The Shining

"Forever, and ever, and ever..."

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Small family become winter caretakers of an isolated, haunted hotel which has a violent history.

One aspect of Stephen King's novel which impressed Kubrick was the way the reader was misdirected:

"It seemed to strike an extraordinary balance between the psychological and the supernatural in such a way as to lead you to think that the supernatural would eventually be explained by the psychological: 'Jack must be imagining these things because he's crazy.' This allowed you to suspend your doubt of the supernatural until you were so thoroughly into the story that you could accept it almost without noticing...It's not until Grady, the ghost of the former caretaker who axed to death his family, slides open the bolt of the larder door, allowing Jack to escape, that you are left with no other explanation but the supernatural." -- 5

In preparation for writing the script, Kubrick and co-author, novelist Diane Johnson, read Freud's essay "The Uncanny" and Bruno Bettelheim's book The Uses of Enchantment. Of working in this genre, Kubrick said:

"There's something inherently wrong with the human personality. There's an evil side to it. One of the things that horror stories can do is to show us the archetypes of the unconscious: we can see the dark side without having to confront it directly." -- 6

"I think the unconscious appeal of a ghost story, for instance, lies in its promise of immortality. If you can be frightened by a ghost story, then you must accept the probability that supernatural beings exist. If they do, then there is more than just oblivion waiting beyond the grave." -- 5

Diane Johnson spoke of archetypes:

"A father threatening his child is compelling. It's an archetypal enactment of unconscious rages...the material of this novel is the rage and fear within families." -- 6

Shooting began on May 1st, 1978 at EMI Elstree Studios in Borehamwood, England.


  • Poster slogan:
    "A masterpiece of modern horror."

  • The simulated snow was made of salt and pulverized Styrofoam.
  • Special effects could not come up with a satisfactory way of creating the hedge animals which come to life in the novel, so the hedge maze was substituted in its place.
  • While not the first film to use the Steadicam, it was the first film to use the handheld camera stabilization device so extensively and effectively. Scenes such as Danny's tricycle ride around the hotel lobby, the tour through the kitchen, and the chase through the hedge maze could not have been photographed as effectively as they were without the invention.
  • Uncredited 20s music used in The Shining: "Midnight, the Stars, and You" performed by Ray Noble's band with vocal by Al Bowly. "Home" Performed by Henry Hall and the Gleneagles Hotel Band.
  • Diane Johnson related that she and Kubrick tried all sorts of phrases for Jack's book, such as "A stitch in time..." etc. before finally picking "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." --12
  • The Overlook hotel exists only on film. All principal photography for the film was shot at the EMI studios in Borehamwood, England. While the exterior, establishing shots of the Overlook are of a real hotel--the Timberline Lodge near Mt. Hood in Oregon--the interior of that hotel is completely different than the Overlook depicted in the film, and there is no hedge maze outside. A facade of the rear of the Timberline Lodge and the hedge maze were built on the studio lot in England. The interior sets were modeled on various hotels from around the United States. For example, the blood red men's room was modeled on a men's room in a hotel in Arizona designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The kitchen was based on The Stanley Hotel in Colorado (Stephen King's inspiration for writing the story and the actual location of the TV miniseries remake.) The Colorado Lounge was based on the Great Lounge in the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. The opening sequence showing the car driving up mountain roads was shot in Glacier National Park in Montana.

Teaser trailer for The Shining

Production Company -- Warner Bros./Hawk Films
Producer -- Stanley Kubrick
Director -- Stanley Kubrick
Screenplay-- Stanley Kubrick, Diane Johnson, based on the novel by Stephen King
Cinematographer -- John Alcott
Editor -- Ray Lovejoy
Music -- Wendy Carlos
Production Designer -- Roy Walker
Costumes -- Milena Canonero
Sound -- Ivan Sharrock, Richard Daniel
Jack Torrence -- Jack Nicholson
"Here's Johnny!"
Wendy Torrence -- Shelley Duval
Danny Torrence -- Danny Lloyd
"Red Rum."
Halloran -- Scatman Crothers
Stuart Ullman -- Barry Nelson
Delbert Grady -- Phillip Stone
Lloyd -- Joe Turkel
Doctor -- Ann Jackson
Running time: 144 minutes. Cut by Kubrick to 120 minutes for international distribution.
Distributor: Warner Bros.


--5--Kubrick by Michel Ciment, 1983, Holt Reinhart Winston

--6--The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick by Norman Kagan, expanded edition, 1991, Continuum

--12--Screenwrite Now! Volume IV, Number 2, April 15, 1993, The Forum Interviews Diane Johnson.

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