Produced in 1980, The Shining Film is a psychological horror based on The Same Name, a novel written by Stephen King in 1977. This film was produced by Stanley Kubrick, who is also its director, and it was co-written by Diane Johnson, a renowned American essayist and novelist. The Shining Film was stared by Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd and Jack Nicholson. This is a very inspiring as well an informative film that features many characters as well are going to learn in this article. Let us stay together as we delve deeper into the plot, the cast and everything about all the characters in this awe-inspiring film.
Jack Torrance is the central character in this film. Jack assumes the position of an upcoming writer, a rehabilitating alcoholic, as well as the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, an isolated fragment that stands as a statement of history in Colorado Rockies. He is featured together with wife Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) and Danny Torrance (Lloyd), their young son. This boy Danny has unique shining psychic capabilities, making him see into the terrifying past of the Overlook Hotel. There is a telepathic communication between Danny and Dick Hallorann, the cook of this hotel. In this plot, the hotel had a winter caretaker that killed all of his family and committed suicide after running mad. After the storm that is experienced in that winter, the Torrances are left completely snowbound as Jack’s sanity keeps deteriorating under the impact of the hotel’s supernatural powers. This endangers the life of Jack’s son and wife.
The Shining Film was almost exclusively produced by the EMI Elstree studios, with setting of real locations. Furthermore, Kubrick used to work in the companion of a small team. This allowed him to act in many positions, including the exhaustion of the films staff and the actors. Several scenes were shot using the newly made Steadicam mount, which made the film to look immersive and innovative. Much speculations have been surrounding the actions and their meanings in this film. This is mainly due to the ambiguities, inconsistencies, symbolisms, as well as the differences that are existent in the book.
In its release, there were various versions of this film. The versions took shorter than the preceding one, with all of them running for 27 minutes. The film was received by a mix of reactions, with Stephen King criticizing it, citing the deviations that occurred from the novel on which it was based. Additionally, there has been a favorable critical opinion that is also a staple and the basis of the pop culture. The film was selected in 2018 to be preserved in the National Film Registry of the United States. This selection was made by the Library of Congress because the film was historically, aesthetically or culturally significant. The sequel to the Shining known as Doctor Sleep came to the scene on November 8, 2019, and October 31, 2019, after it was released in the US and Europe, respectively.
The Plot of the Shining Film
As the film begins, Jack Torrance, the writer, arrives for an interview for the winter caretaker position in the Overlook Hotel. This hotel was opened in 1909 and was erected on the Native American's burial ground site. It remains closed during the months that are filled with snow, and Jack plans to use it as his writing hideout because of its isolation from the public. However, a warning the status of this hotel is given by Stuart Ullman, the manager. Charles Grady, the hotel’s former caretaker, is said to have murdered his family as well as himself after running insane. However, this does not dissuade Jack, who goes ahead and accepts the job because he is well-impressed with the hotel. Danny Torrance, Jack's young son, is having a premonition regarding the Overlook Hotel, while his mother and Jack's wife, Wendy, informs the Doctor about Tony, Danny's friend of imagination. Furthermore, Wendy makes a revelation concerning Jack, claiming that he is a reforming alcoholic. Jack is said to have injured his son Danny while drunk in a previous incident.
Jack and his family succeed in relocating to the Overlook Hotel. Dick Hallorann, the head cook of this hotel, surprises Danny when he telepathically offers the boy an ice cream. Furthermore, Hallorann narrates that himself and the Danny’s grandmother had a thing in common – they both had ‘shining’, a unique telepathic ability. Danny learns from Dick Hallorann that the Overlook Hotel is known for having a shine, as well as its own memories. Dick further warns Danny to always avoid room 237, one of the rooms of the hotel. After a month of staying in this hotel, the writing of Jack seems to be headed nowhere. However, Danny and his mother Wendy are really obsessed with exploring the hotel, while Hallorann leaves for Florida. It is during this in-depth exploration of the hotel that Wendy discovers the phone lines are all out after being tampered by the heavy snowfall. The mental health of Jack keeps deteriorating, and he grows prone to violent, non-stop outbursts. Danny is constantly frightened with horrible visions, especially about the room 237 as he discovers the door. On one occasion, Wendy finds Jack screaming from a nightmare while asleep beside his typewriter. On being awakened, Jack claims that he saw himself kill his wife Wendy and their young son Danny. While the two are conversing, Danny comes, having bruises and visibly traumatized. For this reason, Wendy accuses her husband Jack, that he abused Danny, a claim that Jack distances himself from.
While wandering about in the Gold Room of the Overlook Hotel, Jacks bumps into Lloyd, the ghostly bartender. Jack complains to Lloyd about the problems he is encountering in his marriage. Wendy reveals to Jack that their son Danny met an insane woman in room 237, who tried to strangle the boy. When Jack learns of this, he explores room 237, which leads him to find a ghost of a dead woman, though he says nothing about this to his wife, Wendy. This makes Jack and Wendy argue over whether their son Danny should be moved out of the hotel. On returning to the Gold Room, Jack finds a group of ghosts watching a ball. Also, Jack meets and gets introduced to Delbert Grady, the ghostly waiter. It is from this ghost that Jack learns about his son Danny reaching out to Hallorann through his unique talent. The ghost further instructs Jack to correct his child and wife. Hallorann jets back to Colorado, after sensing the fear that grips Danny through telepathy.
Wendy finds out that Jack had been busy typing many pages with a common phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” For this reason, Wendy beseeches Jack to move out of the hotel together with their son Danny, but Jacks instead threatens her. This drives Wendy to use a baseball bat and hit Jack on the head, making him unconscious, and she ends up locking him in the hotel’s kitchen pantry. However, Wendy and Danny become trapped in the hotel because Jack has disabled the radio system, as well as the snowcat of the whole hotel. Jack manages to talk with Grady through the door of the pantry, and Grady opens the door and frees Jack.
On the other hand, Danny keeps on chanting as he constantly draws “REDRUM.” When reversed, this word reads “MURDER”, something that Wendy discovers in the mirror of the bedroom. Using an axe, Jack manages to hack through the main door of the quarters, and Wendy makes Danny leave the quarters through the window in the bathroom. However, Wendy herself remains trapped in the hotel. When Jacks makes his way into the door, Wendy slashes one of his hands using a knife, making him retreat. Hallorann arrives in s snowcat, only to be ambushed and murdered in the lobby, who proceeds to pursue his son Danny in the hotel's hedge maze. When Wendy runs around in the hotel in search of Danny, she is encountered with ghosts, Hallorann's corpse and the blood envisioned by Danny in the boulder. Danny manages to escape Jack by leaving behind a false trail, which misleads Jack. Danny hides himself behind the hotel's snowdrift.
After Danny escaping from the hedge maze and meeting Wendy, they both leave the hotel using Hallorann's snowcat. As Jack is left behind in the maze, he ends up freezing to death. There is photograph in the hotel's hallway showing Jack standing amid 1921 party revellers.
The following is a list of characters that played various roles in the Shining Film:
- Jack Nicholson, who played as Jack Torrance
- Shelley Duvall, playing as Wendy Torrance.
- Danny Lloyd, playing as Danny Torrance
- Scatman Crothers, playing as Dick Hallorann
- Barry Nelson, playing as Stuart Ullman
- Philip Stone, playing as Delbert Grady
- Joe Turkel, playing as Lloyd
- Anne Jackson, playing as Doctor
- Tony Burton, playing as Larry Durkin
- Barry Dennen, playing as Bill Watson
- Robbin Pappas, playing as Nurse
The scenes featuring Burton and Jackson were all removed in the UK cut, though the credits were untouched. Also, the European version of this film features Dennen but with no conversation, and the on-screen is limited. The shining twins, Louise and Lisa Burns played as the daughters to Grady. They were featured as the two ghosts that were murdered. However, in the book as well as the film script, the two characters were simply sisters and not real twins. This is clearly brought out in the dialogue in the film, as Mr Ullman suggest that the two girls are aged ten and eight. Several actors in this film stage a resemblance between the twins in the photograph taken by Diane Arbus, and the two Grady girls. These actors include Patricia Bosworth, the assistant of Kubrick who also coached the girls, Leon Vitali, and several other Kubrick critics. Kubrick met and took photography classes under the Louise and Lisa Arbus during his time as a photographer, working for Look Magazine. However, the widow to Kubrick denies intentionally modelling these two Grady girls as they appear on the photograph taken by Arbus. This is despite the notable resemblance between the girls.
Before the production of The Shining, the film Barry Lyndon (1975) was directed by Kubrick. This film featured an Irishman that tries to join the British aristocracy. It gained some achievement but could not make sell highly in the US, as it was heavily criticized for being both slow and too long. This made Kubrick decide on making another film that came out commercially successful and artistically fulfilling. To achieve this, he had to immerse himself in large volumes of horror books, according to Stephen King. Kubrick read many books of this kind, rejecting any that was not appealing just after reading the first several pages. Eventually, according to Kubrick's secretary, he found interest in reading The Shining and later concluded that there is something wrong about the personality of human beings. According to Kubrick, a human being has an evil and dark side that can be seen without directly being confronted. These archetypes that are deep-seated in the unconscious can be brought out through horror stories.
When it came to selecting the various actors in The Shining, Kubrick saw Nicholson as the best person for the position of Jack Torrance. The other actors in this film included Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford and Robin Williams. However, these three actors encountered disapproval from Stephen King. The search for the right person for the Danny position involved conducting interviews with more than 5000 boys within 6 months in three cities, including Chicago, Cincinnati and Denver. Kubrick wanted to find a boy with an accent that was a combination of the speech patterns of Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson.
Interior sets - Having decided to use the King’s novel in coming up with a film and after pre-production, Kubrick engineered set construction on the soundstages at the EMI Elstree Studios, which are located in Hertfordshire's Borehamwood, England. Several Overlook Hotel interior designs were based on the ones in the Ahwahnee Hotel, found in Yosemite National Park. Kubrick had to shoot the scenes in The Shining in chronological order. To achieve this, he had to use several EMI Elstree Studio stages so that all the sets could be available in the entire production duration. During that time, the Overlook Hotel was the largest at Elstree. This set had a recreation that was life-size to the hotel’s exterior. The production of The Shining was delayed in 1979 as the Elstree set was grossly damaged as a result of a fire.
Exterior locations – Most of the film’s interior shots, as well as some other exterior shots of the Overlook Hotel were taken on the sets of the studios. However, a number of exterior shots were captured on the location by another unit-crew working under Jan Harlan. The Wild Goose Island and Saint Mary Lake, both located in Montana's Glacier National Park acted as the location from aerial shots were captured to show the scenes in the opening of the film. Furthermore, Timberline Lodge, found on Oregon's Mount Hood, was captured for a number of the establishing shots to show the fictional Overlook Hotel, with the only feature absent being the maze.
The production period of The Shining was very arduous, long and involved lengthy workdays. The methodical approach used by Kubrick resulted in more than one year for the completion of the principal photography. Also, there were occasions on which Kubrick argued with Shelley Duvall about her way of acting, some of the lines used in the script, among other related issues. As a resulting of the stressing nature of her role in The Shining, Duvall grew sick and remain ill for several months. The stress was so overwhelming for her that the hair on her head started to fall off. This stress was made worse by the constant changes in the script shooting, which could be made even several times in a day. Nicholson even used to throw away some of the copies given to him to memorize because he knew they would just be changed. According to Joe Turkel, the scene in the bar was rehearsed for six weeks, while the actual shooting day lasted between 9 am and 10.30 pm. On this shooting day, Turkel admits that all his clothes ended up being soaked in sweat, though this was his favorite scene in the film.
In the last sequence of the Gold Room, Kubrick gave instructions to the extras through the megaphone to the mime each conversation between each other. From Kubrick's experience due to his long term-term exposure to a myriad of films, he well understood that extras had the capability of communicating through miming and gesture-nodding, even through the use of gestures that in the long run were fake. For this reason, Kubrick had to direct the extras to utilize the sense of a chilling time-tripping sense of realism that depicts Jack moving from his seventies to his early twenties.
When it came to the versions of The Shining on the international scenes, Kubrick had to take the captions of Wendy as she sat reading the pages of the typewriter in various pages. There were different idioms used for each of the versions. It is well known that the door that was chopped by Jack in this film was real, though Kubrick intended it to be fake.
The Shining is one of the films to use Steadicam, a technology that is designed to separate the camera from the movement of the operator. As a result, the Steadicam can do the tracking of the shots while the operator moves on any uniform surface. With this technology, you can easily combine the steady and stable footage of any amount that is regular with a handled camera that exhibits flexibility and fluidity. Actually, Steadicam was invented by Garrett Brown, who was also very participative in the production of The Shining and, according to this heavily operative actor, he tethers his excitement to the first tours in the scenes in this informative film. Due to this tour, Brown became personally involved with The Shining's production. Kubrick was not just talking of stunt shots and staircases. Instead, he would use the Steadicam "as it was intended to be used, as a tool which can help get the lens where it's wanted in space and time without the classic limitations of the dolly and crane". Brown used an 18 mm Cooke lens that allowed the Steadicam to pass within an inch of walls and door frames. Brown published an article in American Cinematographer about his experience and contributed to the audio commentary on the 2007 DVD release.
Kubrick personally aided in modifying the Steadicam's video transmission technology. Brown states his own abilities to operate the Steadicam were refined by working on Kubrick's film. For this film, Brown developed a two-handed technique, which enabled him to maintain the camera at one height while panning and tilting the camera. In addition to tracking shots from behind, the Steadicam allowed shooting in constricted rooms without flying out walls or backing the camera into doors. Brown notes that:
One of the most talked-about shots in the picture is the eerie tracking sequence which follows Danny as he pedals at high speed through corridor after corridor on his plastic Big Wheel tricycle. The soundtrack explodes with noise when the wheel is on wooden flooring and is abruptly silent as it crosses over the carpet. We needed to have the lens just a few inches from the floor and to travel rapidly just behind or ahead of the bike.
This required the Steadicam to be on a special mount resembling a wheelchair, in which the operator sat while pulling a platform with the sound man. The weight of the rig and its occupants proved to be too much for the original tires, resulting in a blowout one day that almost caused a serious crash. Solid tires were then mounted on the rig. Kubrick also had a highly accurate speedometer mounted on the rig so as to duplicate the exact tempo of a given shot so that Brown could perform successive identical takes. Brown also discusses how the scenes in the hedge maze were shot with a Steadicam.
The stylistically modernist art-music chosen by Kubrick is similar to the repertoire he first explored. Although the repertoire was selected by Kubrick, the process of matching passages of music to motion picture was left almost entirely at the discretion of editors Gordon Stain forth, whose work on this film is known for the attention to fine details and remarkably precise synchronization without excessive splicing.
The soundtrack album on LP was withdrawn due to problems with licensing of the music. The LP soundtrack omits some pieces heard in the film and also included complete versions of fragments of which only fragments are heard in the film.
The non-original music on the soundtrack is as follows:
- Dies Irae segment from Symphonie fantastique by Hector Berlioz, performed by Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind
- Lontano by György Ligeti, Ernest Bour conducting the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra (Wergo Records)
- "Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta" by Béla Bartók, Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Deutsche Grammophon)
- "Utrenja" – excerpts from the "Ewangelia" and "Kanon Paschy" movements by Krzysztof Penderecki, Andrzej Markowski conducting the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra (Polskie Nagrania Records)
- "The Awakening of Jacob", "De Natura Sonoris No. 1" (the latter not on the soundtrack album, Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Henryk Czyż) and "De Natura Sonoris No. 2" by Krzysztof Penderecki (Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Andrzej Markowski, Polskie Nagrania Records)
- "Home", performed by Henry Hall and the Gleneagles Hotel Band (Columbia Records)
- "Midnight, the Stars and You" by Al Bowlly, performed by Ray Noble and His Orchestra
- "It's All Forgotten Now" by Al Bowlly, performed by Ray Noble and His Orchestra (not on the soundtrack album)
- "Masquerade", performed by Jack Hylton and His Orchestra (not on the soundtrack)
- "Kanon (for string orchestra)" by Krzysztof Penderecki (not on the soundtrack)
- "Polymorphia (for string orchestra)" by Krzysztof Penderecki, Cracow Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Henryk Czyż (not on the soundtrack)
Upon their arrival at Elstree Studios, Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind were shown the first version of the film by Kubrick: "The film was a little on the long side. There were great gobs of scenes that never made it to the film. There was a whole strange and mystical scene in which Jack Nicholson discovers objects that have been arranged in his working space in the ballroom with arrows and things. He walks down and thinks he hears a voice and a ghost throws a ball back to him. None of that made it to the final film. We scored a lot of those. We didn't know what was going to be used for sure. After having something similar happen to her on Clockwork Orange, Carlos has said that she was so disillusioned by Kubrick's actions that she vowed never to work with him again. Her own music was released in its near entirety in 2005 as part of her Rediscovering Lost Scores compilation.
Unlike Kubrick's previous works, which developed audiences gradually through word-of-mouth, The Shining initially opened on 10 screens in New York City and Los Angeles on the Memorial Day weekend, then was released as a mass-market film nationwide within a month. The European release of The Shining a few months later was 25 minutes shorter due to Kubrick's removal of most of the scenes taking place outside the environs of the hotel.
After its premiere and a week into the general run (with a running time of 146 minutes), Kubrick cut a scene at the end that took place in a hospital. The scene shows Wendy in a bed talking with Mr. Ullman who explains that Jack's body could not be found; he then gives Danny a yellow tennis ball, presumably the same one that Jack was throwing around the hotel. This scene was subsequently physically cut out of prints by projectionists and sent back to the studio by order of Warner Bros., the film's distributor. This cut the film's running time to 144 minutes. Roger Ebert commented:
If Jack did indeed freeze to death in the labyrinth, of course, his body was found – and sooner rather than later, since Dick Hallorann alerted the forest rangers to serious trouble at the hotel. If Jack's body was not found, what happened to it? Was it never there? Was it absorbed into the past and does that explain Jack's presence in that final photograph of a group of hotel party-goers in 1921? Did Jack's violent pursuit of his wife and child exist entirely in Wendy's imagination, or Danny's, or theirs? ... Kubrick was wise to remove that epilogue. It pulled one rug too many out from under the story. At some level, it is necessary for us to believe the three members of the Torrance family are actually residents in the hotel during that winter, whatever happens or whatever they think happens.
For its release in Europe, Kubrick cut about 25 minutes from the film. The excised scenes included: a longer meeting between Jack and Watson at the hotel; Danny being attended by a doctor. Including references to Tony and how Jack once injured Danny in a drunken rage; more footage of Hallorann's attempts to get to the hotel during the snowstorm, including a sequence with a garage attendant; extended dialogue scenes at the hotel; and a scene where Wendy discovers a group of skeletons in the hotel lobby during the climax. Jackson and Burton are credited in the European print, despite their scenes having been excised from the movie. According to Harlan, Kubrick decided to cut some sequences because the film was "not very well received", and also after Warner Brothers had complained about its ambiguity and length.
The scene when Jack writes obsessively on the typewriter "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" was re-shot several times, but changing the language of the typed copy to Italian, French, Spanish, and German, to match the respective dubbed languages.
In the Italian version, Nicholson was dubbed by voice actor Giancarlo Giannini.
Two alternative takes were used in a British television commercial.
Film critic Jonathan Romney writes that the film has been interpreted in many ways, including addressing the topics of the crisis in masculinity, sexism, corporate America, and racism. "It's tempting to read The Shining as an Oedipal struggle not just between generations but between Jack's culture of the written word and Danny's culture of images", Romney writes, "Jack also uses the written word to more mundane purpose – to sign his 'contract' with the Overlook. 'I gave my word', ... which we take to mean 'gave his soul' in the ... Faustian sense. But maybe he means it more literally – by the end ... he has renounced language entirely, pursuing Danny through the maze with an inarticulate animal roar. What he has entered into is a conventional business deal that places commercial obligation ... over the unspoken contract of compassion and empathy that he seems to have neglected to sign with his family. These interpretations inspired the 2012 documentary Room 237, directed by Rodney Ascher, which shows interpretations and myths about the film.
Among interpreters who see the film reflecting more subtly the social concerns that animate other Kubrick films, one of the earliest viewpoints were discussed in an essay by ABC reporter Bill Blakemore entitled "Kubrick's 'Shining' Secret: Film's Hidden Horror Is The Murder Of The Indian", first published in The Washington Post on July 12, 1987. He believes that indirect references to American killings of Native Americans permeate the film, as exemplified by the Amerindian logos on the baking powder in the kitchen and the Amerindian artwork that appears throughout the hotel, though no Native Americans are seen. Stuart Ullman tells Wendy that when building the hotel, a few Indian attacks had to be fended off since it was constructed on an Indian burial ground.
Blakemore's general argument is that the film is a metaphor for the genocide of Native Americans. He notes that when Jack kills Hallorann, the dead body is seen lying on a rug with an Indian motif. The blood in the elevator shafts is, for Blakemore, the blood of the Indians in the burial ground on which the hotel was built. The date of the final photograph, July 4, is meant to be ironic.
As with some of his other movies, Kubrick ends The Shining with a powerful visual puzzle that forces the audience to leave the theatre, asking, "What was that all about?" The Shining ends with a too-long camera shot moving down a hallway in the Overlook, reaching the central photo among 21 photos on the wall, each capturing previous good times in the hotel eventually. At the head of the party is none other than the Jack we had just seen in 1980. The caption reads: "Overlook Hotel – July 4 Ball – 1921." The answer to this puzzle, which is a master key to unlocking the whole movie, is that most Americans overlook the fact that July 4 was no ball, nor any kind of Independence day, for native Americans; that the weak American villain of the film is the re-embodiment of the American men who massacred the Indians in earlier years; that Kubrick is examining and reflecting on a problem that cuts through the decades and centuries.
Film writer John Capo sees the film as an allegory of American imperialism. This is exemplified by many clues, such as the closing photo of Jack in the past at a 4th of July party, or Jack's earlier reference to the Rudyard Kipling poem "The White Man's Burden", which was written to advocate the American colonial seizure of the Philippine islands, justifying imperial conquest as a mission-of-civilization. Jack's line has been interpreted as referring to alcoholism, from which he suffers.
Geoffrey Cocks and Kubrick's concern with the Holocaust
Film historian Geoffrey Cocks has extended Blakemore's idea that the film has a subtext about Native Americans by arguing that the film indirectly reflects Stanley Kubrick's concerns about the Holocaust (Both Cocks' book and Michael Herr's memoir of Kubrick discuss how he wanted his entire life to make a film dealing directly with the Holocaust but could never quite make up his mind). Cocks, writing in his book The Wolf at the Door: Stanley Kubrick, History and the Holocaust, proposed a controversial theory that all of Kubrick's work is informed by the Holocaust; there is, he says, a holocaust subtext in The Shining. This, Cocks believes, is why Kubrick's screenplay goes to emotional extremes, omitting much of the novel's supernaturalism and making the character of Wendy much more hysteria-prone. Cocks places Kubrick's vision of a haunted hotel in line with a long literary tradition of hotels in which sinister events occur, from Stephen Crane's short story "The Blue Hotel" (which Kubrick admired) to the Swiss Berghof in Thomas Mann's novel The Magic Mountain, about a snowbound sanatorium high in the Swiss Alps in which the protagonist witnesses a series of events which are a microcosm of the decline of Western culture. In keeping with this tradition, Kubrick's film focuses on domesticity and the Torrances' attempt to use this imposing building as a home which Jack Torrance describes as "homey".
Cocks claims that Kubrick has elaborately coded many of his historical concerns into the film with manipulations of numbers and colors and his choice of musical numbers, many of which are post-war compositions influenced by the horrors of World War II. Of particular note is Kubrick's use of Penderecki's The Awakening of Jacob to accompany Jack Torrance's dream of killing his family and Danny's vision of past carnage in the hotel, a piece of music originally associated with the horrors of the Holocaust. Kubrick's pessimistic ending in contrast to Stephen King's optimistic one is in keeping with the motifs that Kubrick wove into the story.
Cocks's work has been anthologized and discussed in other works on Stanley Kubrick films, though sometimes with scepticism. Julian Rice, writing in the opening chapter of his book Kubrick's Hope, believes Cocks's views are excessively speculative and contain too many strained "critical leaps" of faith. Rice holds that what went on in Kubrick's mind cannot be replicated or corroborated beyond a broad vision of the nature of good and evil (which included concern about the Holocaust), but Kubrick's art is not governed by this one obsession. Diane Johnson, co-screenwriter for The Shining, commented on Cocks's observations, saying that preoccupation with the Holocaust on Kubrick's part could very likely have motivated his decision to place the hotel on a Native American burial ground, although Kubrick never directly mentioned it to her.
Comparison Between the Shining and the Novel
The film differs from the novel significantly with regard to characterization and motivation of action. The most obvious differences are those regarding the personality of Jack Torrance (the source of much of author Stephen King's dissatisfaction with the film).]
Motivation of ghosts
In the film, the motive of the ghosts is apparently to "reclaim" Jack (although Grady expresses an interest in Danny's "shining" ability), who seems to be a reincarnation of a previous caretaker of the hotel, as suggested by the 1920s photograph of Jack at the end of the film and Jack's repeated claims to have "not just a déjà vu". The film is even more focused on Jack (as opposed to Danny) than the novel.
The room number 217 has been changed to 237. Timberline Lodge, located on Mt. Hood in Oregon, was used for the exterior shots of the fictional Overlook Hotel. The Lodge requested that Kubrick not depict Room 217 (featured in the book) in The Shining, because future guests at the Lodge might be afraid to stay there, and a nonexistent room, 237, was substituted in the film. Contrary to the hotel's expectations, Room 217 is requested more often than any other room at Timberline.
There are fringe analyses relating this number change to rumours that Kubrick faked the first moon landing, as there are approximately 237,000 miles between the Earth and the Moon (average is 238,855 miles, and claiming that the film is a subtle confession of his involvement.] Another theory posits an obsession with the number 42 in the film, and the product of the digits in 237 is 42.
The novel initially presents Jack as likeable and well-intentioned, yet haunted by the demons of alcohol and authority issues. Nonetheless, he becomes gradually overwhelmed by what he sees as the evil forces in the hotel. At the novel's conclusion, it is suggested that the evil hotel forces have possessed Jack's body and proceeded to destroy all that is left of his mind during a final showdown with Danny. He leaves a monstrous entity that Danny can divert while he, Wendy and Dick Hallorann escape. The film's Jack is established as somewhat sinister much earlier in the story and dies differently. Jack kills Dick Hallorann in the film, but only wounds him in the novel. King attempted to talk Stanley Kubrick out of casting Jack Nicholson even before filming began, because he seemed vaguely sinister from the very beginning of the film, and had suggested Jon Voight among others for the role.
Only in the novel does Jack hear the haunting, heavy-handed voice of his father, with whom he had a troubled relationship. In both, the novel and film, Jack's encounter with the ghostly bartender are pivotal to Jack's deterioration. However, the novel gives much more detail about Jack's problems with drinking and alcohol.
The film prolongs Jack's struggle with writer's block. Kubrick's co-screenwriter Diane Johnson believes that in King's novel, Jack's discovery of the scrapbook of clippings in the boiler room of the hotel, which gives him new ideas for a novel, catalyzes his possession by the ghosts of the hotel, while at the same time unblocking his writing. Jack is no longer a blocked writer but now filled with energy. In her contribution to the screenplay, Johnson wrote an adaptation of this scene, which to her regret Kubrick later excised, as she felt this left the father's changeless motivated. Kubrick showed Jack's continued blockage quite late in the film with the "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" scene, which does not appear in the novel.
Stephen King stated on the DVD commentary of the 1997 miniseries of The Shining that the character of Jack Torrance was partially autobiographical, as he was struggling with both alcoholism and unprovoked rage toward his family at the time of writing. Tony Magistrale wrote about Kubrick's version of Jack Torrance in Hollywood's Stephen King:
Kubrick's version of Torrance is much closer to the tyrannical Hal and Alex than he is to King's more conflicted, more sympathetically human characterization.
From Thomas Allen Nelson's Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist's Maze: "When Jack moves through the reception area on his way to a 'shining' over the model maze, he throws a yellow tennis ball past a stuffed bear and Danny's Big Wheel, which rests on the very spot (a Navajo circle design) where Hallorann will be murdered." Jack's tennis ball mysteriously rolls into Danny's circle of toy cars just before the boy walks through the open door of Room 237.
Danny Torrance is considerably more open about his supernatural abilities in the novel, discussing them with strangers such as his Doctor. In the film, he is quite secretive about them even with his prime mentor Dick Hallorann, who also has these abilities. The same is true of Dick Hallorann, who in his journey back to the Overlook in the book, talks with others with the "shining" ability, while in the film he lies about his reason for returning to the Overlook. Danny in the novel is generally portrayed as unusually intelligent across the board. In the film, he is more ordinary, though with a preternatural gift.
Although Danny has supernatural powers in both versions, the novel makes it clear that his apparent imaginary friend "Tony" really is a projection of hidden parts of his own psyche, though heavily amplified by Danny's psychic "shining" abilities. At the end it is revealed that Danny Torrance's middle name is "Anthony".
Wendy Torrance in the film is relatively meek, submissive, passive, gentle, and mousy; this is shown by the way she defends Jack even in his absence to the Doctor examining Danny. It is implied that she has perhaps been abused by Jack as well. In the novel, she is a far more self-reliant and independent personality, who is tied to Jack in part by her poor relationship with her parents. In the novel, she never displays hysteria or collapses the way she does in the film, but remains cool and self-reliant. Writing in Hollywood's Stephen King, author Tony Magistrale writes about the miniseries remake:
De Mornay restores much of the steely resilience found in the protagonist of King's novel, and this is particularly noteworthy when compared to Shelley Duvall's exaggerated portrayal of Wendy as Olive Oyl revisited: A simpering fatality of forces beyond her capacity to understand, much less surmount.
Co-screenwriter Diane Johnson stated that in her contributions to the script, Wendy had more dialogue and that Kubrick cut many of her lines, possibly due to his dissatisfaction with actress Shelley Duvall's delivery. Johnson believes that the earlier draft of the script portrayed Wendy as a more rounded character.
In the novel, Jack's interviewer, Ullman, is highly authoritarian, a kind of snobbish martinet. The film's Ullman is far more humane and concerned about Jack's well-being, as well as smooth and self-assured. Only in the novel does Ullman state that he disapproves of hiring Jack but higher authorities have asked that Jack be hired. Ullman's bossy nature in the novel is one of the first steps in Jack's deterioration, whereas, in the film, Ullman serves largely as an expositor.
In Stanley Kubrick and the Art of Adaptation, author Greg Jenkins writes "A toadish figure in the book, Ullman has been utterly reinvented for the film; he now radiates charm, grace and gentility."
From Kubrick: Inside a Film Artist's Maze: Ullman tells Jack that the hotel's season runs from May 15 to October 30, meaning that the Torrances moved in on Halloween (October 31). On Ullmann's desk next to a small American flag sits a metal cup containing pencils and a pen – and a miniature replica of an axe.