What are some brief insights on THE SHINING?

                                THE INTERVIEW

-- A little "toy" axe is in the pencil holder on Ullman's desk during 
   the interview. [this is barely visible on VCR tape. -- B.K.] 


-- So is an American flag.  (G.A.)


-- "Danny": possibly short for "Daniel," who, in the Old Testament,
   was the one capable of reading the handwriting on the wall. [On pg.
   3 of THE SHINING, King has Ullman referring to Danny as "Daniel," 
   and on pg. 306, we learn that REDRUM has been written by a 
   "hand dangled limply, blood dripping from the tips of the 
   fingers."] Here are excerpts from DANIEL 5:

          *          *          *          *          * 

   4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of 
   brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. 
   5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote 
   over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the 
   king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. 
   6 Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts 
   troubled him . . . 
   7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, 
   and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of 
   Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the 
   interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a 
   chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the    
   kingdom. . . .
   10 Now the queen by reason of the words of the king and his lords 
   came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, 
   live for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy 
   countenance be changed:
   11 There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy 
   gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and 
   wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him . . . 
   interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving 
   of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named 
   Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the 
   13 Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake 
   and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children 
   of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of 
   14 I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in 
   thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found 
   in thee.
   15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in 
   before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me 
   the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the 
   interpretation of the thing:
   16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, 
   and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make 
   known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with 
   scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the 
   third ruler in the kingdom.
   17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let thy gifts be 
   to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the 
   writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.
   18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a 
   kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:
   19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and 
   languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and 
   whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he 
   would he put down.
   20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in 
   pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory 
   from him:
   21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made 
   like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed 
   him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of 
   heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of 
   men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.
   22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, 
   though thou knewest all this;
   23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they 
   have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy 
   lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and 
   thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, 
   and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose 
   hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not  
   24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing 
   was written.
   25 And this is the writing that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, 
   26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered 
   thy kingdom, and finished it.
   27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. 
   . . .
-- Danny explores the Hotel; his parents work in it. So Danny has
   a greater opportunity to see what is on the rooms "on the fringes."

-- Wendy to Danny: "Loser gets to keep America clean." That's a
   pretty damn strange thing for her to say: particularly since she
   and her husband are the Hotel's Janitors. Danny "wins."

-- Two of Danny's sweaters "reflect" two other Kubrick films:

       1) BACKSHADOW: "Apollo 11" (2001)

       2) FORESHADOW: "Mickey Mouse" (FMJ)

-- I have noticed that Kubrick uses an almost rough cut editing style 
   for many of the dialogue scenes. For example, when Halloran gives 
   Danny ice cream, the editing pattern is something like: Halloran 
   speaks a line. Pause. Cut to Danny. Pause. Danny speaks a line. Pause 
   Cut to Halloran. Pause. Halloran speaks a line. Pause. Etc. Most 
   movies will cut out the dead air between lines by cutting to Danny 
   while Halloran finishes speaking his line and then having Danny 
   answer right away, then maybe cut back to Halloran while Danny is 
   still speaking, etc. Overlapping image and dialogue like this really 
   quickens up the pace. But Kubrick chose to give almost all the 
   dialogue scenes this very weighty, deliberate pace . . .

-- "The Gold Room"; from a distance, the typeface Kubrick has chosen
   for the sign makes the "G" look like a "C" -- "The Cold Room."

-- "I'd give my soul for a drink . . ."; moments later, we find out
   Jack has no money -- so how can he pay for the drink? Credit . . .

-- "All work and no play": two interesting misspellings a line above
   the paper guide: "boy" is misspelled as "bog" and "bot".

-- Wendy had two choices: put Jack where he could get food and
   stay alive, or put him under deep freeze (recall Halloran's
   earlier tour of the kitchen). She chooses the former; but
   all she did was put off the inevitable, at great risk to
   herself and her son.

-- In the food pantry, a "Tang" container (the drink of astronauts)
   is seen above a "Calumet" container (with a silhouette of the
   head of an Original-American); the top layer is space, the bottom
   is ground. One is built over the other.
-- Jack: "I need a doctor." Danny's nickname is "Doc."

-- Jack does not sing "fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of an
   Englishman"; however, this reference is implied when he reads
   the Big Bad Wolf's line.

-- At a couple points, there is a rapid cut from Danny's vision of 
   the blood pouring from the elevator, to Jack, in his mad glory. The 
   more overt Jack's insanity, the more lurid and gory Danny's 
   vision -- until finally, when Jack is advancing on the baseball- 
   bat-swinging Wendy ("I'm not going to hurt you, I'm going to bash 
   your fucking head in") the camera is obscured, awash in blood. All we 
   can see is a red haze. Jack's madness is a "red madness" and it's no 
   coincidence that Jack is often associated with bright colors, yellow 
   (the "Gold Room"; his yellow Volkswagen) and red (the garish red 

-- Danny, Jack, and Wendy all shine different things because their 
   "shinings" are filtered through their own fears, desires, and 
   perceptions. Hence, Wendy sees stuff out of her ghost stories, and 
   Jack gets things that he wants, like alcohol. (And eventually, 
   immortality of a sort.) Danny seems to be more passive, though. He 
   sees what Jack sees (the red madness, also the room 237 sequence that 
   he "relays" to Hallorann), for example. Other of his "shinings" seem 
   similarly, I don't know, _supplied_ to him, and having little to do 
   with anything that Danny _wants_ to see.


-- Jack degenerates into a shambling, moaning human ape, unable to 
   even make any articulate sounds. . . . Jack in the progress of his 
   madness shows signs of childlike regression. "Jack is a dull boy"; 
   Oreos; baby-talk ("my head hurts _real_ _bad_"). If Jack gets what he 
   wants when he "shines", then why did the room 237 "shining" turn on 
   him so shockingly and viciously? It almost seems like the Hotel was 
   playing "bait-and-switch".


-- When Wendy flips through the sheaf of Jack's type-script (each 
   page individually typed -- what a nice touch!) the arrangement and 
   spelling of the "All work and no play...." sentences becomes more and 
   more erratic as she progresses through the sheets. . . . other 
   pages are increasingly stylized, with weird indentations and abstract 
   patterns formed by the words. I'm reminded of something I saw a long 
   time ago, in a book -- a series of drawings of cats done by an artist 
   who was slipping progressively into psychosis. The drawings became 
   more and more abstract, with much stylization and use of intricate 
   geometric shapes and brilliant colors, until finally you could hardly 
   recognize the drawing as a cat at all.


-- The woman in the bathtub: she, like the hotel, is outwardly 
   seductive, but is death when embraced. Note how she remains 
   motionless as a corpse during the entire kiss.


-- There is a scene that I'd always found oddly disconcerting and 
   even disorienting although I'd never been able to put my finger on 
   why until recently -- the scene in which Wendy serves Jack breakfast 
   in bed. We see Jack asleep in the bedroom mirror as Wendy wheels in 
   the cart with breakfast. The camera slowly zooms in again until the 
   edges of the mirror are no longer visible as we watch the beginning 
   of the dialog. The next shot is of Wendy's face as she explains how 
   scary she thought it would be to be staying at the hotel. Then the 
   camera returns to a position that looks like the previous one. But it 
   isn't. We're no longer looking at the mirror image, we see the direct 
   image, but shot in such a way that a casual observer would never 
   notice the difference. It is at this point that Jack speaks of "deja 
   vu" and recognizing things everytime he turns a corner. This is the 
   first and last time Jack ever tells Wendy about things he finds 
   personally unusual about the hotel.

-- "White Man's Burden": the title of a poem by Rudyard Kipling which 
   spoke to the virtues of colonial ambition, and conferred the duty of 
   "uplifting" native peoples upon the Imperial White Man.

-- Two of the weapons used in the film are a baseball bat (American) 
   and a fire ax (Indian tomahawk).

-- Wendy in the boiler room: Isn't this the job that Jack is supposed to 
   be doing?


-- "KDK-1 calling KDK-12. Can you read me? Over." repeated incessantly, 
   with no one answering. (The "one" calling the "many": 12 disciples
   in the New Testament, Twelve tribes of Israel). This may be 
   Kubrick's oblique way of that he feels like he's "talking to himself" 
   (Joyce: "loonely in me loneness."). "KDK" = "KBK" phonologically.
   "KDK," like HCE in Joyce's FINNEGANS WAKE, can of course go way
   beyond Kubrick, to a more general and universal idea.

-- Danny can read the handwriting on the wall; but only if he knows
   how to decode the message (seen head-on, the message refers only to
   the medium used to create it ["red-rum" lipstick]. The filter of the
   mirror brings out the depth via a process of transformation; a 
   sinister depth, under a benign exterior. Slick . . .

-- In this case, the wall is a door . . .

-- Danny doesn't just "read" the handwriting on the wall; he "writes"
   it as well. Danny does it all . . .

-- Note how earlier in the film, the camera shots are largely neat 
   and parallel to the lines in the room. By the time we arrive at the 
   "redrum" scene, we are seeing the action from strange, oblique 


-- While Jack and Danny are locked in a sort of pre-destined combat, 
   Wendy does indeed appear to "shine" -- prisoner to the past horrors 
   of the Overlook Hotel. During these last hysterical moments of Jack's 
   bitter life, both husband and wife are frantically making their way 
   through their own "maze": Jack through the hedges, Wendy through the 
   Overlook itself. But while Jack is on the prowl for his son, Wendy is 
   almost attempting to CLOSE HER EYES to the horror and -- this is the 
   key -- PERVERSION of the Overlook's past. But she is unable to 
   finally escape the dominant images of the skeletons, the bloody lift, 
   and the split-skulled partygoer . . .


-- Road Runner ("Beep, Beep")
   The coyote's after you . . 
   Road Runner ("Beep, Beep")
   If he catches you you're through . . .

-- Jack carries a fireaxe into the maze, and goes wrong four ways:

       1) The maze is freezing, not on fire.

       2) A ball of string would be more helpful.

       3) Jack can't make the MoonWatcher frame shift, and use the
          axe and chop his way through the bushes.

       4) Jack thinks he's going to kill Danny, but maybe he's been
          lured there on purpose into the only place he can be killed.

-- In Dante's INFERNO, the bottommost Circle of Hell is reserved for
   those who have committed TREACHERY AGAINST THOSE TO WHOM THEY WERE 
   BOUND BY SPECIAL TIES. And the punishment? Encasement in ICE.

-- Lyrics heard as we see Jack's picture at the end of the film.  
   Note, too, that this tune is also heard when Jack meets Lloyd for the 
   second time.

        Midnight with the stars and you
        Midnight and a rendezvous
        Your arms held a message tender
        Saying I surrender
        All my love to you
        Midnight brought a sweet romance
        I've known all my whole life through 
        I'll be remembering you
        Whatever else I do
                                             (transcribed by D.M./J.T.)


    1) Date on picture: "1921"
    2) Room 237: 2 + 3 + 7 = 12.
    3) KDK-12.
    4) "21" is a mirror image of "12" (reversal).
    5) 2 parents, 1 child.
    6) 21: age of adulthood.
    7) 12: last age of childhood (before becoming a teenager like Alex).
    8) Jack thinks he has "two 20's and two 10's" in his wallet.
    9) Film on TV: "Summer of '42" (42 = 21 x 2)
   10) Number on Danny's jersey: "42"

                             CARTOON IMAGERY

-- Danny is always associated with cartoon characters. When he lays down 
   on his bed after the seizure, his head goes on a pillow with the face 
   of a cartoon character on it -- it resembles the one Wendy sees. 
   Danny's face is juxtaposed to this pillow, and we see their faces 
   side by side. Danny also wears a sweater with Mickey Mouse on it, and 
   we see him watching the Roadrunner cartoons. 


                         ORIGINAL-AMERICAN IMAGERY

-- Shelly Duvall's wardrobe reminds us of a squaw and Nicholson's 
   attitude reminds us of the arrogance of those early settlers. The boy 
   is the innocent caught up in the middle. The hotel is the graveyard 
   for the souls of the long dead Indians. A number of the larger rooms 
   are dressed with distinctive American Indian artifacts.


                              MIRROR IMAGERY

-- Folks keep being confronted by truths in the film when looking in the 
   mirror: Redrum becomes murder, Jack sees the old crone in room only 
   in the mirror, etc. Contrast with symmetry: Halloran's room, before 
   he comes back to "save" Danny, the bar behind Lloyd, the twin 
   elevators -- and that lovely just-off-symmetrical shot of Jack at his 
   writing table, just before he blows up at Wendy. It WOULD be 
   symmetrical, except for that lamp to one side. You know something's 
   wrong, because of that lamp throwing everything off. 

-- After seeing the woman in room 237, Jack comes back to Wendy 
   andsays, "I didn't see anything." At the moment he says this, 
   his back is to a mirror in the hallway.

                               MAZE IMAGERY

Throughout the film, we see images of mazes:

1. For example, during the opening credits, we see a very narrow, 
mountain side road, where Jack is traveling. The road curves and bends 
around the mountain, giving the illusion of a circular maze.We see this 
same road, only from another side - a mirror image if you will (The 
opening shot shows Jack's car moving along the left side of the 
mountain. Later, when he and his wife and child are traveling the road 
to the Overlook, we see the car and road on the right of the mountain. 

2. When Jack is in the office for the interview, he states that he gave 
up teaching and is now a writer. He said, "teaching was a way to make 
ends meet." The ends of a maze never meet, and in fact as a writer, Jack 
ends up dying in the middle of the maze, unable to find his way out. 

3. The rugs in the hotel lobby and in various other rooms, are maze-like 
in their designs. 

4. The hedge maze. 

5. When the manager of the hotel takes Jack on a tour of the basement, 
the camera pans along with them and it looks like they are walking 
through a maze of long corridors. 

6. Danny pedals his bike along the halls of the hotel, going in 
different directions, turning corners -- again seeming to be passing 
through a maze.


The maze is a persistent theme throughout, and it is fitting that the 
final "battle" takes place there. Jack can certainly be seen as a 
Minotaur complete with ax. Halloran could even be seen as Danny's 
Ariadne who provides them with the means to escape the larger maze of 
their whole situation.



During Danny's first shine, the toothbrushing in the mirror sequence in 
which we first see the blood flood from the elevators, there is a 
fascinating and subtle match cut. We see Danny's shocked and frozen 
eyes, wide whites with irises halved by his lower eyelids -- and the old 
style elevator dials above the red doors seem to mimic his expression 
(with menacing glee.) Face to face. Eyes to eyes. Danny and the hotel 
are introduced to each other. There are many other "faces" to be seen in 
the Overlook's interior design, and observations of these have lead me 
to believe that Kubrick's frequent use of bilateral symmetry in long 
static shots capitalizes on the rorschach quality of such scenes. 


I too noticed many faces in the film. Did you catch the faces on the 
boiler? The boilers look like pigs. As the camera pans past two boilers 
which look like pigs it stops at a wall where Wendy presses 2 buttons 
which look like the mouth and left eye respectively of a face. There are 
3 boxes here each with a face like this. Two eyes and a mouth. The 
mouths look like they're smiling.


There is another face which is prominent in The Shining's mise-en-scene.  
The Colorado Lounge, where Jack works, seems to be designed to resemble 
Jack's face.  Review the scene in which Jack establishes the "new rule."  
-- Dolly-in to lounge, Jack's back to camera. Jack is typing, and the 
lounge's "Jack-face" is perfectly framed by the entryway though which 
the camera has just passed.  Now, reverse angle (what I contend is a 
match cut) and dolly-in to Jack's face in CS as he is typing.  Following 
this reading, Wendy, when she enter's the lounge ("Hi, Honey!), is 
visually entering Jack's head. Exquisite . . .


-- Outtakes from the opening scene were used at the end of the 1982
   BLADE RUNNER release.



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