Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Shining- Back On The Big Screen

Here in Buffalo, NY they have this wonderful film series that features classic movies brought back to the big screen with an introduction and hour- long discussion afterwards. I missed the first few movies, but had the opportunity to see the 1980 Stanley Kubrick classic "The Shining" last Tuesday.
If you never had the chance to see it in the theaters, you missed out on something special. Like alot of the big action blockbusters (though this most certainly falls outside of that category), this movie was meant to be seen on the big screen. The atmosphere, the tension, and the scary images are all amplified. Seeing it this way gave me a whole new appreciation for this film.
One of the most improved things, for me, was the setting. On the large screen you feel the isolation more, the cold.... the claustrophobia. The Overlook Hotel encased in a snowy tomb. You really exerience the sensation, like the characters, that there is no way out.
The after movie discussion was fascinating to me. Two local film experts, the organizers of the film series, held a question and answer session for about an hour. Some of the more interesting points brought up:
- The snow used in the film was actually salt. Truck loads of it were constantly being shipped on set to give the illusion of snow.
- The film was almost entirely shot on a soundstage in England. The Overlook was built there in one of the largest stage sets ever constructed.
- The few daylight exteriors of the Overlook was actually the Timberline Lodge in Oregon.
- A crucial scene was cut at the end of the moview that gave a better indication of the fate of Jack Torrance. After the scene where Jack's frozen corpse is shown in the snow another shot was deleted that showed the same spot- but his body has mysteriously disappeared. It was supposed to preceed the closing shot where Jack appears in the black & white photo hanging in the Overlook with the date 1921. The scene was supposed to indicate that when Jack died he became part of the hotel- like Grady before him, and the others perhaps that repeated the same cycle of violence before them. Kubrick wanted the ending to be more ambiguous and felt the scene would reveal too much if left in.
- The opening scenes where Jack and his family are driving through the mountains to the hotel was actually leftover scenes from the movie Bladerunner inserted in The Shining in the last minute.

And last but not the least- BOYCOTT CLASH OF THE TITANS!! Rent or buy the classic 1981 original instead!

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