some fun facts about “The Shining”

I’m around cable again these days and am watching Kubrick‘s brilliant film right now (screw that remake shit, I’m not even gonna discuss it). Never mind how young many of we Gen X’ers were when we first saw it, it’s still delightfully horrific stuff – King‘s novel too. I love how an underlying theme of the entre story is a writer struggling to deal with alcoholism and how it relates to his family. King was completely wrong in thinking this angle had been downplayed, and as far as criticizing the selection of Nicholson for the role…well, I think the history of films adapted from his horror work speaks for itself-
So Nicholson completely nails the role of Jack Torrence. Think for a moment of how many memorable lines have become iconic American injokes, and you realize much of this to do to his delivery. He and Scatman Crothers, who plays head chef Dick Hallorann in the film, were friends in real life and appeared in four films together before his death in ’86. If anyone knows where I can obtain paintings similar to those in Halloran’s Miami hotel room, please let me know (they don’t even have to have lights embedded, like the amazing piece that hangs in Athens’ Manhattan Cafe…).
The idea that inspired my research: what ever happened to “Danny”, played by actor Danny Lloyd, age six at the time? He worked in only one other film, and Kubrick, due to the actor’s age, somewhat sheltered him from what he was working on during the shooting. Apparently Lloyd never even realized it was a horror film until years later.
And then there is Shelly Duvall‘s amazing performance, perfectly capturing the vulnerability and panic of a woman being attacked by her devolving husband, but carries the Will and Stamina to survive, without it turning into some Hollywood “victimized, now vigilante hardass” cliche. However, cryptic remarks behind the scenes make one wonder to what extent Kubrick may have ‘extracted’ this performance from her. Anyway, her screams, eyes and panic are a big part of what make The Shining so terrifying. Check out this cool animation of Wendy running around and freaking out with the knife, a bit of limping Jack, as done by Saskia Panjii Sakti.

Other things: The Overlook Hotel location was Timberline lodge on Mt. Hood, Oregon (good luck getting so many snowy shots these days, but it was most likely augmented even then…), though the hedgemaze was actually somewhere in England and the illusion of their proximity is cinematic “magic”. The actor who plays Delbert Grady, meddlesome ghost butler, is Kubrick regular Philip Stone. And the music! The electronic stuff comes from Wendy Carlos (who also worked on Tron) and Rachel Elkind-Tourre, and pieces based on works of Hector Berlioz. Actually, look more into the soundtrack if you’re interested – it’s complicated. Licensing issues prevented from it even being released beyond vinyl – again, something I’d love to own, so contact me if you have a specific lead.

3 Comments so far

  1. Ariana on March 3rd, 2010

    The Shining is my favorite movie ever! I’m on this website because in my English class, we have to do a five minute presentation an any subject. I pick my favorite movie, which is The Shining. I found out pretty interesting stuff and mistakes. Everybody acts so good in this. I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!<3

  2. Wiley Heilig on November 21st, 2010

    This can be a smart blog site. I mean it. You have a lot understanding about this problem, and a lot passion. You also know the way to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. Youve acquired a design right here thats not too flashy, but makes a statement as major as what youre saying. Wonderful job, indeed.

  3. jmirickg on January 30th, 2011

    Just thought I would contribute shots of the paintings in Halloran’s Miami hotel room.