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Night 23 - The Shining
Tagline - A Masterpiece Of Modern Horror
The Horror is driving him crazy
Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange and Full Metal Jacket) directed this film version of Stephen King's best selling novel. Released May 23, 1980 by Warner Brothers Pictures (rated R). Recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) has accepted a job as winter caretaker of the grand Overlook Hotel in an attempt to put his life back on track. The hotel manager warns him of the long and lonely winter ahead as he and his family will be alone there for the five month off-season. Jack assures him it's just what he needs to work on his writing. The manager also informs him of a little "mishap" that happened to the last winter caretaker and his family. Jack laughs this off and is sure his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) will find it fascinating.
As the snow sets in and the months start to pass Jack finds himself feeling more at home in the Overlook then he expected. Wendy quickly realize that something is not right with Jack. Their son Danny (Danny Lloyd), born with the gift of "shining", is learning that something is very wrong with the Overlook and it's "guests" that still reside there.
Being a fan of the book there are some aspects of this movie version that I don't care for. Jack seems to not like his family from the start and he almost changes into a crazy man overnight. A little more of a transition into madness would have been nice.
That being said I really do like this movie. It's creepy, creepy and then a bit more creepy! What really makes this movie creepy is the time period. I never could put my finger on it when I was a teenager as to why it left me with an unpleasant feeling. As I got older I began to realize it's the late 70's look of it. The colors and the patterns of the floors, walls and furniture. The color and the style of the clothing. And the fact that the film used makes the colors look a little off or maybe too vivid.
I liken it to when you were younger and you went to visit your grandparents. The ones that still lived in that old house with the furniture from many decades past. The one where you open the door and an instant musty smell filled your nose. That's how I think the Overlook would feel like now. While grand in it's day, now it's outdated and needs to be aired out. The dated wall paper would be pealing around the edges and the bathroom tiles would be old an worn looking. While it was high fashion when the movie was made now it just adds to the uneasiness of it.
I also love the mini series they made in 1997. It stared Steven Weber (Wings (tv) and Single White Female), a personal favorite of mine, and was very faithful to the novel. If you're a fan of the book this version should appeal to you. I thought it was great.
Some trivia about the movie...
1. Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon stood in for the exterior shots of the Overlook. Being from Portland I take great pride in seeing Timberline up there on the screen. It should be noted though that all interior shots of the hotel were filmed on a sound stage in London. So if you should visit Timberline don't expect the inside to look the same and don't expect to find room 237. Afraid that no one would want to stay in the room after the film came out, the management asked that the original room number, 217, be changed to something else. 237 was picked as there was no existing room with that number.
2. The opening scene of the Volkswagen driving is shot in Glacier National Park, Montana. The road is know as the "Going-to-the-sun" road.
3. The area that the set for the Colorado Lounge, where Jack does his typing, was built was also used as the Well of the Souls in Raiders of the lost ark.
4. The interior of the Overlook was made to look like bits and pieces of real hotels. The Colorado Lounge was modeled on the lounge at the Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite Valley. It resembled it so well that people entering the Ahwanee often asked "is this the Shining hotel?"
5. The US version had Jack typing the same line "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" over and over. In the Italian version it's "He who wakes up early meets a golden day". In the German version it's "Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today". The Spanish version has "Rising early will not make dawn sooner". The French went with "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush".
6. Stephen King has said that the name was inspired by the John Lennon song "Instant Karma" which features the chorus "We all shine on".