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I was expected yet another lame, MTV style "making of" documentary. What I
got was a highly insightful experience.
The documentary only consists of Vivian (Kubrick's daughter) walking around the set of "The Shining" with her own personal camera...
We see Jack Nicholson talk in his own smooth way, highlighting his lines, and preparing for his takes in the most cool manner you can ever imagine.
We see little Danny Lloyd, as confident as all child actors that age usually are.
We see Shelly Duvall, complete with panic attacks and envy towards her main co-worker, Mr. Nicholson.
And last but not least, we see Kubrick. Giving birth to his movie magic.
What's so amazing about this documentary is how natural it is. It's the closest experience you can get to real movie-making experience.
If you like Kubrick, "The Shining", or Nicholson, then this is the one for you.
Buy "The Shining" DVD, to see it.
Offers a rare look at Stanley Kubrick at work, for which the world owes
Vivian Kubrick a debt. Probably only his daughter could have that kind of
access, though true to form, Kubrick Sr. is the only principal who doesn't
submit to a sit-down interview. We do get to see him at work, giving
to Jack Nicholson, sniping at Shelley Duvall, telling Danny Lloyd to look
Unfortunately, we don't get much more than that. This lacks the insight of Eleanor Coppola's "Hearts of Darkness", which was a full-scale memoir about the making of an important film. Ultimately this is just a home movie that happens to be on a Kubrick set. The only real revelation about the making of the film is going backstage at the hedge maze set. But the main reason to watch it is Nicholson, who never met a camera he couldn't charm.
Stanley Kubrick has been unjustly compared to Howard Hughes in regards to his public appearances. You never saw him on TV talk shows, or make guest cameos in friends' movies. This was the first time I got to see Kubrick actually move around and talk. Wow! Here's one of the most legendary filmmakers since Hitchcock, a super intellect who knew the puzzle behind 2001, loved chess and military history, and he has such a drab American voice. No Hitchcock drawl, DeMille comanding bellow, or Scorcese jitter-talk, just a flat, almost personality free "Uh.... Shelley, that was unconvincing. It was fake... let's do it again." You don't learn anything new about Kubrick's life, his shooting style, directorial style. His talented daughter has made an excellent little companion piece to dad's horror classic.
This is what Making Of DVD extras are supposed to be like(or, at the very least, should be like): short, precise and to the point. Vivian Kubrick, the directors daughter, takes a camera and follows Nicholson around and interviews some of the actors, both during and after production about making the film and their opinion of Stanley Kubrick. Jack Nicholson was entertaining to watch, because though his characters are usually a lot like himself, it's kind of a rarity to see him really be himself. He flirts a little with Vivian, which must be considered either somewhat cute or deeply disturbing, seeing as he's old enough to be her father, and her actual father is nearby. Danny Lloyd is kind of cute to see interviewed. Shelley Duvall is interesting to listen to in the interviews. Scatman Crothers' interview is inspirational, even though it only lasts a few seconds. Nicholson is the most interesting and gets the most time in this. What I really liked about it, though, what really made it interesting to me was seeing Kubrick work. He has a certain intensity, a concentration that I find inspirational and impressive, being a (albeit on a much smaller scale) film-maker myself. Seeing him directing, figuring out angles, and just going around between takes... you can feel his intensity and concentration all the way through. I recommend this to any fan of Kubrick or film-making in general. While not very technical, it provides a good look at what goes on behind the scenes on a film production. 8/10
This is probably the most fun little behind-the-scenes glimpse i've ever
been given. I think its exactly BECAUSE its so rough, exactly because it
consists of Kubrick's daughter being let loose with a camcorder on his film
set for The Shining (1980) that its so compelling. As Vivian herself says on
a commentary she recorded for the recent DVD re-release of The Shining, its
because she was so young and everyone took her for a kid messing around that
they ended up being so honest with her and allowing her to take such
liberties as walking in on them in their bedrooms or asking to-the-point
questions about the way they've been treated on the production (Shelley
Duvall in particular, who Kubrick virtually tormented in order to create the
perfect feeling for her part).
Most precious of all, obviously, are the glimpses of Kubrick behind the scenes. On the ground with a camera underneath Jack getting the perfect posture and feeling for the famous scene where he's locked in the kitchen and banging on the door. His directorial rage at Shelley Duvall when she missed her queue and spoiled the perfect set-up of the snow-machine and other elements Kubrick had arranged for the shot. First thing in the morning, looking slovenly (like all great artists - caring nothing for how he looked and everything for how his film would look), greeting Jack and staring right into the camera looking less-than-impressed.
As impossible as it is to choose one Kubrick production over another, The Shining is particularly great. And this little documentary, the only special feature you'll ever find on a Kubrick DVD, becomes all the more valuable for the scarcity of behind-the-scenes glimpses of Kubrick at work. Enjoy!
What is it that makes this an excellent behind-the-scenes doc? Well for
starters it gives us a glimpse of how Jack Nicholson, one of the
greatest actors of the last few decades, works on his films. We see his
apartment in which he has temporarily set up shop while the filming
takes place and see that it is just as messy as anyone else's. We also
get to see Scatman Crothers, a highly underrated character actor who
never got the recognition he deserved weeping tears of joy for, in his
words, "Being able to work with such beautiful people" (although it
could very well have been a cry for help given his age and Kubrick's
demand for perfectionism). We witness Danny Lloyd being perfectly
candid and honest about his experiences now that he has starred in a
major motion picture. We see Shelly Duvall having a near breakdown on
set due to stress and illness, yet at the end turning on her heal and
admitting that she has no regrets and learned more than she ever had up
to this point.
But the main event of this documentary and the one that truly sets it apart from all others are the glimpses we catch of the master himself. Stanley Kubrick was a consummate filmmaker, an artist of legendary proportions and above all, an enigma. No one ever really knew Stanley, not even those close to him and we as a viewing audience can only guess just what went on in that labyrinthine mind of his as he poured his heart and soul into each movie he made. Well thanks to his very own daughter, we received the opportunity to watch the legend at work. We see him telling Danny to look scared, telling Jack to look down while he speaks, and telling Shelly off for ruining his shot when he had it just the way he wanted it. We even see him come up with one of the most famous shots in the film mere seconds before he decides to use it. He only yells if the situation truly necessitates it and otherwise speaks with a slow and almost subservient voice. It's one thing to see a picture of Kubrick but another thing entirely to see him up and about giving orders to his cast and crew. True to style, he is the only principle on the set to not give a sit-down interview and actually explain himself but that doesn't even matter, because what we see of him is more than enough to whet our appetites. We see him at work, in his element, doing what he was always meant to do. What more could you ask for?
First of all I want to thank Stanley's daughter for finally showing us
the Master at work. Though only 35 minutes long this short documentary
manages to reveal us the secret (though only a bit) of Kubrick's movie
making. We don't see a man who commands his actors by giving them orders, as
some people may think of Stanley, we see a simple man, who, what is hard to
believe, talks and walks, and makes jokes just like everyone else. We see a
man who is a friend of his actors, he isn't rude with them, we see how he
behaves when one(Duvall actually) spoils a set-up.
This documentary is an amateur work, but still, this is the only video material on which we can see Mr.Kubrick at work. Thanks at lest for that!
I can't seem to stop watching or thinking about this little documentary and it really makes me want to view the rest of the footage. How can one be so obsessed with a Making of film? I often find them more interesting than the films themselves. Jack Nicholson's camera charm antics, "beautiful! finish the assignment!" Vivien's ultra-cute sounding voice "Thats not true it's 8 o'clock." I was a bit disappointed in the new "A Life in Pictures" documentary from Jan Harlan, mostly banal interviews and film clips, where's all the behind the scenes footage from his various films? That's what I want to see, more footage of Stanley having a fit and getting frustrated. Thank god for Vivian's Making the Shining, she is a prodigy. To think she photographed that at age 17, with a large heavy Aaton 16mm (I'm assuming) and did a magnificent job of filming. A truly amazing job, absolutely astounding, incredible, precocious. I often wonder what line of work she went into later in life, she probably could have been an amazing cinematographer, which is a field somewhat lacking the female gender. Vivien, if your out there, contact me, I'd like to hire you to shoot my next film!
In maybe one of a few rare glimpses on screen (or even off), Stanley
Kubrick is on film, behind the scenes, making a movie. It is one of the
shames of cinema that there isn't more footage of him, or even in this
half hour documentary he isn't interviewed. But his presence is
fascinating all the same, and when he is shown directing he is what has
been perceived as for decades- creative, different, controlling,
authoritative, and somehow generous as a director. There's one scene
that's rather interesting where Kubrick's mother is sitting with his
son and Jack Nicholson having a small conversation; it's admitted that
there isn't a finished script, that new pages come every day for the
actors. The interaction between the people in this scene, and others,
makes this worthwhile.
I've yet to see the DVD version so I can't comment on Vivian Kubrick's commentary track (the director's daughter, who was perfectly 'cute as Heywood Floyd's daughter in 2001). But what she presents for us is candid, and usually very insightful. An interview with Nicholson, who's sound-bites are choice, and wise as well when he says, "I want to be out of control as an actor...otherwise it will predictably be MY work, and that's no fun." But there is also a heartfelt interview with Scatman Crothers, who came out of filming in the arduous conditions of Kubrick's perfectionism (there were dozens and dozens of takes that Crothers had to give, according to trivia). There is a not too shabby interview with Danny Lloyd, who played the boy in the film. And Shelly Duvall, who does lay it as straight as possible about what it was like to work with the director; the scene that is captured over Kubrick's shoulder (of an argument between actor and director) is a little uncomfortable, but in the end one can see why Kubrick wanted it the way he did for the finished film.
Usually 'making-of' documentaries are hit or miss, depending on the films of course; one would prefer an audio commentary, or a long interview with the filmmaker about the making of the film. But as the Shining has neither of these - and is the only place to fins unadulterated footage of the iconoclast and his cast at work on screen and off (if you discount the Criterion DVD release of Spartacus and a recent release of Dr. Strangelove) - it's well worth the half hour; the added music by Carlos is a nice touch.
I'm so glad people are in here writing about this one. It's for me, one
of the greatest documentaries showing true behind the scenes footage of
a film. And I think it needs to be said time and time again really how
great this film is. I wish that more stuff like this was shot on other
films, where we got to see other directors working away...it's the
oddest thing really but we hardly ever seem to see casual conversations
between two people (on the set of a film) being shot very often,
they're fascinating things to watch...Michael Palin does it on his
What I have to mention here too is, what I think is a very good companion piece for Vivian Kubricks film, The Fred Dibnah Story which was shot at round about the same time...it goes from 1979 to early 90s and is in six episodes, thirty minutes per episode. It has the same style to it, a truly wonderful style I have to say.
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