The Shining (1980) - Illustrated Reference

Stanley Kubrick with Jack Nicholson
Stanley Kubrick with Jack Nicholson

The Shining was directed by Stanley Kubrick and premiered on the 23rd May 1980. Starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson, Philip Stone and Joe Turkel. Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick & Diane Johnson, based on the novel by Stephen King. Music by Wendy Carlos. 146mins (119mins)

Writer Jack Torrance accepts a job as caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel for the winter so he can relax and continue with his writing, he is staying there with his wife Wendy and 6 year old son Danny who has psychic abilities. The hotel was built on an Indian burial ground and the previous caretaker went mad, killing his family. Before long Jack starts to act strangely and Danny has horrific visions of murdered children.

Stephen King (1947-) arrived on the scene with a tale of telekinetic vengeance, first published in 1974 Carrie was a big seller and was followed by Salem’s Lot (1975) another success for King. The Shining (1977) was his third novel and his first hardback best seller. His apocalyptic magnum opus The Stand would be released a year later and Stephen would be crowned the new King of Horror, but it was The Shining that attracted Stanley Kubrick.

Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson
Shelley Duvall
Shelley Duvall
Danny Lloyd
Danny Lloyd
Scatman Crothers
Scatman Crothers
Barry Nelson
Barry Nelson
Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick
Philip Stone
Philip Stone
Joe Turkel
Joe Turkel

Jack: Wendy, darling, light of my life. I'm not gonna hurt ya. You didn't let me finish my sentence. I said, I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just going to bash your brains in. Gonna bash 'em right the f*ck in! ha ha ha
Wendy: Stay away from me! Don't hurt me!
Jack: I'm not gonna hurt ya...
Wendy: Stay away! Stop it!
Jack: Stop swingin' the bat. Put the bat down. Wendy? Give me the bat.

Jack Nicholson (1937-) / Jack Torrance

Born in Manhattan, New York City, Jack Nicholson’s first movie was The Cry Baby Killer (1958) and Jack has been a highly respected and popular movie star for the past four decades.

Jack Nicholson has won 3 Oscars – Best Actor for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Best Supporting Actor for Terms of Endearment (1983) and Best Actor for As Good as it Gets (1997), he has had 9 more Oscar nominations – Easy Rider (1970), Five Easy Pieces (1970), The Last Detail (1973), Chinatown (1974), Reds (1981), Prizzi’s Honor (1985), Ironweed (1987), A Few Good Men (1992) and About Schmidt (2002).

Shelley Duvall (1949-) / Wendy Torrance

Born in Houston, Texas, Shelley Duvall’s films include – Brewster McCloud (1970), Nashville (1975), Annie Hall (1977), Popeye (1980 as Olive Oyl), Time Bandits (1981), Roxanne (1987) and Suburban Commando (1991).

Danny Torrance: Redrum. Redrum. Redrum.

Danny Lloyd (1973-) / Danny Torrance

Born in Chicago Illinois, Danny Lloyd was just 6 years old when he started filming The Shining, and has appeared in one other film – Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy (1982). He is currently teaching hard sciences in Missouri.

Scatman Crothers (1910-1986) / Dick Halloran

Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, composer, singer and actor Scatman Crothers won a Best Supporting Actor Saturn Award for The Shining (1980).

Scatmans films include – East of Sumatra (1953), Hello Dolly (1969), The Aristocats (1970 voice of Scat Cat), Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Black Belt Jones (1974), One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (1975), The Shootist (1976), Silver Streak (1976), Bronco Billy (1980) and Twilight Zone The Movie (1983).

Barry Nelson (1917-2007) / Stuart Ullman

Born in San Francisco, California, Barry Nelson’s films include – Johnny Eager (1941), Bataan (1943), A Guy Named Joe (1943), The Man With My Face (1951), Airport (1970) and Pete ‘n’ Tillie (1972). Nelson was the first actor to play James Bond in Casino Royale (1954) an episode of TV anthology series Climax.

Jack: Mr. Grady. You were the caretaker here. I recognize ya. I saw your picture in the newspapers. You, uh, chopped your wife and daughters up into little bits. And then you blew your brains out.
Grady: That's strange, sir. I don't have any recollection of that at all.
Jack: You WERE the caretaker here, Mr. Grady.
Grady: No sir, you are the caretaker. You've always been the caretaker. I ought to know: I've always been here.

Philip Stone (1924-2003) / Delbert Grady

Born in Leeds, England, Philip Stone’s films include – Unearthly Stranger (1964), Carry On Loving (1970), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973), Barry Lyndon (1975), The Medusa Touch (1978), The Lord of the Rings (1978 voice of Theoden), Flash Gordon (1980) and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

Joe Turkel (1927-) / Lloyd the Bartender

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Joe Turkel’s films include – Halls of Montezuma (1950), The Killing (1956), Paths of Glory (1957), King Rat (1965), The Sand Pebbles (1966), The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967), The Hindenburg (1975) and Blade Runner (1982)

Stuart Ullman: Physically, it's not a very demanding job. The only thing that can get a bit trying up here during the winter is a tremendous sense of isolation.
Jack Torrance: Well, that just happens to be exactly what I'm looking for. I'm outlining a new writing project and, uh, five months of peace is just what I want.
Stuart Ullman: That's very good Jack, because for some people, solitude and isolation can, of itself become a problem.
Jack Torrance: Not for me.
Stuart Ullman: How about your wife and son? How do you think they'll take to it?
Jack Torrance: They'll love it.

Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) had directed the historical romance Barry Lyndon in 1975 and it was not a success, disappointed he decided on directing his first horror movie. Kubrick had filmed the ultimate sci-fi trip in the late 1960’s, he was now hoping to create the ultimate horror thriller.

Robin Williams, Robert De Niro and Harrison Ford were considered for the part of Jack Torrance, Stephen King thought none of them were suitable for the role, his choice would have been Jon Voight.

At the time Stephen King disliked Kubrick’s film, he admired some aspects of it but was just not happy with the finished film which jettisoned much of his novel.

Stephen King thought Jack Nicholson was miscast because the role was of an ordinary man who slowly descends into madness, King felt that Nicholson looked like he was plain nuts long before the evil of the place got to him.

He also thought Shelley Duvall was wrong for the film envisioning Wendy as a blonde cheerleader type.

But to be fair to Kubrick, King rarely has anything nice to say of any of the filmed adaptations of his books. The only films he seems to be entirely satisfied with are the ones directed by Frank Darabont – The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Green Mile (1999) and The Mist (2007).

The Shining was filmed mostly on sound stages at Elstree studios, long shots of the exterior of the Overlook Hotel was filmed by the second unit at Mount Hood in Oregon, the Timberline Lodge stood in for the Overlook in these scenes.

There is no hedge maze at the actual location which is noticeable by its absence in the long shots. The exterior of the hotel was built full scale at Elstree for close shots.

One of the first films at the time to use the revolutionary Steadicam camera, the operator has the Steadicam camera strapped to a harness on his body and he can run through corridors or the Overlook maze and the shot stays steady and focused. And in sharp contrast today’s new filmmakers seem to favor the nausea-inducing “shaky-cam” technique.

“The Shining” refers to Danny’s psychic ability, his imaginary friend “Tony” shows Danny events in the past and future. At the end of the novel Tony tells Danny that he is an important part of him, we find out Danny’s middle name is Anthony. Tony is Danny a few years older, “like looking into a magic mirror and seeing himself in ten years".

Jack Torrance: Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in. Not by the hair of your chiny-chin-chin? Well then I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in.

One of the most famous moments in the film is when Jack Torrance is chopping at the door with an axe, peers through a hole, grins and yells “Heeere’s Johnny!” an ad-lib by Jack Nicholson. Living in England since the early 60’s Kubrick didn’t get the Carson Show reference and almost replaced it with something else. In 1980 Johnny Carson opened a special edition of the Tonight Show with that scene from the film.

Kubrick’s 17 year old daughter Vivian was on the set filming a fly-on-the-wall documentary on the making of the film which is included on the DVD and Blu-ray editions of The Shining. Vivian Kubrick can be spotted in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) playing Heywood Floyd’s daughter.

The only special-effects shot in the film was a slow zoom down on to a model of the maze, which closes on a shot of Wendy and Danny walking around the real maze, which was only partially built full size.

Stephen King claimed that Kubrick would ring him up in the middle of the night and ask him questions like whether or not he believed in God.

Kubrick was a perfectionist and some scenes took many takes to shoot before he was satisfied, the scene where Wendy is threatening Jack with a baseball bat took dozens of takes, and Halloran (Scatman Crothers) explaining the “Shining” to Danny is said to have taken 148 takes, which may be a world record.

The scene where Jack kills Halloran with an axe took so many takes, Nicholson begged Kubrick to have pity on old Scatman who eventually broke down and started crying.

The movie ends on a tracking shot towards an old photo on the wall showing a 1920’s party at the Overlook with Jack Torrance in attendance. A real vintage photo was used with Jack Nicholson’s head airbrushed onto someone’s body.

The Shining was cut by 24 minutes in Europe, removing most of the chit-chat between Jack Nicholson and Barry Nelson at the start and other minor characters have been removed completely.

There is a hilarious parody of the film in The Simpsons episode Treehouse of Horror V (1994) a segment titled “The Shinning”. Homer is caretaker at Mr. Burns mansion, he flips and tries to murder his family with an axe.

“Stephen King’s The Shining” was a mini-series shown on TV in 1997, directed by Mick Garris and starring Steven Webber and Rebecca de Mornay. Three episodes and at 273 minutes in total it was more faithful to King’s novel but had none of the style or sheer terror of Kubrick’s film.

The Shining was ranked #29 on the American Film Institutes 100 Greatest Thrillers list, Jack Torrance #25 on the 50 Greatest Villains list and “Heeere’s Johnny!” #68 on the 100 Greatest Quotes List.

Martin Scorsese included the film in his 11 Scariest Movies of all time list, which also includes The Exorcist, The Innocents and Psycho.

The Shining took almost a year to film and cost $19m, it was successful at the box office grossing $44m in the U.S. but it wasn’t as popular as the similarly themed horror film The Amityville Horror released a year earlier, which went on to gross $86m in North America.

Critics reviews were mixed with many hating the film, time has been kinder to Stanley Kubrick’s film with some now calling The Shining a masterpiece of horror, much to Stephen King’s chagrin.

Stanley Kubrick with daughter Vivian
Stanley Kubrick with daughter Vivian

The Critics Wrote –

"With everything to work with, director Stanley Kubrick has teamed with jumpy Jack Nicholson to destroy all that was so terrifying about Stephen King’s bestseller . . . The crazier Nicholson gets, the more idiotic he looks. Shelley Duvall transforms the warm sympathetic wife of the book into a simpering, semi-retarded hysteric... The truly amazing question is why a director of Stanley Kubrick's stature would spend his time and effort on a novel that he changes so much it's barely recognizable, taking away whatever originality it possessed while emphasizing its banality." (Variety)

"Seldom in any film has there been such a blending of the manic and the comic... It makes previous horror pictures look pale and bloodless." (Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)

"The script abandons just about every element that makes Stephen King's novel so effectively atmospheric and horrific (including any believable explanation for 'the shining' itself), replacing it with a banal plot and dialogue to match which might just have passed muster for a run-of-the-mill supernatural second feature. Like all of Kubrick's work, it is technically impeccable and it is a total waste of time, talent and money." (Alan Frank)

"Meticulously detailed and never less than fascinating, The Shining may be the first movie that ever made its audience jump with a title that simply says "Tuesday." (Janet Maslin, New York Times)

"Though taken from a pulp best-seller, by Stephen King, the movie isn't the scary fun one might hope for from a virtuoso technician like Kubrick. It has a promising opening sequence, and there is some spectacular use of the Steadicam, but Kubrick isn't interested in the people on the screen as individuals. They are his archetypes, and he's using them to make a metaphysical statement about the timelessness of evil. He's telling us that man is a murderer through eternity." (Paulene Kael)

“A brilliant, ambitious attempt to shoot a horror film without the Gothic trappings of shadows and cobwebs so often associated with the genre.” (Steve Biodrowski, Cinefantastique)

“The Shining has somehow risen from the ashes of its own bad press to redefine itself not only as a seminal work of the genre, but perhaps the most stately, artful horror movie ever made.” (Peter Bracke, Hi-Def Digest)

The Shining (1980)
The Shining (1980)

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22 comments

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

One of the few horror movies I like. I found the reviews very interesting to read...you are correct it seems they either loved it or hated it. Although The Amityville Horror might have outgrossed it 30 years ago....I think time has turned The Shining into a classic while Amityville has faded away.

I can not imagine anybody but Jack in the lead role...I have seen the King version with Steven Weber....and I think Kubrick did it right....although I did like the Scatman Crothers character being the hero in the book....versus taking an axe to the head. It would be like Donald Pleasance(Malcolm McDowell for your younger readers) finally catching up to Micheal Meyers in Halloween and being instantly killed by The Shape and leaving Jamie Lee Curtis to defend herself.

Loved all the details and trivia you included in this hub...it was a fun and interesting read...which I voted up and interesting....another job well done.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

This is one of only two Stephen King films I have seen (the other is Maximum Overdrive which I saw at a party). Normally, I won't go near a S. King film because it is too gory and scary for me. (I will never see Carrie, despite it being an excellently-made film.) I may at some point see Misery as it is about a writer like this one and look at the ceiling a lot of the time and just *listen* to it like a radio drama. The fact that this film is about a writer is one of the main reasons why I checked it out. Jack was the another.

I have seen this movie multiple times. That is strange for me too considering this is a horror film directed by someone other than Alfred Hitchcock. It must be Jack being in this film as I've seen the original version of Little Shop of Horrors several times too. I have seen lots of films because of the artists involved where the films were not ones that normally I would ever see even one time.

I really can find no fault in the film at all except that it is gory in places (not as much as in other movies) and I don't like goriness. It's ironic that compared to other films by Kubrick it's not that gory-time marches on and audiences expect more gore all the time. And it is hard not to be a fan of The Tonight show and hear Jack say "Here's Johnny" and not think of Ed even though it is a frightening scene.

I will talk about the actors beyond Jack in a separate post and perhaps other things too, as this is a long post already.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Bruce, Flora, thanks for the comments and observations, always appreciated. It's 3am over here and I should be off soon.

Bruce, I read the book ages ago, along with Carrie, The Stand, Salem's Lot. Loved them all, King deserved his success and status in the field of horror.

Flora, I'm glad you did see this one, I thought it might have been a little too scary for you. The Shining is Sandra's favourite horror film and she's always telling me to put the DVD on.

I loved Jack Nicholson in this film, it wouldn't be the same with Jon Voight in the lead.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

Ah, Cogerson beat me! Well, I do tend to be wordy, don't you know. :)

First of all, I must say I forgot in my first comment (and ran out of time to add it) about another King adaptation I have indeed seen-The Shawshank Redemption. I forgot about it, because despite you talking about it, I forget that King wrote it. It does not seem like a King book to me and I never think of it when I think of his career. There is nothing scary about it.

Actors outside of Jack:

Although I know I've seen Shelly Duvall in other films- I see them listed- this is the film I think of when I hear her name. And when I think of the other films of hers I've seen, she is nowhere near the first actors/actresses that come to mind. Sometimes, I've forgotten she was in them.

I have not seen Lloyd's other movie.

Crothers is one of those "famous nameless faces" I see pop up everywhere and always enjoy. I've seen nearly every film of his you list. There are two I'm missing-one is that rather famous one also opposite Jack, and the other is a title unknown to me-Black Belt Jones

Barry Nelson, sadly, I never really appreciated him until after he died. He was a great character actor, but I didn't realize how extensive his career was until he died. Thanks again for finding me that link of him playing James Bond.

Phillip Stone I don't know outside this film.

And what I said about Cruthers I say about Turkel- I see him everywhere and I say "look! There he is again!"

I have not seen the mini-series and have no intention of seeing it.


Raevyn14 profile image

Raevyn14 4 years ago from Tecumseh, Oklahoma

That remains as a very scary film. The story itself is creepy, not to mention the role that jack nicholson had, he perfected it


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Raevyn14, thanks for commenting.

Flora, I'd forgotten Barry Nelson played James Bond and have added it to the hub, an interesting bit of trivia thanks for reminding me.

It's ironic, The Shawshank Redemption is the most highly rated of Stephen King movie adaptations and isn't in the genre he is famous for.

Flora, Philip Stone played Alex's father in A Clockwork Orange, a film you haven't seen yet.

I'll check out your email. Thanks for posting.


autumnstardust profile image

autumnstardust 4 years ago

Very creepy movie. I'm still not sure if i can watch it again.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Redrum! Redrum! Redrum! It is definitely a creepy movie autumnstardust thanks for commenting.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Steve, great hub, great pics! I don't like all of Stephen King's adaptations but this one is one of the best. It is the ultimate slow burner and Jack Nicholson is just brilliant in it. Mind you, I might happily have taken a baseball bat to Shelly Duval, she does so much screaming! I have only seen it 3 times I think, my husband would hapily watch it once or twice a year but like Flora, it makes me too edgy to watch it even when I know what's going to happen so once every few years is enough for me.

Voted up! Etc,etc,


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks Jools, appreciate the comment and votes.

Stanley Kubrick gave Shelley Duvall a really hard time during filming, she would sometimes overhear him tell people that she wasn't doing a good job, that she was an awful actress and that he might have to fire her.

Kubrick was doing this on purpose to help her performance, making her look worried and nervous all the time.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Poor Shelly, I will let her off then for the screaming, poor thing. Yes, Kubrick was a strange fish. I watched a fascinating programme about him on BBC4 I thnk about the fact he may have had OCD. He kept every single note, script, memo, scraps of paper and whatever about all of his movies and they are now in the hands of a film archivist but there are literally thousands of them to sort through. He also kept props etc. I hope that the archivist writes a book about them in the future.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Hmmm I'd love to rummage through Kubricks notes and movie files Jools. Interesting, I'd buy that book if it ever appears. Maybe in the form of the 'Vault' books that are the rage now.

I have one of those on Hitchcock which includes replicas of his birth and marriage certificates, studio notes, script pages, storyboards etc all included in envelopes inside the book.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

I'd love to own those types of movie memorabilia. As part of the anniversary year for To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the TCM offers was a copy of the notebook that Peck carried around and used for his notes during the making of the film. That and the Hitchcock notebook are good examples of what I'd buy if I had money to spare. What a treasure!


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Hi Flora, good to see you're still with us. That Hitchcock book is available at Amazon.com at about $30 it's called Hitchcock Piece by Piece. the replicas of files, notes, certificates are cool to have and there are plenty of rare family photos I've never seen before. But the text of the book held no real surprises. I've read it all before in my numerous Hitchcock books.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great hub. When The Shining came out in 1980 it scared the heck out of me. It's to this day one of my personal favorite films of all times. Additionally, it has one of the best film scores ever!...

Voted up

John


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks John, appreciate the comment and vote. One of my top favourites too. And it starts off with one of my favourite bits of classical music, Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Hi Steve; As much as I enjoy the "Shining", I agree with what Steven King says. As a writer,I can sympathize with his anger at having his work altered. I recently had a graphic novel released and I was peeved at the changes made in it.

I met Joe Turkle once. He spoke to me briefly about "Bladerunner". Nice guy.

Fun hub,

Rob


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Hi Rob, thanks for commenting. Hollywood has been altering the writer's work since the beginning. The Shining would have been 3 hours at least if they were faithful to the book, and King did get his chance to put more of his book on film in the TV miniseries.

As for graphic novels, I thought the authors had more control over the content, no?


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Steve; Writer's with clout do. Minor writer's sometimes have to bend with the breeze.

Rob


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

You should write a hub about your experiences producing a graphic novel, it should be interesting.


thatmovieguy71 4 years ago

I was one who did not like The Shining upon my first viewing. I had read the novel previously and was very disappointed at the significant changes that Kubrick made. I also did not think Nicholson was right for the role - he appeared too crazy too soon. But over the years I have come to appreciate this movie more and more. In fact I would now regard it as one of the best horror movies ever made. I finally learned to separate the movie from the novel. Once I did that my fondness for The Shining grew significantly.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

I know Stephen King has warmed to Kubrick's movie over the years, he no longer spits at the mention of it, though I've heard a photo of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance is still attached to his dart board. :)

Thanks for posting.

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