Thursday, October 1, 2009

SCREAM OF THE DAY: THE SHINING


To get in the right mood for Halloween, a new daily feature, Scream of the Day, will be posted throughout October and focus on what else but horror movies. And what better way to start off the feature than Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, a beautiful but terrifying film. Jack Nicholson gives us one of his greatest performances and shows the mental breakdown of a man while Kubrick shows us the disintegration of a family.



Trivia:

*The Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon was used for the front exterior, but all the interiors as well as the back of the hotel were specially built at Elstree Studios in London, England. The management of the Timberline requested that Stanley Kubrick not use 217 for a room number (as specified in the book), fearing that nobody would want to stay in that room ever again. Kubrick changed the script to use the nonexistent room number 237.

*There is a great deal of confusion regarding this film and the number of retakes of certain scenes. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the scene where Wendy is backing up the stairs swinging the baseball bat was shot 127 times, which is a record for the most takes of a single scene. However, both Steadicam operator Garrett Brown and assistant editor Gordon Stainforth say this is inaccurate - the scene was shot about 35-45 times. Brown does say however that the scene where Hallorann explains to Danny what shining is was shot 148 times, which is a world record.

*When first released, the film had an alternate ending: after the shot of Jack's body, the film dissolves to a scene of policemen outside the hotel. It then cuts to a scene in a hospital, where Wendy is resting in a bed and Danny is playing in a waiting room. Ullman arrives and tells her that they have been unable to locate her husband's body anywhere on the property. On his way out, Ullman gives Danny a ball - the same one that mysteriously rolled into a hallway earlier in the film, before Danny was attacked in room 237. Ullman laughs and walks away and the film dissolves to the move through the corridors towards the photo. Stanley Kubrick had the scene removed a week after the film was released.

*Stanley Kubrick considered both Robert De Niro and Robin Williams for the role of Jack Torrance but decided against both of them. Kubrick didn't think De Niro would suit the part after watching his performance in Taxi Driver (1976), as he deemed De Niro not psychotic enough for the role. He didn't think Williams would suit the part after watching his performance in "Mork & Mindy" (1978), as he deemed him too psychotic for the role. According to Stephen King, Kubrick also briefly considered Harrison Ford.

*Jack Nicholson ad-libbed the line "Here's Johnny!" in imitation of announcer Ed McMahon's famous introduction of Johnny Carson on U.S. network NBC-TV's long-running late night television program "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962). Kubrick, who had been living in England since before Carson took over "The Tonight Show," had no clue what "Here's Johnny!" meant. Carson once used the clip of Nicholson as the introduction to one of his annual anniversary specials.

*During filming, Stanley Kubrick made the cast watch Eraserhead (1977), Rosemary's Baby (1968) and The Exorcist (1973) to put them in the right frame of mind.

*At the time of release, it was the policy of the MPAA to not allow the portrayal of blood in trailers that would be approved for all audiences. Bizarrely , the trailer for The Shining is comprised entirely of the shot of blood pouring out of the elevator. Stanley Kubrick had convinced the board the blood flooding out of the elevator was actually rusty water.

*Because Danny Lloyd was so young and since it was his first acting job, Stanley Kubrick was highly protective of the child. During the shooting of the movie, Lloyd was under the impression that the film he was making was a drama, not a horror movie. He only realized the truth seven years later, when, aged 13, he was shown a heavily edited version of the film. He didn't see the uncut version of the film until he was 17 - eleven years after he'd made it.

*There were so many changes to the script during shooting that Jack Nicholson claimed he stopped reading it. He would read only the new pages that were given to him each day.

*For the scenes when we can hear Jack typing but we cannot see what he is typing, Kubrick recorded the sound of a typist actually typing the words "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". Some people argue that each key on a typewriter sounds slightly different, and Kubrick wanted to ensure authenticity, so he insisted that the actual words be typed.

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2 comments:

Keith said...

This is a really cool idea.

I love The Shining. I haven't seen it in years though. Love the book too.

K and S said...

Thanks, Keith. It's been years, so many in fact, I can't remember the last time I really celebrated Halloween. I want this year to be different and enjoy the holiday as much as possible.

You should watch The Shining again. The photo at the top of the post scared me as a kid and still freaks me out.

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