kubrick

A Star Odyssey    by  Naolito

A Star Odyssey

by Naolito

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Stanley Kubrick’s personal copy of Stephen King’s novel, The Shining. 

This well-worn book, normally housed in the Stanley Kubrick Archive in London but currently on tour in a traveling exhibition, is filled with Kubrick’s notes and comments. Many passages are highlighted, and Kubrick has filled the margins with hand-written notes that run the gamut from notating passages that inspired him, to crossing out sections he found silly.

The Shining Board Game

Stephen King’s 1977 psychological horror novel The Shining has inspired several other works, most notably Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film adaptation, a movie widely considered to have elevated King’s story of the possessed Overlook Hotel and its luckless winter caretakers, the Torrance family, to a higher artistic plane. But King himself never really approved of Kubrick’s interpretation: “Parts of the film are chilling, charged with a relentlessly claustrophobic terror,” he said, “but others fall flat. A visceral skeptic such as Kubrick just couldn’t grasp the sheer inhuman evil of the Overlook Hotel.”

Presumably King had a better time playing the board game of The Shining, which won the first Microgame Design Contest in 1998, and about which you can read more at Board Game Geek. King helped with its development by offering consultation as the creator of the world in which the original story takes place. He also offered his services as an early play-tester too. You can tell that the game’s faith lies with King’s novel rather than Kubrick’s film by its use of things that never made it from page to screen as gameplay elements, such as the hotel grounds’ hedge-sculpture animals that come to vicious life.

You can play The Shining board game as the Torrance family, in which case you’ll have to fight those hedge animals. Or you can play it as the Overlook Hotel itself, in which case you’ll control them. Each player has a host of implements at their disposal — ghosts, decoys, the famous axe and snowmobile — all meant to help them accomplish the task of driving the other side away. Think of it as a simplified wargame set in a haunted hotel.

If you’d like to see how you fare, whether in the shoes of the Torrances or the Indian-burial-ground foundation of the Overlook, you’ll find all the game’s materials freely available on the Micrograme Design Contest’s site. Print them out, set them up, and prepare to feel some sheer inhuman evil for yourself.

“You never have this experience again with the story. You have a reaction to it: it’s a kind of falling-in-love reaction. That’s the first thing. Then it becomes almost a matter of code breaking, of breaking the work down into a structure that is truthful, that doesn’t lose the ideas or the content or the feeling of the book. And fitting it all into the much more limited time frame of a movie. And as long as you possibly can, you retain your emotional attitude, whatever it was that made you fall in love in the first place.  You judge a scene by asking yourself, “Am I still responding to what’s there?” The process is both analytical and emotional. You’re trying to balance calculating analysis against feeling. And it’s almost never a question of “What does this scene mean?” It’s “Is this truthful, or does something about it feel false?” It’s “Is this scene interesting? Will it make me feel the way I felt when I first fell in love with the material?”  It’s an intuitive process, the way I imagine writing music is intuitive. It’s not a matter of structuring an argument.” - Stanley Kubrick on his approach to a story

“You never have this experience again with the story. You have a reaction to it: it’s a kind of falling-in-love reaction. That’s the first thing. Then it becomes almost a matter of code breaking, of breaking the work down into a structure that is truthful, that doesn’t lose the ideas or the content or the feeling of the book. And fitting it all into the much more limited time frame of a movie. And as long as you possibly can, you retain your emotional attitude, whatever it was that made you fall in love in the first place.

You judge a scene by asking yourself, “Am I still responding to what’s there?” The process is both analytical and emotional. You’re trying to balance calculating analysis against feeling. And it’s almost never a question of “What does this scene mean?” It’s “Is this truthful, or does something about it feel false?” It’s “Is this scene interesting? Will it make me feel the way I felt when I first fell in love with the material?”

It’s an intuitive process, the way I imagine writing music is intuitive. It’s not a matter of structuring an argument.” - Stanley Kubrick on his approach to a story

The Lost Ending of 'The Shining' Explained

by Gwynne Watkins

In the final shots of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the audience sees the corpse of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) frozen to death in the hedge maze where he tried to kill his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and young son Danny (Danny Lloyd). Then the camera moves to a vintage photograph on the wall of The Overlook Hotel, which inexplicably includes Jack among the 1920s revelers. It’s an indelible set of images – but it wasn’t the ending that director Kubrick first envisioned. When The Shining premiered in theaters in 1980, those two iconic shots bookended an additional scene, of Wendy and Danny recuperating in the hospital. This week, on a Reddit thread titled “Frames from the hospital scene from the original ending of The Shining,” a fan unearthed three continuity Polaroids that show scenes from the film’s deleted epilogue. Read on to find out what happened in The Shining’s original ending, and why Kubrick made the last-minute decision to axe it.

The two-minute hospital scene, according to co-screenwriter Diane Johnson, was Kubrick’s way of reassuring the audience that Jack’s wife and son were okay after his murderous rampage. “He had a soft spot for Wendy and Danny,” Johnson explained in an interview in Kubrick: The Definitive Edition. However, the scene – as it reads on paper, anyhow – isn’t exactly a reassuring hug. The script pages from the deleted epilogue were published two years ago on The Overlook Hotel, an exhaustive fan site run by Pixar director Lee Unkrich (who peppered his film Toy Story 3 with subtle Shining references).


A Polaroid of Shelley Duvall recuperating in the hospital in a deleted scene from ‘The Shining.’

The scene opens with Stuart Ullman, the manager of the Overlook Hotel (played by Barry Nelson), arriving at the hospital with flowers for Wendy. On his way in, he greets a nurse, who is playing a game with Danny. When Ullman enters Wendy’s room, he tells her that the police have completed an investigation of the hotel, and “they didn’t find the slightest evidence of anything at all out of the ordinary.” He adds that “it’s perfectly understandable for someone to imagine such things when they’ve been through something like you have.” Then Ullman offers to put the Torrances up in his beach house while they recuperate. On his way out, Ullman tosses Danny a yellow ball – a reference to the tennis ball that mysteriously rolls up to Danny earlier in the film, leading him to the hotel’s haunted Room 237.

In short, the epilogue suggests that Ullman is a participant in the hotel’s supernatural evil, and that he is a conspirator in keeping its deadly secrets. Shelley Duvall said in Kubrick: The Definitive Edition that she believed the cut scene was crucial in explaining “some things that are obscure for the public, like the importance of the yellow ball and the role of the hotel manager in the plot.”


Barry Nelson re-appeared as hotel manager Stuart Ullman in the deleted ending. Here he’s seen with child actor Danny Lloyd and actress Robin Pappas.

There was one more element to the deleted ending. After the camera zoomed in on the photograph of Jack, a title card was to appear, reading: “The Overlook Hotel would survive this tragedy, as it had so many others. It is still open each year from May 20th to September 20th. It is closed for the winter.” Once again, this reinforces that the hotel itself is evil. But what are those “many other” tragedies? At the beginning of the film, Ullman informs Jack that a previous caretaker went stir crazy and killed his family and himself. That’s one. But In the original script, Jack also discovers a large scrapbook in the boiler room with news clippings of all the murders and suicides throughout the Overlook Hotel’s history. Kubrick shot scenes with the scrapbook, but didn’t include them in the final cut. (You can read one of them here.)

When The Shining premiered in limited release in May 1980, the hospital scene was still there. Just days after the film opened, however, Kubrick decided the epilogue needed to be excised. He explained his rationale to the press in a telephone statement, saying, “when I was able to see for the first time the fantastic pitch of excitement which the audience reached during the climax of the film, I decided the scene was unnecessary.” Since the movie was already playing in New York and Los Angeles, Kubrick issued an unusual order: He instructed projectionists to cut the scene from the film by hand, and mail the deleted film strips back to Warner Bros.


Robin Pappas (who played the nurse) and Danny Lloyd (who played Danny Torrance) shoot the deleted hospital scene. Though Pappas was ultimately cut from the film, her name appears in the credits.

Whether the deleted ending made the film better or worse is a matter of debate among the few who have seen it. New York Times critic Janet Maslin advocated for the hospital scene, saying that it “helped maintain the film’s languid, eerie rhythm” and saved the ending from being too “abrupt.” Roger Ebert wrote in his Great Movies review of The Shining that the excised epilogue “pulled one rug too many out from under the story,” though it’s unclear whether Ebert himself saw the original cut. (He’s under the impression that the deleted scene revealed that police never found Jack’s body. In the script pages – which, in fairness, Kubrick might have changed while filming – the body is not explicitly mentioned.) More discussion on the scene can be found in this archived page from the alt.movies.kubrick newsgroup, where fans who saw the original cut have shared their recollections.

The million-dollar question is whether the deleted ending from The Shining will ever see the light of day again. There’s a good chance that it still exists somewhere; Unkrich indicates on his website that the Stanley Kubrick Archive in London has “35mm film trims.” However, Kubrick obviously didn’t want anyone to see the footage, or he wouldn’t have been so adamant about cutting it before the film went into wider release. As long as film historians respect his wishes, the alternate ending of The Shining – like the epic deleted pie fight from Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove – will exist only in photos and memories.

The Directors Series - Stanley Kubrick [1.5] THE FINAL FEATURES

The concluding installment of THE DIRECTORS SERIES’ examination into the films and career of director Stanley Kubrick, covering his final two features and the legacy he leaves behind.
-FULL METAL JACKET (1987)
-EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)

The Directors Series - Stanley Kubrick [1.4] THE MASTER WORKS

Part 4 of THE DIRECTORS SERIES’ examination into the films and career of director Stanley Kubrick, covering the string of groundbreaking features that solidified his reputation as a master filmmaker:
-2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
-A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971)
-BARRY LYNDON (1975)
-THE SHINING (1980)

The Directors Series - Stanley Kubrick [1.3] THE PETER SELLERS COMEDIES

Part 3 of the DIRECTORS SERIES’ examination into the films and career of director Stanley Kubrick, covering his features in collaboration with actor Peter Sellers:
-LOLITA (1962)
-DR. STRANGELOVE: OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB (1964)

The Directors Series - Stanley Kubrick [1.2] THE KIRK DOUGLAS YEARS

Part 2 of the DIRECTORS SERIES’ examination into the films and career of director Stanley Kubrick, covering his features in collaboration with actor Kirk Douglas:
-PATHS OF GLORY (1957)
-SPARTACUS (1960)

The Directors Series - Stanley Kubrick [1.1] EARLY INDEPENDENT FEATURES

Part 1 of the DIRECTORS SERIES’ examination into the films and career of director Stanley Kubrick, covering his early independent feature films:
-FEAR & DESIRE (1953)
-KILLER’S KISS (1955)
-THE KILLING (1956)

Lucy (Luc Besson, 2014): A Comparative Analysis

Luc Besson’s 2014 action film Lucy, like Besson’s other films, takes inspiration from many other films. In the case of Lucy this inspiration comes from familiar sources (2001: A Space Odyssey, The Matrix) and some unexpected (The Blues Brothers).

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Stanley Kubrick photography

Between 1945 and 1950, Stanley Kubrick worked as a staff photographer for LOOK magazine. He was not yet Kubrick, the famous film director; he was just Stanley, the kid from the Bronx with an uncanny photographic sensibility. Only 17 years old when he joined the magazine’s ranks, he was by far its youngest photographer. Kubrick often turned his camera on his native city, drawing inspiration from the variety of personalities that populated its spaces. Photographs of nightclubs, street scenes, and sporting events were amongst his first published images, and in these assignments, Kubrick captured the pathos of ordinary life in a way that belied his young age. The Museum’s collection contains 129 of Kubrick’s assignments for the magazine, encompassing more than 15,000 individual images, the vast majority of them never published.