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Trivia / The Shining

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The novel

  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!:
    • The book repeatedly quotes "And the Red Death held sway over all," a line from Edgar Allan Poe's short story "The Masque of the Red Death". Only that phrase isn't to be found in the actual story; the closest approximation is the last sentence: "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all."
    • The words "Here's Johnny!" are never uttered in the book, Nicholson ad-libbed them for the film. The film's infamy led to Pop-Cultural Osmosis, Memetic Mutation and Small Reference Pools lumping the movie and book together.
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  • Deleted Scene: Originally, there was a prologue titled "Before the Play" that chronicled earlier events in the Overlook's history, as well as an epilogue titled "After the Play", though neither remained part of the published novel. The prologue was later published in Whispers magazine in August 1982, and an abridged version appeared in the April 26–May 2, 1997 issue of TV Guide to promote the then-upcoming miniseries. The epilogue was thought to have been lost, but was re-discovered in 2016 as part of an early manuscript version of the novel. Both "Before the Play" and "After the Play" were published as part of the Deluxe Special Edition by Cemetery Dance Publications in early 2017.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Like a lot of King's early works, it is very obvious the book was written during the 70's; everything from pop culture references, to Wendy smoking cigarettes around a little kid to some hints to social issues of the day that come up in dialogue.
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  • Write What You Know: Stephen King has admitted that the novel came about because of his own alcoholism and concerns about his own parenting.

The film

  • Ability over Appearance: King wanted a blonde, buxom actress to play Wendy, envisioning her as a down-to-earth former-cheerleader type completely unprepared for any supernatural chaos. Instead Kubrick chose skinny, pale, black-haired Shelley Duval, who comes off as the human embodiment of the word "skittish." Tellingly, when casting Wendy for King's own version of The Shining, Rebecca De Mornay—a blonde actress who more closely resembled King's original vision—was chosen.
  • Acting in the Dark: Because Danny Lloyd was so young, and since it was his first acting job, Stanley Kubrick was highly protective of the boy. During the shooting of the movie, Lloyd was under the impression that the film he was making was a drama, not a horror movie. In fact, when Wendy carries Danny away while shouting at Jack in the Colorado Lounge, she is actually carrying a life-size dummy, so Lloyd would not have to be in the scene. Kubrick also created an alternate cut of the film to show Lloyd that excised all the horror elements; Lloyd did not see the uncut version of the film until he was seventeen, eleven years after he had made it.
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  • Actor-Inspired Element: The idea for Danny Lloyd to move his finger when he was talking as Tony was his own. He did it spontaneously during his very first audition.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • California Doubling:
    • Like all of Kubrick's later work, it was done in England even if the location is Colorado.
    • The Timberline Lodge, the stand-in for the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in the film, is located in Oregon, with Mount Hood (of the Cascade range) standing in for the Rocky Mountains. Averted by the miniseries, which used Colorado's The Stanley Hotel (the very location that inspired King to write the book originally, and which King had unsuccessfully pressured Kubrick to use for filming).
  • Creator Backlash: Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall both resented how praise for the movie focused almost entirely on Kubrick's direction and not their performances. Nicholson, who is actually not a psychopath in real life, was particularly offended on Duvall's behalf, saying that hers was the most difficult role he had ever seen an actor take on.
  • Cultural Translation: A rare case of it done by the own filmmaker. Kubrick chose the replacements of Jack's Madness Mantra in Italian (“Il mattino ha l’ oro in bocca”\“He who wakes up early meets a golden day”), German (“Was Du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf Morgen” \ “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”), Spanish (“No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano” \ “Rising early will not make dawn sooner.”) and French (“Un ‘Tiens’ vaut mieux que deux ‘Tu l’auras'” \ “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”). All the more work for the director's poor secretary who already had to repeatedly type all those "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" sheets!
  • The Danza: Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance and Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrance.
  • Dawson Casting: Of a sort; 42-year-old Jack Nicholson plays 29-year-old Jack Torrance.
  • Defictionalization: One fan of the movie decided to publish his own version of All Work And No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy.
  • Deleted Scene: The final scene, in which Stuart Ullman visits Danny and Wendy in the hospital, informs Wendy that the police found nothing supernatural in their search of the hotel, and gives Danny Jack's tennis ball - implying that he knew about the evil in the hotel, and hired Jack to carry out the murders.
    • In the novel, King wrote a prologue titled "Before the Play" that would eventually be excised from the final draft that featured five different stories: the building of the Overlook and the eventual downfall of its first owner, a young woman's terrifying experiences at the hotel in the 1930s, the backstory and eventual murder of Roger (the man in the dog costume) in one of the rooms, Jack's father terrorizing him as a child, and the assassination of the mob boss in the presidential suite. Most of these bits would eventually be worked into the narrative, albeit as background facts mentioned in passing.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Stephen King had problems with the movie, feeling that his novel's important themes, such as the disintegration of the family and the dangers of alcoholism, were ignored. He was also opposed to the casting of Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. Over the years, he's warmed to the film, even calling it one of his favorite films... though he still doesn't think it's a very faithful adaptation (to the point he produced a TV miniseries that goes closer to the book - and it got derided for barely holding a candle to Kubrick's film). He possibly may have gotten over it, considering the film adaptation of the sequel continues after the film instead of the miniseries.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • Kubrick would loudly berate Shelley Duvall (Wendy) whenever the slightest thing went wrong, in order to make her feel as distressed as the character. Jack Nicholson realized this, but resisted the urge to just give her a hug which probably helped her freak out effectively when Jack came after her with an ax. When Duvall reflected on this experience, she eventually realized that Kubrick was actually getting the best out of her, but she didn't want to go through a similar experience.
    • Scatman Crothers was allegedly reduced to tears because of Kubrick's insistence on getting absolutely perfect takes - it's debatable whether to chalk this up to this trope or Kubrick simply being a Prima Donna Director.
    • A documentary states that most takes with Jack Nicholson are among the 20th takes, after the actor got tired and started ramping up the madness of his performance even further.
    • Inverted with Danny Lloyd, the child actor. Kubrick was very protective of the boy and was genuinely concerned that the dark elements of the movie would traumatize him. So he treated each scene with Danny like it was a playful game, and shielded him from the true nature of the movie. He didn't even know he was in a horror movie until he was in high school and happened to see it on TV.
  • God Never Said That: It's commonly mistaken that Stephen King's ambivalence toward the film version is actual hatred toward the adaptation, when he's actually said that he likes the film — just as a work inspired by his writing, and not as an actual adaptation in itself.
  • Inspiration for the Work: Stanley Kubrick cited Eraserhead as a creative influence during the making of this movie, and screened it to put the cast and crew in the mood he wanted to achieve for the film.
  • Method Acting: Jack Nicholson claimed that the scene where Jack snaps at Wendy for interrupting his writing was the most difficult for him, as he was a writer himself and had gotten into similar arguments with his girlfriend. Being a method actor, he drew on his memories of those arguments and added the line "Or if you come in here and you DON'T hear me typing, if I'm in here that means I'm working!"
  • No Stunt Double: Jack Nicholson fell down the staircase because Stanley Kubrick couldn't make the double look as convincing.
  • Old Shame: For Shelly Duvall and Scatman Crothers and even Jack Nicholson. All of them voiced regret for being in the film, Nicholson even turned down another popular King adaptation (Misery) because of the negative experiences on this movie.
  • Throw It In!: In one scene, Jack Nicholson yells "Here's Johnny!" while poking his head through a door, and Stanley Kubrick, after having the joke explained to him (he'd been living in England since before Carson started hosting The Tonight Show), decided it worked. Jack's "Three Little Pigs" references were similarly improvised.
    • Made slightly more alarming by the fact that Jack Nicholson had been a volunteer fire marshal at one point and tore down the door far too easily the first time, thus causing them to have to build a stronger one.
    • The original script specified that "Jack is not working." The part in which Jack Torrance throws a tennis ball around the Overlook Hotel was Jack Nicholson's idea. Likewise, Danny Lloyd came up with the idea of moving his finger while talking as Tony, as he spontaneously did it during his first audition.
  • Troubled Production: More details here.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: Stanley Kubrick seemed to be this for many of the cast members during production. He would often spend the morning before shooting on completely re-writing the scenes that were to be shot that day, causing more than one of the actors to almost have a nervous breakdown, although that was a combination of this and Kubrick's perfectionism on takes. It has been argued, given his chess background, that this and other psychological tactics on the shoot were him being a Magnificent Bastard to get the performances he wanted.

The mini-series


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