Documentary The Making of the Shining, with optional commentary by Vivian Kubrick
Three new featurettes: View from The Overlook: Crafting the Shining, The Visions of Stanley Kubrick, and Wendy Carlos, Composer
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Shining, The: Special Edition (BD)]]>
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is less an adaptation of Stephen King's bestselling horror novel than a complete reimagining of it from the inside out. In King's book, the Overlook Hotel is a haunted place that takes possession of its off-season caretaker and provokes him to murderous rage against his wife and young son. Kubrick's movie is an existential Road Runner cartoon (his steadicam scurrying through the hotel's labyrinthine hallways), in which the cavernously empty spaces inside the Overlook mirror the emptiness in the soul of the blocked writer, who's settled in for a long winter's hibernation. As many have pointed out, King's protagonist goes mad, but Kubrick's Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is Looney Tunes from the moment we meet him--all arching eyebrows and mischievous grin. (Both Nicholson and Shelley Duvall reach new levels of hysteria in their performances, driven to extremes by the director's fanatical demands for take after take after take.) The Shining is terrifying--but not in the way fans of the novel might expect. When it was redone as a TV miniseries (reportedly because of King's dissatisfaction with the Kubrick film), the famous topiary-animal attack (which was deemed impossible to film in 1980) was there--but the deeper horror was lost. Kubrick's The Shining gets under your skin and chills your bones; it stays with you, inhabits you, haunts you. And there's no place to hide... --Jim Emerson
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If you have not seen it shame on you. If you have seen it...watching it on Blue Ray is a nice experience.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy...
This is a film that - even more so than the best of Hitchcock's later widescreen films like "North by Northwest" and "Vertigo" - takes the viewer directly into the places and spaces in which the dramaticevents are happening. It is also one of those films in which the relatively laid-back culture the late 1970's in the U.S. is on full display. I've never liked Jack Nicholson, for reasons irrelevant to this review, but - believe me - if any film lover ever doubted that a 70's era male leading man with a reputation for craziness was perfectly cast in a role, this one which was made for Nicholson, and it shows conclusively that he can really act.
He's in a kind scene-stealing conflict with Shelley Duval and the young child actor who plays this couple's son as to who "owns" this movie. This is a movie classic by any standard - no matter what Stephen King says about how Kubrick butchered his book.
Try to get the DVD special edition, available on Amazon, with plenty of backstory and commentary - this was one of the first films - maybe THE first major motion picture - in which the recently invented steadycam was used - and Kubrick uses it with great audience effect.. One DVD edition has a commentary by the fellow who claims to have invented the steadycam. In one of his trivia tidbits during his commentary, he tells the viewer that when the Shelley Duval character and her boy child run out of the studio replica of a real hotel in Oregon custom built in a British studio for this film, .into a major in-studio "snowstorm," the "snow" on the ground is really several hundred tons of salt trucked in from a salt mine in Devon, England.