The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
hearthesilence
Posts: 4150
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#1 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:17 pm

I know Kubrick preferred the 119 minute cut that was released in Europe, but for those who've seen both cuts, which one do you prefer? That one or the 144 minute version that was released first in the U.S.?

BWilson
Posts: 224
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:06 pm

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#2 Post by BWilson » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:23 pm

I've never seen the short version, but I've read descriptions of it. There was a lengthy discussion of this subject on another message board (DVDTalk) and after reading the description of the short version I came to this hypothesis:
The Shining has a lot of dread in its dialogue; the things that are said, and the sometimes flat way it is delivered give a menacing feeling. This doesn't come across in dubbing or subtitles. Maybe Kubrick thought the foriegn version needed to rely more on frightening imagery (which he kept in) and less on disturbing, dread-filled dialogue (which he cut).

Of course this doesn't explain why the UK got the short version, unless they simply got hit with the same export version as the rest of the world just to simplify distribution.
I also posted this bit of speculation:
I've always been aware of the shorter version, but I've never seen it. I'd like to for the sake of curiosity.

What I think is most important to discsuss is:
1. Why did Kubrick shorten the film
2. Which version was his prefered version

I've never found anything that would indicate why he did it. Was it personal choice, an experiment, was he acquiescing to foriegn distribution demands (ie. Warners gave him final cut, but only for the US, in every other market it had to be less than 120 minutes)? Maybe Warners presold the film in foriegn markets as a double bill w/ another film? I don't know, I'm just speculating.

My guess is that the film was cut simply for length to make it shorter and get more screenings per day. This would explain why there is no documented explanation from Kubrick (ie. This would be an example of him not having complete control and he would be loath to talk or write about any situation where he didn't have control.)

User avatar
Paul Moran
Posts: 366
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:06 pm
Location: UK

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#3 Post by Paul Moran » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:56 pm

I got used to the long version through screenings on British TV - back in the days when they were able to show non-BBFC certified versions - and I even had a VHS recording of it. I like the film, and it was high on my list for a DVD upgrade, when I finally took the plunge in 2000. I was not amused when the UK DVD turned out to be a much shorter version than the one I was familiar with. I eventually ordered the R1 DVD. And I subsequently bought the US blu-ray.

IMDb has a lengthy entry on the cuts and their history.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Posts: 4150
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#4 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:10 pm

Some articles out there imply that he trimmed it down because of second thoughts brought on by bad reviews and disappointing early box office.

Regardless, I'd get behind cutting the scene with the psychiatrist and the skeletons by the table. The former is too much of a drag (and the revelation of Jack's alcoholism is best left at the bar scene, late in the film). The skeletons look ridiculously banal when the rest of the film is so much more imaginative.

User avatar
ando
Bringing Out El Duende
Posts: 1364
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:53 pm
Location: New York City

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#5 Post by ando » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:52 am

I haven't seen the shorter UK version (so I can't answer your original question) but I've always felt the damned thing was too long. The set up and settling in of the characters is nicely paced, but once they're in all that meandering within the various rooms and corridors gets tiresome. It may provide information about the fates of the previous inhabitants but does little to propel the narrative. The hotel becomes a sort of wasteland for the three main characters, which may mirror their inner, emotional lives, but I don't think Kubric was moving in this direction, necessarily. And it's too bad because I believe if he was consciously working in this direction it might have been a more interesting film. With all the emphasis on the murderous act there is little else to ponder except blood. It's like the second half of Macbeth (or, at least, everything after the banquet scene):
"It will have blood, they say... blood will have blood!"

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12209
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#6 Post by MichaelB » Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:12 am

hearthesilence wrote:Some articles out there imply that he trimmed it down because of second thoughts brought on by bad reviews and disappointing early box office.
Another reason is that the whole Dick Hallorann subplot where he's trying to get to the hotel is agonisingly protracted - which is fine if you genuinely don't know what's going to happen (or if you've read the book and think that all this effort is worth it), but it's pretty damn tedious on repeat viewing.

Incidentally, the short version contains anomalies that I'm surprised an obsessive like Kubrick allowed to stand - the opening credits still include Anne Jackson and Tony Burton, who no longer appear!

I haven't seen the short version in ages - in fact, I think I've only seen it twice in the cinema in the 1980s. From the late 80s I only watched the 144-minute cut, first on VHS via an unexpected ITV broadcast, then on DVD and finally Blu-ray - and I only got my hands on a Blu-ray of the shorter cut the other month, when I bought the European version of the Kubrick box set. So I couldn't reliably say which one I prefer right now - though I suspect it may be the shorter cut.

User avatar
feckless boy
Posts: 234
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:38 pm
Location: Stockholm

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#7 Post by feckless boy » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:51 am

Bill Blakemore seems to be of the opinion that The Shining was made with an American audience in mind - along the lines of Haneke's Funny Games remake. Not entirely convincing maybe, but a good read nevertheless.

User avatar
Roger Ryan
Posts: 1879
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:04 pm
Location: A Midland town spread and darkened into a city

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#8 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:52 am

I'm hesitant to comment since I haven't seen the shorter version, but it looks like some of my favorite little moments were cut for the U.K. issue. I think Anne Jackson's scene is excellent; the delayed cut to her blank yet knowing reaction to what Wendy has been telling her always elicits a nervous laugh from me. Similarly, I love Nelson commenting that "all the best people" stay at the Overlook. For me, the longer set-up suggesting that Halloran will save the day is what makes his demise so much more disturbing (I have no problem with this on repeat viewings). What makes THE SHINING different from the standard horror offering is its glacial pacing and I've never thought it needed to be sped up.

User avatar
hearthesilence
Posts: 4150
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#9 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:01 am

I'm a little surprised that so few critics have commented on the different versions too, only because some like Jonathan Rosenbaum and Andrew O'Hehir have admitted to changing and conflicting views of the film. (FWIW, David Thomson has never been a Kubrick fan, but he thinks The Shining is his one great film, and it's almost certain that Thomson's referring to the 119 minute cut since he's based in the UK.) 30 minutes is a pretty big change, and when so many people debate over the film's pacing, etc., I imagine a shorter cut could make a significant impact on one's view of the film.

(Not sure if the analogy works but think about Rubber Soul. It influenced Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds, and yet he heard the U.S. version, pretty interesting considering that the American versions of Beatles albums are usually sliced-and-diced, and Wilson felt the U.S. version had an integrity and consistency that he wanted to emulate.)

Anyway, it's a shame they didn't "include" both versions on the Blu-Ray for both sides of the Atlantic. Seamless branching should've made it a non-issue.
Last edited by hearthesilence on Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

mckeldinb
Posts: 25
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:15 pm

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#10 Post by mckeldinb » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:05 am

I was able to download a copy of the shorter European cut; but I confess I only watched about a half hour of it. I'm so used to the longer U.S. cut that I found the edits distracting. This isn't to say that the longer version is better... but it's what I'm used to. The earlier comment about the revelation of Jack's alcoholism being better left to later in the movie is interesting. I don't necessarily disagree, but I love Anne Jackson as the pediatrician so I'm biased on behalf of keeping her scene in the movie.

Eventually I'll sit down and watch the shorter version from beginning to end -- hopefully with an open mind.

User avatar
Feego
Posts: 1511
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#11 Post by Feego » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:22 am

I must say I very much agree with Roger Ryan above. I too have never seen the shorter cut, but I have a hard time imagining the film without some of these scenes. In particular, the doctor scene to me is integral to the film's set-up and our introduction to the characters. By revealing the history of Jack's alcoholism and his physical abuse of Danny early on, Kubrick gives the film a sense of unease from the very beginning because we know that this family is already on the brink of self-destruction. In the very next scene, for example, in which the family is driving to the hotel, there is an edge to the family dynamic as Jack seems visibly annoyed with Wendy's talking. Later, when Jack has a nightmare of killing Wendy and Danny, and Wendy finds Danny with the bruises on his neck, there is a greater emotional connection by knowing their history. We totally understand Wendy's devastation at the thought that Jack has hurt their son, because all hope that he will change has been dashed for her.

On a more personal note, I love the doctor scene because I think it is one of Shelley Duvall's best moments in the film. Duvall gets a lot of mixed reviews, but I think she's brilliant. Her vulnerability and the sense that she is delusional enough to believe that Jack will turn around completely are heartbreaking. I love the way she tells the doctor about the incident with Danny's shoulder. In her most childlike way, you get the feeling she is trying harder to convince herself that it was just an innocent accident than the doctor. And like Roger Ryan said, that cut to Anne Jackson's reaction is a great payoff.

User avatar
aox
Posts: 2394
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 12:02 pm
Location: nYc

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#12 Post by aox » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:50 am

Does the shorter version contain the extended ending with the hospital scene?

User avatar
Feego
Posts: 1511
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#13 Post by Feego » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:34 pm

No, it seems the hospital scene was only included in preview showings and has never been seen again.

User avatar
MichaelB
Posts: 12209
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#14 Post by MichaelB » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:52 pm

There's nothing in the shorter version that isn't in the longer version. Quite literally, it's the US theatrical cut with 25 minutes removed.

User avatar
mfunk9786
Posts: 11716
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 4:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#15 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:28 pm

Feego wrote:I must say I very much agree with Roger Ryan above. I too have never seen the shorter cut, but I have a hard time imagining the film without some of these scenes. In particular, the doctor scene to me is integral to the film's set-up and our introduction to the characters. By revealing the history of Jack's alcoholism and his physical abuse of Danny early on, Kubrick gives the film a sense of unease from the very beginning because we know that this family is already on the brink of self-destruction. In the very next scene, for example, in which the family is driving to the hotel, there is an edge to the family dynamic as Jack seems visibly annoyed with Wendy's talking. Later, when Jack has a nightmare of killing Wendy and Danny, and Wendy finds Danny with the bruises on his neck, there is a greater emotional connection by knowing their history. We totally understand Wendy's devastation at the thought that Jack has hurt their son, because all hope that he will change has been dashed for her.

On a more personal note, I love the doctor scene because I think it is one of Shelley Duvall's best moments in the film. Duvall gets a lot of mixed reviews, but I think she's brilliant. Her vulnerability and the sense that she is delusional enough to believe that Jack will turn around completely are heartbreaking. I love the way she tells the doctor about the incident with Danny's shoulder. In her most childlike way, you get the feeling she is trying harder to convince herself that it was just an innocent accident than the doctor. And like Roger Ryan said, that cut to Anne Jackson's reaction is a great payoff.
This.

User avatar
Graham
Posts: 166
Joined: Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:50 pm
Location: London

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#16 Post by Graham » Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:57 am

I own both edits on blu-ray and prefer the longer U.S. one. The shorter edit loses the slow-build sense of dread and much of the film's 'epic' feel. It is, however, extremely lean and remains mesmerising.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Posts: 8613
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#17 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:44 pm

Bret Easton Ellis just Tweeted this...
The Shining taps into Kubrick's misogyny (see Full Metal Jacket): the three males have intuitive imaginative powers that the woman doesn't.]

User avatar
Feego
Posts: 1511
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Texas

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#18 Post by Feego » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:36 pm

But if that's the case, then how does Wendy see the ghosts...

I will agree that Kubrick's depictions of women can be problematic, but in this case, the evil of the hotel preys on Jack's mental and emotional weakness. It is the weakness of the male that has allowed evil and danger to enter their lives in the first place, and ultimately it's the strength of the female that saves them. In fact, if you look at a number of other Kubrick films, like Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick features men who have an overly inflated sense of their own worth, and in all three of these films, the men are married to women who prove to be smarter, more intuitive, and generally more responsible.

User avatar
Mr Sausage
Not PETA approved
Posts: 5844
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:02 pm
Location: Canada

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#19 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:45 pm

Also, wasn't it Halloran's grandmother that he says taught him how to Shine and so forth?

User avatar
knives
Posts: 13965
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#20 Post by knives » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:48 pm

Yes. It seems the film at least suggests a genetic transmission of the powers so if one parent doesn't have it makes sense. Plus None of the three on screen characters with the power benefit from it, in fact making their life noticeably worse.

User avatar
Murdoch
Posts: 3197
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:59 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#21 Post by Murdoch » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:53 pm

Also, disregarding the supernatural ability/perception of the characters, it seems that the wife retaining her sanity and protecting her child while her husband turns into a psychotic killer is a fairly strong indication that the film isn't taking a disparaging view of women.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Posts: 8613
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#22 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:53 pm

He went on further just now
Lolita (duh), Dr. Strangelove (whores), 2001 (women: a little girl and stewardess), A Clockwork Orange (bitchy yoga woman) female places Alex in prison, Barry Lyndon (Lady Lyndon still writing checks at end), Full Metal Jacket (sniper).
I usually don't agree with any of his Tweets, but I thought this was interesting.

User avatar
matrixschmatrix
Posts: 5931
Joined: Tue May 25, 2010 11:26 pm

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#23 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:04 pm

That's a wildly inconsistent argument- in some cases he's critiquing the depictions of women for being too passive, in other cases for being too aggressive. It's fair enough to say that his movies are almost always male-focused, which is to some degree a product of misogyny, but saying that FMJ is misogynist because the only woman in it is an incredible soldier- or that The Shining is misogynist because the woman isn't cursed or insane- isn't adding much to that.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Posts: 8613
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#24 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:07 pm

He's talked more about it on his account, but rather than cut and paste, I'll just share the link.

User avatar
John Edmond
Posts: 390
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 8:35 pm

Re: The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

#25 Post by John Edmond » Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:08 pm

Depiction does not equal approval - you would think Ellis would know that. Not saying Kubrick's work is not complicated. But considering Paths of Glory, The Shining, and Full Metal Jacket are to some degree critiques of masculinity he doesn't deserve being labelled a misogynist. No more than Ellis does, that's for sure.

Post Reply