror flick ever made. Master filmmakers working in genre quite often leads to spectacular, transcendant movies.

BTW, just so you know, the original caretaker of the Overlook was named Grady, not Brady. Shelley Duvall (Nashville, Roxanne) is the actress who played Wendy, young Danny Lloyd played Danny, and Hong Kong Phooey himself, Scatman Crothers, was Hollorann.
"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra

Only for the weak
Pretty informative Holden

I will say one thing, I couldn't stand Shelly Duvall....
Early morning moments, a glimpse of joy. But soon it's over and I return to dust. As I try to be, everything everyone. I shrivel up and, waste away.

I've always liked Shelley Duvall, from all the great work she did with Altman (3 Women, Nashville, Thieves Like Us, Brewster McCloud, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Popeye), and I think what she does as Wendy is EXACTLY what Kubrick was going for. To dismiss her as simply "annoying" is a mistake.

But, to each their own.

Thanks for the articulate reply. I like the idea that the 20's thing and the photo at the end are part of Jack's romantised fantasy and madness. I dont have a problem with the different visualisations that the characters had, and can accept that they were all an image of their fears. Was there any relevance to Wendy's bear/dog/wolf thing that she saw doing something odd to the tuxedoed man in the hotel room, or did Kubrick just pick that from the ether just to disturb me?

In my world of logic that I work in I have to have to be able to explain to myself all the parts of a movie, and I feel let down if I cant and that the director is cheating us. I'm happy to deal with all the ghosts/visions that they all saw, but I struggle with the physical things that happened, like the marks on Danny's neck and the opening of the pantry door.

I dont think that Danny would hurt himself. He doesn't seem the type. This sort of behaviour is usually attention seeking and happens in kids who come from a difficult background. Danny seems to me to be an intelligent, independant, resourceful kid. I realise he struggles with 'the shining' but I cant believe that he would hurt himself. Wendy would never hurt him, and that leaves Jack who was having a nightmare at the time and although had hurt Danny before, I dont think his madness was far enough gone to hurt his child yet. Danny well have had an accident and hurt himself unintentionally, but I dont buy it. I think Kubrick put it in for a reason, and my logical brain would be annoyed if he himself didnt have an explanation.

Also the opening of the pantry door is bugging me. Wendy wouldnt have opened it, which leaves Danny or a ghost. If it was some supernatural force or ghost then I feel disappointed in Kubrick that he felt he had no other way out of that situation. If it was Danny then why did he not include that in the film. Maybe he felt that it would have been a weak scene. Kubrick, being such a film genius would not have let himself get stuck like this. Both the Danny or the ghost options seem lame to me, and I would love to know who Kubrick thought opened the door, and why he didn't want to tell us. All it does is leave me with a feeling of disappointment.

Having said all that it was undoubtedly one of the finest scary movies I've seen. Maybe I should learn to stop thinking about movies in such a logical way although this is the way my brain works, and I think most of the movie going public too. Maybe I should just give Kubrick credit for making me think so much about his movies and stimulating my brain. It is presumptive of me to think that his brain should work in the same way as mine, and he should be allowed to do what he thinks makes the best film.

I will see it again having bought it on DVD, but not for a while. Next movie to see will be Rosemarys Baby.

Smoke286's Avatar
Registered User
Good band, never cared for the movie
Ain't no rocket scientists in the Fire Hall

The movie was funny becaues I saw some of the sceans of the movie on Simspons and Family Guy!In family Guy Stewie is riding this bike in the hallway when these twin girls holding hands comes and says "COME PLAY WITH US STEWIE WE CAN PLAY FOR EVER AND EVER"
And then Stewie says "Too much playing makes Stewie a dull boy!"So he gets his gun and shots them blowing them up!I loved it so much I was laughing and laughing!
and the Simpons was the halloween special!With Homer going nuts with an ax!That was funny too and poor Willy kept dieing!ANyone ever seen those shows they are so funny!Well see you aruond!JM The book my sister told me was alot better then the movie!
Jackie Malfoy
Favorite Movie of all time:Star Wars!
Online offline boyfriend:AdarkSideJedi(brad)
Other Sites I belong and and Adult!

Bruce Campbell Groupie
The Shining is my favourite Jack Nicholson film (I'm a huge fan of the guy), I love it.
Gimme some sugar!

Cyberdine Systems Model 101
Great movie.

The film gives you images that won't leave your head. A good scene was when the elevator was letting out a whole bunch of red blood!
Last 5 films Iíve seen

An American In Paris ****/*****
Once Upon A Time In China *****/*****
Father of the Bride ****/*****
Spartacus *****/*****
The Hidden Fortress ****/*****

You can view my review for each of those films at T-850's Reviews

Originally Posted by The Doctor
I have just freaked myself out watching The Shining for the first time, at 3am on my own in a small room in the Hospital wing where I sleep when doing a night-shift. Having calmed down and done some breathing exercises I realised what a classy piece of cinema it is.

Kubrick - Unique genius

Well personally I didn't like the Shining too much, it wasn't the best of Kubriks work. I think it could have been better. 3/5 thumbs up in my opinion.
"I don't think there's anything to be afraid of. Failure brings great rewards -- in the life of an artist."---Quentin Tarantino

Keep on Rockin in the Free World

I'm not a big kubrick fan in general nor the shining in particular, but i came across this while looking for somethen else, and thought it was worth sharing.

Stanley Kubrick allowed his then-17-year-old daughter, Vivian, to make a documentary about the production of THE SHINING.

Making of THE SHINING (with commentary track by Vivian Kubrick)

1st time trying to embed googlevideo, so if ive erred with the code, and it won't play just click on the lower right of the video box (go to googlevideo)
"The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it." - Michelangelo.

It's a good little documentary. There is an awesome scene where she is filming Nicholson getting in character for the axe through the door bit. The documentary is worth watching just for that. Well that and watching Kubrick constantly get pissed at Shelley.
If I had a dollar for every existential crisis I've ever had, does money really even matter?