Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
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Interesting FactsJoe Turkel playing Lloyd the bartender.

All of the exterior shots of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining were shot at the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon.  The owners of the hotel feared that if the room number 217, as it is in the book, was used in the film, customers would be reluctant to stay in that room after the release of the film.  For this reason Kubrick decided to change it to 237.

The infamous hedge maze that was so important to Kubrick’s version of the story, came about do to concerns for restrictions in special effects.  Kubrick believed it would be too difficult to portray hedge animals coming to life, as they do in the book, so the opted for the maze instead.

Both Robert De Niro and Robin Williams were considered by Kubrick for the role of Jack Torrence.  Kubrick reportedly decided against De Niro after seeing his role in Taxi Driver, claiming he wasn’t psychotic enough.  And he decided agains Williams after watching Mork and Mindy, claiming Williams was too psychotic.

The mysterious scrap book that Jack finds in the novel, shows up as an Easter-egg in the film, sitting next to Jacks typewriter in the scene in which Jack demands that Wendy never disturb him while he’s working.

Perhaps the most famous moment of the film, when Jack yells “here’s Johnny!” was completely ad-libbed by Nicholson.  The line was an imitation of Ed McMahon’s introduction of Johnny Carson on the tonight show.  Due to the film’s fame, Carson once used that sound bite from the film as his introduction for the show.

The shot in which hundreds of gallons of blood pours out of an elevator, which also made up the entirety of the trailer for the film, took nearly a year to get right.  Though it only took three takes, a shockingly low number for Kubrick, it took over nine days to set up the shot.  Kubrick is reported as saying “it doesn’t look like blood” after each failed attempt.

Due to restrictions by the MPAA at the time, film makers were not allowed to show any blood in the trailers of their movies.  Kubrick was able to get away with his trailer consisting entirely of a shot of hundreds of gallons of blood pouring out of an elevator by convincing them it was only “rusty water.” View the Trailer

The famous Colorado Lounge of Kubrick’s overlook hotel took so much light to make it look like a bright snowy day outside, that it actually caught fire towards the end of shooting.  Luckily all of the necessary shots had been done, but the set was rebuilt and later repurposed as  snake filled Well of the Souls tomb in Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.

All of the scenes where Jack is talking to a ghost, with the exception of the food locker scene, he is actually talking to his own reflection in a mirror.  When in the food locker we never actually see Grady, he only talks to Jack through the door.

Ridley Scott used many of the outtakes from the scene of the Torrence’s car traveling to the hotel when he was forced to add a happy ending to Blade Runner.  He did this with Kubrick’s permission of course.

The snow in the maze at the end of the movie was made up of over 900 tons of salt and crushed Styrofoam.

In order to get some of the ultra-low tracking shots through the halls of the Overlook, a wheelchair was used as a makeshift dolly by Steadicam inventor and operator Garrett Brown, in the shooting of the film.

Due to emotional requirements of her role as Wendy, Shelly Duval found that she eventually ran out of tears from crying so much. 

The idea of Danny moving his finger when talking as Tony came entirely from the mind of young actor Danny Lloyd.  He apparently did it completely spontaneously during his audition.

There is a very interesting video online that explores the mind-bending interior layout of Kubrick’s Overlook hotel.  It takes a very in depth look at the structural impossibilities present in the set constructed for the film, that were intended to give the fictitious hotel a disorienting and subtly terrifying feel.  This two part video is a must watch for any true fan of The Shining, but is also just an interesting look into the mind of Stanley Kubrick.  Aside from that this video is also worth watching for anyone who has an interest in what goes into making movies and just how deep the psychology can go.  This video does potentially contain a few spoilers, so it is probably best to have seen the movie at least once before watching this. View it here.


Matt Hayhow
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Last Updated: April 18, 2012