A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) has been hired on as the caretaker to the Overlook Hotel, in the mountains of Colorado. with his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and young son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), he moves into the hotel to keep it in shape during the harsh winter that will isolate them for weeks at a time.
Danny learns from the hotel’s head chef Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) of a thing called the Shining, a sort of psychic communication. Danny has the power very strong.
Over time, Jack’s behavior becomes more and more erratic, and Danny begins to see the ghosts of the hotel, which has a violent and sordid past.
This movie has been on many lists of best films ever made, or best horror movies ever made, though Stephen King famously loathed it for a variety of reasons.
By some figuring in the movie they didn’t even make it to mid-December, but in the book at least, they had a Christmas, and the ghost the party at the end certainly resembled New Years Eve. So Happy New Year, everybody!
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
The making of the film is well-documented. And one thing that stands out is that Stanley Kubrick, known as a meticulous filmmaker, was heavily cruel to actress Shelley Duvall, berating her in front of others and making her do multiple takes of harrowing scenes over a hundred times. She broke down crying often, and Kubrick warned others to not be nice to her. To make it worse, a six-month shoot became almost a year because of Kubrick’s insistence of doing things over. and over. and over.
No one is so good or so talented that you need to put up with their toxic behavior.
Here’s my conflict: this movie is GOOD, but the way it was made was in my opinion unethical and unnecessary. Kubrick’s work is good, but he was abusive to Shelley Duvall and others. What to do with this?
It’s simplified a bit by Kubrick’s death — it’s not like the dude is still around and making money off them. But how do we respond? How, especially, do we respond to the film students RIGHT NOW looking up to Kubrick and this way of filmmaking?
Similarly, how do we respond to Method actors that become a-holes to their costars? Nicholson studied Method, but you don’t see him being abusive to Shelley. But others … you hear stories.
I think, the best response is two-fold: first, shine light on it. Shine light on these practices, so people can judge for themselves whether to support the work, and more importantly, so actors can judge whether they are willing to work under those conditions. Second, and this is echoing a speech by Neil Gaiman, MAKE GOOD ART. But also Make art by being good to people. DO BETTER.
Reportedly, Judy Garland was starved and fed pills to shoot Wizard of Oz. The original Tin Man was scarred for life by a reaction to the toxic face paint. SAG wasn’t very old (1933; Wizard came out in 1939), and clearly not doing enough to protect actors and crew yet. OSHA was still 30 years in the future. Either organization could have stepped in, and probably would have except for the degree of fame and worship Kubrick held in the industry.
(None of this addresses folks whose evil ways are outside f the actual filmmaking. That’s another kettle of fish. You’ll note I haven’t covered Roman Polanski yet.)
It’s a good film. A great film. I don’t think there’s any reason to feel guilty for liking it. Duvall herself speaks highly of the film, though she describes the making of it as the hardest thing she’s ever had to live through. But as much as we have influence in the art we create or consume, let’s DO BETTER. For every genius making people’s lives miserable, there’s dozens of creators who can manage to make good art without being a-holes. Let’s stop worshipping the a-holes just because they’re talented.
|Runtime:||2 hrs 26 Mins.|