Stanley Kubrick

The Shining came out in 1980 and directed by Stanley Kubrick . Kubrick is known as one of the greatest filmmakers to ever live. He ranks second on the IMDb list for best 100 directors of all time . Some of his other work includes: A Clockwork Orange , Full Metal Jacket , and 2001: A Space Odyssey . His films were usually adaptations of novels and short stories. He just made them come to real life by adding some of the greatest cinematography to ever come to the big screen. Kubrick's films covered a variety of genres, including war, crime, romantic, black comedies, horror, epic and science fiction. Kubrick was also known for being a perfectionist, using painstaking care with scene staging and working closely with his actors.


Young Stanley Kubrick


Stanley Kubrick  was born on July 26, 1928 in Manhattan, New York. When he was thirteen, his dad bought him his first still shot camera. During high school Kubrick was known for skipping classes to go and watch movies. His accumulative grade through his high school career was a 67. In 1946 he was chosen as the schools official photographer. He began to take evening classes at the City College of New York to study up on photography. To make money he sold some photos to Look Magazine. He was often seen in the Washington Square Park playing chess for quarters. He eventually became an apprentice photographer for Look Magazine.


Stanley Kubrick filming The Shining

          There are some very interesting facts about The Shining. Many moviegoers have turned some of these facts into strange conspiracy theories. In the script of The Shining and the novel the murder room was room number 217. The Timberline Lodge that Kubrick was filming in said he needed to change the number in fear of people not wanting to stay in that room. So Kubrick changed the room number to 237. Many conspiracy theories arose after the movie being along for a while on to why Kubrick decided to choose 237 as the number. Some believe it is a reference to Kubrick being behind the filming of the ‘fake moon landing.’ People believe he changed the number from 217 to 237 because the moon is approximately 237,000 miles away from the earth. In the movie Jack Nicholson says to his son “It’s just like pictures in a book, Danny, it isn’t real” which apparently refers to the moon landing being fake.



As for the cinematography in The Shining it was done by a man by the name of John Alcott. Alcott had worked with Kubrick on a various number of other films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange (which he won Best Cinematographer for).

In The Shining we see a lot of Long tracking shots, wide angel shots, and extremely low camera angles. This is made to portray a suspenseful and claustrophobic type of imagery within the hotel. The long sweeping dolly shots of the massive empty hotel rooms and corridors gives a sense of isolation and abandonment to express to the viewer that isolation can lead a person to psychological insanity.

In the beginning of the film, we see long shots of an abandoned mountainside. The shot seems to be flying by helicopter but is supposed to give the viewer the sense that we are the all mighty overseer of this film and that only our minds can write the eerie meaning in our brains.


Shots like this low tracking one of Danny were created by strapping a camera to a three man cart created by one of Kubrick's camera men.

The long, low, and wide tracking shots of Danny going throughout the hotel on the big wheel make the hotel seem 

like a maze in itself. As if the hotel were a labyrinth that no one can escape.

The lighting in any horror film or psychological horror film, as The Shining, is very key to how the director and cinematographer want the audience to feel when viewing a scene. In many scenes the lighting acts under either a fluorescent lighting or a natural light from the hotels windows. The coloring of the film has a red tint in it. Which could represent the passion or maybe just the blood. The color red is used in many things and can be detected multiple times throughout the film. It is very symbolic when used and emphasizes the emotions in the film.

In my opinion this is one of the most beautifully shot movies. Mainly because I love long shots that show an abundance of emotion in the characters and let the actors do the work. Another reason is because Kubrick is a perfectionist and would sometimes take him up to 74 times to get a certain shot perfect. Although this would drive his workers and actors insane, he didn’t upset his fans when putting his next big thing on the big screen.

The Shining (1980) 1 2

The Shining (1980) 1 2

Scene AnalysisEdit


            The scene starts off with Wendy entering Jack’s workroom with a baseball bat. By the looks of the bat, we know she is scared for her life and wants to protect herself from the monster she knows and ‘loves.’ She then finds what he’s been working on for so long and she is horrified to find that Jack has been typing out hundreds of pages with the one same sentence “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” When we first see Jack he talks in the weirdest voice I’ve ever heard, he has obviously gone completely insane living in this hotel for so long. Danny is seen in this scene with his mouth open and he is obviously shining looking over his parents as they fight and seeing the blood roll out of the elevators showing us that Tony is really getting the best of him. Jack now backs up Wendy through the big hall and Jack Nicolson shows us the most terrifying acting I have ever seen.

The Shining (1980) 2 2

The Shining (1980) 2 2


             This scene takes place in the Colorado Room with the three big giant chandeliers. This scene takes place during the day when it is a little sunny and there is a giant snowstorm happening outside.


            The baseball bat in Wendy’s hand kind of sums up what is happening in this scene. Wendy is terrified of Jack. She is afraid of what her husband has become in just a few months of being isolated in this hotel. The papers that Jack has written from his so called ‘play’ that he’s supposed to be writing are all one sentence over and over again. This tells us that Jack has lost his marbles being in this hotel for so long without a drink. The lighting in the windows is way too bright to be realistic and shines on the character's face as they pass it to show the contrast between the lightness in the outside world and the darkness in the hotel.

Camera angles

·      Shot of Wendy walking into the Colorado lounge looking for Jack. Shows what’s in front of her to show Jack is not there and goes on the other side of the wall to give the viewer a scare.

·      Second shot of Wendy white knuckled clinching the bat showing the Colorado lounge behind her so we get a sense of how big this room is and to let us know Jack is not there.

·      Shot then goes to a low angle of the typewriter and wends face appears because she is looking at Jack's work. She quickly looks at it with her eyes going back and forth and a horrified look on her face to make the viewer think what is she reading that is so horrifying?

·      Next shot is of the typewriter and the paper on it. It says “all work and no play makes jack a dull boy” then you see it again and again as it keeps going down the page. Wendy then scrolls the typewriter and we see that it’s all over this paper so the viewer asks why?

·      Shot then goes back to the terrifyingly low shot of Wendy looking at the typewriter even more horrified as before she then looks over still tracing eyes on the desk. Walking over cause she has found something.

·      The shot then goes from her view and zooms in very quickly on a bunch of papers in a tray. And we see the same sentence typed in a different format on the paper.

·      Then that low shot of Wendy on the other side of the table comes into play again but this time showing us the paper tray. She picks up the first sheet and looks at the next.

·      Back to the tray as Wendy is flipping through pages, and we see that same sentence over and over again just in a different format each time. Kubrick now goes back and forth between Wendy and the tray showing that she is more worried and terrified each time she flips through another page. All we can ask is why in the world would jack type this so many times.

·      Shot then goes from behind the dark black wall onto the back of Wendy. We see a figure come into frame and then hear its voice. This terrifies Wendy. The figure starts to walk towards her.

·      Then there are shots of Jack and Wendy back and forth and back and forth as they fight. This is to show facial expressions and eerie things the characters do and say as they walk in a squiggle pattern in the Colorado lounge. The point of all this is to show that jack has lost it. And to show character relation. As for the camera following them in this weird pattern they do in the lounge it makes the viewer think that this room is unending and it is a maze it is a labyrinth. So is this conversation between Jack and Wendy.

·      In all of this fighting there are three shots of different things other than just Wendy and Jack. They show a shot of Danny in their room in the hotel and the camera starts to zoom in on his face showing that he is shining.

·      The next shot is of the blood all over the lens as the elevator has just thrown up and filled the hallway.

·      A quick shot of REDRUM is shown on a door at a low angle for the creepiness. And to let us know what it means

·      Shot then back to furniture being moved by the blood.

·      As they go up the stairs the shots continue of going back and forth from Jack’s terrific acting and wends hysterical crying.

·      The shot up the stairs when focused on Wendy makes it look like she is trying to go up to the light in heaven and she is climbing the stairs to get there. The shots of Jack look like he is covered in a darkness and he is trying to drag Wendy down with him. When Wendy hits Jack she is beating down the “devil’ back into his hell where he belongs so she can go up to the light with Danny.

Music and Sounds

            In the beginning of the scene, we hear the footsteps of Wendy walking through the hardwood floor of the Colorado lounge as the music builds in the background. The music then gets stranger and sounds like a million songs are all going on at once with strings rubbing up against chalkboards. It all settles and it sounds like water is being dropped from the celling when jack enters the room. There are many more weird eerie sounds throughout this scene like random crescendo and light pieces where it sounds like a fire is crackling. Then Jacks voice sounds like it is underwater when we get to the scene with the blood and Danny shining. More light music plays when they start talking and it sounds like giant metal squeaky doors are opening. This soundtrack is the best scariest best soundtrack that doesn’t exist because of legal issues. 

Book Vs. MovieEdit


Stephen King

The Shining gave Stephen King his lift off into the top seller's category. It is his most famous book to this day. There are many differences in the book compared to the movie. The movie does not do a good job of telling the beginning story compared to the book.

In the book we get more of a background of why Jack broke Danny’s arm and strayed from drinking every night. We learn that he also beat up a student, lost his job, and ran over someone all due to his alcohol abuse. In the movie version it feels more like a normal man becomes possessed by an evil hotel, not a man with deep demons that come up at the end.


The Shining by Stephen King

The ending is also very different in the movie; Jack chases Danny through a maze (the maze doesn’t even exist in the book) and freezes to death in it. In the book the hotel blows up because of the boiler that Jack was supposed to keep an eye on.

Dick Halloran, the cook at the Overlook Hotel, is killed in the movie but, in the book he helps Wendy and Danny get away from Jack.

In the book Wendy is a blonde girl; King described her as a high school lover that was a cheerleader (so she is pretty) at a time and fell in love with Jack. In the movie Wendy is played by Shelley Duvall, she has black hair and doesn’t look like she was ever a cheerleader. She also won the award for the worst actress at a point, but she does play a creepy character in my eyes.

Stephen King was very disappointed with the movie because so few of the events and elements in the book were in the movie. Though the movie is based off the book, it is a completely different story. This screenplay was written by Kubrick; King knew about it a little, but Kubrick changed the script everyday to something different. King was left out of what his original story was going to look like on the screen. Kubrick shows us in the scene where Mr. Halloran is driving on the snowy highway, and we see a wreck between a semi-truck and a red VW bug. In the book the car the Torrance’s drive is a red VW bug, in the movie it is yellow. This could mean that Kubrick was giving King the finger through imagery.


The Shining was originally a book written by Steven King that was 

220px-The Shining poster

The Shining postor released in Europe

adapted into a screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Diane Johnson.

The Shining is a story that follows a family in their journey through being the caretakers of the Overlook Hotel, which is up in the secluded mountains of Colorado. Jack Torrance is the man who got the job as the caretaker and he is going to jack his wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny, up to the hotel to keep him company so he isn’t all alone in the gigantic presence of the hotel. During the Torrance’s stay at the Overlook Hotel strange things keep happening to Danny. Danny starts seeing images in powered by this force called “The Shining.” Jack Torrance who is trying to write a play during their time at the hotel is affected by his son’s supernatural abilities. Jack begins to have writers block and the ghosts and demons that haunt the hotel start to haunt him. Jack has a mental breakdown and the situation they are in on top of this snowed in hotel with no one to save them has become even more sinister than Danny had imagined.

It’s a haunting story that is full of psychological images and meanings. According to IMDb it is the forty-sixth greatest movie of all time on the IMDb Top 250.

170px-The shining heres johnny

Jack Nicholson

Jack NicholsonEdit

Jack Nicholson is best known for The Shining . Some of his other works include: The Departed , One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest , and As Good as It Gets . Nicholson has been nominated for twelve Academy Awards and has won three.

Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance in The Shining . Jack Torrance in the movie is a play writer who has had an alcohol problem for many years and now has been clean for a year. The movie depicts Jack as a nice man in the beginning but very unusual and disturbed man. It’s obvious he has a love for his family, but he is breaking into a hating man with some super natural thing that has started taking control of his brain.

            When Stanley Kubrick was looking for a cast for this movie he immediately wanted Jack Nicholson because of his performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest because he played an ominous character in it. Stephan King did not want Nicholson as the star of his transformation from book to movie because he said Nicholson’s performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest would give away too much as to what happens to Jack Torrance in The Shining.


Jack Torrance looking out the window at his family.

            During the filming of The Shining Kubrick says Nicholson was the hardest to film because He didn’t know what type of facial expressions would work the best in a scene to give it its ultimate sinister look. He would have Nicholson do some scenes 100 times saying that he was getting better every time. Kubrick had Nicholson do exaggerated faces, friendly faces, harsh faces, and a sort of manic look the final edit was selected by Kubrick on the editing room floor. Nicholson went through a lot to make Kubrick happy and he did a marvelous job.

            Nicholson’s performance in The Shining is untouchable. His performance is like Heath Ledgers in The Dark Knight . It is flawless and should never be touched by anyone else for as long as the earth is turning.