Because Danny Lloyd was so young, and since it was his first acting job, Stanley Kubrick was highly protective of the child. During the shooting of the movie, Lloyd was under the impression that the film he was making was a drama, not a horror movie. In fact, when Wendy carries Danny away while shouting at Jack in the Colorado Lounge, she is actually carrying a life-size dummy, so Lloyd would not have to be in the scene. He only realized the truth several years later, when he was shown a heavily edited version of the film. He did not see the uncut version of the film until he was seventeen, eleven years after he had made it.
Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall have expressed open resentment against the reception of this film, feeling that critics and audiences credited Stanley Kubrick solely for the film's success without considering the efforts of the actors, crew, or the strength of Stephen King's underlying material. Nicholson and Duvall have said that the film was one of the hardest of their careers; in fact, Nicholson considers Duvall's performance the most difficult role he's ever seen an actress take on. Duvall also considers her performance the hardest of her life.
For the scene in which Jack breaks down the bathroom door, the props department built a door that could be easily broken. However, Jack Nicholson had worked as a volunteer fire marshal and tore it apart far too easily. The props department were then forced to build a stronger door.
Jack Nicholson suggested Scatman Crothers for the film. Crothers had a tough time on this movie, with Stanley Kubrick making him do over one hundred takes for one scene. Crothers' next film was Bronco Billy (1980), directed by Clint Eastwood, who was famous for generally only going with one take. Crothers broke down in tears of gratitude on his first scene in the film when he realized he wouldn't have to do endless take after take again.
Anjelica Huston lived with Jack Nicholson during the time of the shooting. She recalled that, due to the long hours on the set and Stanley Kubrick's trademark style of repetitive takes, Nicholson would often return from a day's shooting, walk straight to the bed, collapse onto it, and would immediately fall asleep.
Tony Burton, who had a brief role as Larry Durkin the garage owner, arrived on-set one day carrying a chess set in hopes of getting in a game with someone during a break from filming. Stanley Kubrick, an avid chess player who had, in his youth, played for money, noticed the chess set. Despite production being behind schedule, Kubrick proceeded to call off filming for the day and engage in a set of games with Burton. Burton only managed to win one game, but nevertheless Kubrick thanked him, since it had been some time that he'd played against a challenging opponent.
Stanley Kubrick, known for his compulsiveness and numerous retakes, got the difficult shot of blood pouring from the elevators in only three takes. This would be remarkable if it weren't for the fact that the shot took nine days to set up. Every time the doors opened and the blood poured out, Kubrick would say, "It doesn't look like blood." In the end, the shot took approximately a year to get right.
All of the interior rooms of the Overlook Hotel were filmed at Elstree Studios in England, including the Colorado Lounge, where Jack does his typing. Because of the intense heat generated from the lighting used to recreate window sunlight (the room took seven hundred thousand watts of light per window to make it look like a snowy day outside), the lounge set caught fire. Fortunately all of the scenes had been completed there, so the set was rebuilt with a higher ceiling, and the same area was eventually used by Steven Spielberg as the snake-filled Well of the Souls tomb in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
Despite Stanley Kubrick's fierce demands on everyone, Jack Nicholson admitted to having a good working relationship with him. It was with Shelley Duvall that he was a completely different director. He allegedly picked on her more than anyone else, as seen in the documentaries Making 'The Shining' (1980) and Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001). He would really lose his temper with her, even going so far as to say that she was wasting the time of everyone on the set. She later reflected that he was probably pushing her to her limits to get the best out of her, and that she wouldn't trade the experience for anything, but it was not something she ever wished to repeat.
Stephen King was quite disappointed in the final film. While admitting that Stanley Kubrick's visuals were stunning, he said that was surface and not substance. He often described the film as "A fancy car without an engine."
Stanley Kubrick had envisioned Shelley Duvall as his more timid, dependent version of Wendy Torrance from the very beginning. However, Jack Nicholson after reading the novel, wanted Jessica Lange for the role of Wendy, and even recommended her to Kubrick, as he felt she fit Stephen King's version of the character. After explaining the changes he had made, Kubrick convinced him that Duvall was the correct choice, as she best suited the emotionally fragile Wendy he had in mind. Many years later, Nicholson told Empire magazine he thought Duvall was fantastic and called her work in the film, "the toughest job that any actor that I've seen had".
Stanley Kubrick considered Robert De Niro and Robin Williams for the role of Jack Torrance, but decided against them. Kubrick did not think De Niro would suit the role after watching his performance in Taxi Driver (1976), as he deemed De Niro not psychotic enough for the role. He did not think Williams would suit the role after watching his performance on Mork & Mindy (1978), as he deemed him too psychotic for the role. According to Stephen King, Kubrick also briefly considered Harrison Ford.
After Barry Lyndon (1975), Stanley Kubrick started researching his next project by reading a lot of recent books. His secretary could hear him throwing rejected books at the wall in his office. One day, he started reading Stephen King's novel and, after a few hours, when his secretary hadn't heard the familiar sound of a book hitting the wall, she knew he had found his next project.
Jack Nicholson claimed that the scene where Jack snaps at Wendy for interrupting his writing was the most difficult for him, as he was a writer himself and had gotten into similar arguments with his girlfriend. Being a method actor, he drew on his memories of those arguments and added the line "Or if you come in here and you DON'T hear me typing, if I'm in here that means I'm working!"
There was no air conditioning on the sets, meaning it would often become very hot. The hedge maze set was stifling. Actor, actress, and crew would often strip off as much of the heavy clothing they were wearing as quickly as they could once a shot was finished.
Prior to hiring Diane Johnson as his writing partner, Stanley Kubrick rejected a screenplay written by Stephen King. King's script was a much more literal adaptation of the novel, a much more traditional horror film, than the film Kubrick would ultimately make. He was considering hiring Johnson because he admired her novel "The Shadow Knows", but when he found out she was a Doctor of Gothic Studies, he became convinced she was the person for the job.
On the DVD commentary track for Making 'The Shining' (1980), Vivian Kubrick reveals that Shelley Duvall received "no sympathy at all" from anyone on the set. This was apparently Stanley Kubrick's tactic in making her feel utterly hopeless. This is most evident in the documentary when he tells Vivian, "Don't sympathize with Shelley." Kubrick then goes on to tell Duvall, "It doesn't help you."
When Steadicam inventor and operator Garrett Brown was hired to work on the picture, he was assured that there was no way the shoot would run over six months, as he had to be back in the United States in six months time to shoot Rocky II (1979). Six months into the shoot, less than half the film had been shot, and for several months, Brown worked one week in London on this movie, and one week in Philadelphia on Rocky II (1979), commuting by Concorde every Sunday.
The Shining was eventually re-adapted as a 1997 miniseries that followed Stephen King's book more closely, because of his dissatisfaction with Stanley Kubrick's adaptation. However, Kubrick owned the rights to the 1980 adaptation, so in order for King to get the right to re-adapt his own book into the miniseries, Kubrick required that he sign a legally-binding contract that forced King to no longer be able to bring up frequent public criticism of Kubrick's film, save for the sole commentary that he was disappointed with Jack Nicholson's portrayal of Jack Torrance, as though he had been insane before his arrival at the Overlook Hotel.
Stanley Kubrick wanted to shoot the film in script order. This meant having all the relevant sets standing by at all times. In order to achieve this, every soundstage at Elstree Studios was used, with all the sets built, pre-lit and ready to go during the entire shoot at the studios.
The only shot in the film not achieved in-camera was the slow zoom in on the model of the maze, with the tiny figures of Danny and Wendy walking around at the center. To achieve this shot, a model of the maze was shot from six feet above. Then the small central section of the maze was built to scale next to an apartment complex. Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd then walked about in the central section while the camera crew filmed it from the roof of the apartment building. The two shots were then simply composited together.
Much like the casting of the character Jack, Stephen King also disliked the casting of Shelley Duvall as Wendy. King said that he envisioned Wendy as being a blond former cheerleader type who never had to deal with any true problems in her life, making her experience in the Overlook all the more terrifying. He felt that Duvall was too emotionally vulnerable and appeared to have gone through a lot in her life, basically the exact opposite of how he pictured the character.
One of Stanley Kubrick's favorite films was Eraserhead (1977), directed by David Lynch. Kubrick cited the film as a creative influence during the making of this movie, and screened it to put the cast and crew in the mood he wanted to achieve for the film.
Outtakes of the shots of the Volkswagen Beetle travelling towards the Overlook Hotel at the start of the film were "plundered" by Ridley Scott (with Stanley Kubrick's permission) when he was forced to add the "happy ending" to the original release of Blade Runner (1982). Of course, none of the shots used in Blade Runner (1982) were ones that included the car.
According to Vivian Kubrick in her "making of", Stanley Kubrick's secretary spent weeks, if not months, typing dozens of pages "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" for the scene where Wendy discovers those pages that Jack has been typing.
Garrett Brown accomplished many of the ultra-low tracking corridor sequences from a wheelchair, on which his invention was mounted. Grips would either pull backward or push forward the wheelchair, depending on the requirement of the shot.
There is a great deal of confusion regarding this film and the number of retakes of certain scenes. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the scene where Wendy is backing up the stairs swinging the baseball bat was shot 127 times, which is a record for the most takes of a single scene. However, both Steadicam operator Garrett Brown and assistant editor Gordon Stainforth say this is inaccurate. The scene was shot about thirty-five to forty-five times.
During an interview for Britain's The 100 Greatest Scary Moments (2003), Shelley Duvall revealed that due to her role requiring her to be in an almost constant state of hysteria, she eventually ran out of tears from crying so hard. To overcome this, she kept bottles of water with her at all times on-set to remain hydrated.
Stephen King got the idea for the book while his family were staying at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. They were the last guests before it shut down for the winter. He saw a group of nuns leaving the hotel, and it got him thinking that the place had suddenly become godless. The King family stayed in Room 217, the haunted room in the novel, but Room 237 in the film. A fire hose also resembled a snake (which doesn't appear in the movie, but does in The Shining (1997) television miniseries), and King had already been playing around with a story idea about a boy with ESP, so he combined the two plotlines.
During the scene where Wendy brings Jack breakfast in bed, it can be seen in the reflection of the mirror that Jack's t-shirt says "Stovington" on it. While not mentioned in the film, this is the name of the school that Jack used to teach at in the novel.
Stephen King was first approached by Stanley Kubrick about making this movie via an early morning phone call (England is five hours ahead of Maine in time zones). King, suffering from a hangover, shaving, and at first thinking one of his kids was injured, was shocked when his wife told him Kubrick was really on the phone. King recalled that the first thing Kubrick did was to immediately start talking about how optimistic ghost stories are, because they suggest that humans survive death. "What about Hell?" King asked. Kubrick paused for several moments before finally replying, "I don't believe in Hell?" King replied stating that there are people who believe in Hell, and that they fear it more than death itself. This was tremendously effective in helping Kubrick understand the feel of the story.
To construct the interiors of the Overlook Hotel, Stanley Kubrick and production designer Roy Walker purposely set out to make it look like an amalgamation of bits and pieces of real hotels, rather than giving it one single design aesthetic. Kubrick had sent many photographers around the country photographing hotel rooms and picking his favorite. For example, the red men's bathroom was modelled on a men's room in the Biltmore Hotel in Arizona, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Colorado lounge was modelled on the lounge of the Ahwanee Hotel in the Yosemite Valley. Indeed, the chandeliers, windows and fireplace are nearly identical, so much so that people entering the Ahwahnee Hotel often ask if it's "the Shining hotel".
According to Variety Magazine, the film took almost 200 days to shoot. However, according to assistant editor Gordon Stainforth, it took much more, nearly a year. The film was originally supposed to take seventeen weeks, but it ultimately took fifty-one. Because the film ran so long, Reds (1981) and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) were delayed, as they were waiting to shoot in Elstree Studios.
The Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, Oregon, was used for the front exterior, but all of the interiors, as well as the back of the hotel, were specially built at Elstree Studios in London, England. Legend says that the management of the Timberline requested that Stanley Kubrick not use 217 for a room number (as specified in the book), fearing that nobody would want to stay in that room ever again. Kubrick changed the script to use the nonexistent room number 237.
Jack tells Lloyd in the bar that Danny once messed around with his work papers. This mirrors an event in Stephen King's life, when his son once started playing around with his writing notes. He felt like killing him.
Stanley Kubrick's perfectionism extended to insisting that the cast members be on-set to be measured for the lighting of the scene, something that is normally done with stand-ins. Jack Nicholson claimed that Kubrick was the only director he ever worked with who required the actual cast members to pose for the lighting, which required that they arrive on-set several hours earlier than usual.
During the making of the movie, Stanley Kubrick would occasionally call Stephen King at 3:00 a.m. and ask him questions like "Do you believe in God?" Steven Spielberg had heard this story, and asked Kubrick if it was true. Kubrick denied that it happened.
Most of the elaborate urban legends and conspiracy theories surrounding this film (ranging from it serving as a Holocaust metaphor to a confession that Kubrick helped fake the moon landings) were refuted by Stanley Kubrick during his lifetime or later by the surviving cast and crew. For example, the famous "impossible corridors" are a result of set logistics, Kubrick wanted to shoot Danny on his big wheel in unbroken takes, so the hallways had to connect, and the only way the crew could construct them to fit Kubrick's vision, meant mirroring the set to fit available soundstage space. The shadow of the helicopter in the opening shot was the result of a framing error.
Stephen King was disappointed in this film. In an interview in the June 1986 issue of American Film, he said "It's like a great big beautiful Cadillac with no motor inside, you can sit in it and you can enjoy the smell of the leather upholstery, the only thing you can't do is drive it anywhere. So I would do everything different. The real problem is that Kubrick set out to make a horror picture with no apparent understanding of the genre. Everything about it screams that from beginning to end, from plot decisions to the final scene." In particular, King disliked the casting of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance. This was because he felt that in the novel, it was pivotal that Jack is initially a good man who is slowly overcome by the forces of evil, and who is fighting a losing battle against alcoholism. King was of the opinion that, due to the casting of Nicholson, who was well known for playing unstable characters, Jack in the film is very much on the edge when the story begins, and the character does not possess the inner goodness so vital to Jack of the novel. King wanted to cast someone who could play the character as more genial in the early stages. Apparently, he was very keen on Jon Voight. He was also hugely disappointed that the themes of the evils of alcoholism, and the disintegration of the family unit were relatively unimportant in the film, due to his own battle with alcoholism, and because of this personal investment in that aspect of the novel, he was largely disheartened by the film.
To achieve the smoothness of the opening shots, cameraman Greg MacGillivray secured a wide angle Arriflex camera to the front of a helicopter, then balanced the blades to remove any vibrations. Even the shot where the camera comes down behind the car, passes it out, and goes over the edge, is done via the helicopter.
The "Making-of" documentary shot by Vivian Kubrick shows that the hedge maze set, while nowhere nearly as large as the maze in the film (which was mostly a matte painting), was still large and complex enough to require a detailed map. In the commentary for her documentary, she notes that many crew members really got lost in the maze, dryly noting that it now reminds her of the lost backstage scene in This Is Spinal Tap (1984).
One of the shots in the part where Jack is bouncing a ball against a wall took several days to film. This was because the shot entailed the ball bouncing from the wall onto the camera lens as it filmed. As Stanley Kubrick was so determined to get this precise shot, the camera kept rolling while the ball was continually hit against the wall in the hope of it bouncing back and hitting the lens. It took everyone on the entire unit having a go at it in between other shots before the shot was finally achieved after several days.
Despite receiving generally unfavorable reviews upon its initial release, the film is now regarded as one of the best horror movies ever made. In 2001, it was ranked twenty-ninth on AFI's '100 Years...100 Thrills' list. In 2003, Jack Torrance was named the twenty-fifth greatest villain on the AFI's '100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains' list. The film was named the scariest film of all time by Channel 4 in 2003, and Total Film had it as the fifth greatest horror film in 2004. Bravo TV placed it sixth on their list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments in 2004. In addition, film critics Kim Newman and Jonathan Romney placed it in their all-time top ten lists for the 2002 Sight and Sound poll.
The famous opening scene was shot in Glacier National Park in Montana just north of St. Mary's Lake. The road seen in the scene, Going-to-the-Sun Road, does actually close down during winter and is only negotiable by snowcat. Kubrick initially sent a second unit to the Rockies in Colorado, but they reported back that the area wasn't very interesting. When Stanley Kubrick saw the footage they had shot, he was furious, and fired the entire unit. He then sent Greg MacGillivray, a noted helicopter cameraman, to Montana and it was McGillivray who shot the scene.
The maze was constructed on an airfield near Elstree Studios, by weaving branches to chicken wire mounted on empty plywood boxes. The maze was shot using an extremely short lens (a 9.8 mm, which gives a horizontal viewing angle of ninety degrees) which was kept dead level at all times, to make the hedges seem much bigger and more imposing than they were in reality.
Danny Torrance's imaginary friend, Tony, isn't given much of an explanation in the 1980 film, however, in the book, Tony is actually Danny's adult self speaking to him from the future (in the book, Danny's middle name is Anthony, or "Tony" for short). Furthermore, in the book, Tony is a benevolent imaginary friend who acts as a sort of conscience, as well as a sixth sense, and a companion for Danny since he doesn't have many friends at school. Tony is also fully visible to Danny as a person. In the film, Tony is invisible, and is only a high-pitched voice, which speaks to Danny's parents through Danny himself. In the film, Tony also appears almost evil, or a sign that Danny is mentally disturbed, often making Danny pass out or scaring his mother, showing him graphic images and eventually full-on possessing Danny and making him write "REDRUM" on the hotel wall with Wendy Torrance's lipstick.
Delbert Grady, the waiter and butler from 1921, spills Advocaat (a yellow liqueur) on Jack in the Gold Room, one of multiple instances where the color yellow gradually becomes more symbolically prevalent as the film moves closer to Jack's madness and the Overlook Hotel's resurrection.
Approximately 4,000 people auditioned for the role of Danny Torrance over a six-month period. The interviews were carried out in Chicago, Denver, and Cincinnati by Stanley Kubrick's assistant Leon Vitali, and his wife, Kersti Vitali. Aspiring actors were asked to send in photographs of themselves, and from the photographs, a list was made of the boys who looked right, who were then called in to interview. Vitali would then have the boys do some minor improvisation on-camera, and Kubrick would review the footage, gradually narrowing the list down.
This film was shot in the same film studio that was used for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). In fact, much of the same fake snow used for this film was used for the Hoth scenes. Stephen King visited the set of both films, and met director Irvin Kershner. This later became the basis for part of his book "It". Kershner had been nicknamed "Kersh", and was directing the first Star Wars film to feature Yoda. In the Stephen King book "It", there is a character named Mrs. Kersh, who is said to sound like Yoda when she talks. As well as countless other mentions of Star Wars in various King books.
Since Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall spoke in thick New Jersey and Texas accents respectively, Kubrick wanted the actor playing Danny to be from the Midwest as a compromise between the two, settling on Illinois born Danny Lloyd.
The 1921 photograph prop still survives, intact, and can be seen in Stanley Kubrick exhibitions. It is possible to notice, on a close inspection, how Jack Nicholson's airbrushed head was pasted on the photo, as it sticks out a bit.
Philip Stone recalled of his scene with Jack Nicholson, "We shot it 50 or 60 times, I should think - always in one take. Then Jack Nicholson, Stanley and I would sit down and look at each take on a video. Jack would say, 'That was pretty good, wasn't it, Stanley?' And Stanley would say, 'Yes it was. Now let's do it again'."
Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind wrote and performed a full electronic score for the film, but Stanley Kubrick discarded most of it and used a soundtrack of mostly classical music. Only the adaptation of the "Dies Irae" ("Day of Wrath") melody (from the traditional requiem mass) during the opening credits, the music during the family's drive to the hotel, and a few other brief moments (such as Halloran's plane trip) survive in the final version. Wendy Carlos once noted that she'd like to see the original score released on CD, but there were too many legal snags at the time. As of 2005, Carlos' score for the film has been remastered, and is a part of "Rediscovering Lost Scores Volumes 1 and 2".
Stanley Kubrick also made casting decisions for dubbing actors in other countries. In Spain, actor and actress Joaquín Hinojosa and Verónica Forqué did the voices of Jack and Wendy Torrence, respectively. Both had little experience in dubbing. In Spain, this dubbing is considered one of the worst dubbings ever made, due to that casting choice.
Filmmakers tend to strictly follow what is known as the 180 degree rule when filming two characters in a scene. The first shot of a scene typically establishes each character as being on either the left or right hand side of the screen. Although the camera may change angles many times over the course of a scene, it never moves more than 180 degrees from its original position. Keeping it less than that keeps the characters on their established sides of the screen, while going over causes the characters to reverse position, disorienting the viewer. Kubrick breaks this rule during Jack's meeting with Grady in the men's room, visually hinting to the viewer that Jack is becoming more like Grady.
The two Ray Noble and His Orchestra songs used were not actually from the 1920s: "Midnight, the Stars and You" (played in the ballroom) was recorded February 16, 1934, and "It's All Forgotten Now" (heard faintly when Grady is talking to Jack in the bathroom) was recorded July 11, 1934.
Conspiracy theorists point to several symbols in the film as "evidence" that Stanley Kubrick was involved in "faking" the footage of the moon landing; there are several symbols of "11" throughout the film, the pattern of the hotel carpet in which Danny is playing (in his Apollo 11 sweater) is the exact shape of the lunar launch pad, the pages of Jack's novel reads "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy." The "All" could be interpreted as "A11" or Apollo 11. The large Native American wall tapestry (against which Jack is throwing the ball) resemble rockets. The Apollo 11 vehicle that landed on the moon was called the Eagle; Jack's typewriter is an Adler which is the German word for eagle, there are several wooden eagles in the hotel manager's office, the manager has a U.S. flag on his desk and is wearing red, white & blue colors (some interpret this to mean that he represents the government with whom Jack has entered into a contract).
Danny's Shining is more powerful than Dick's in the novel. Danny can get information about someone just by touching them (even though his predictions are sometimes wrong), but Dick believed everyone has a bit of Shining in them. Danny's Shining can increase and decrease in frequency, but he doesn't like reading people's most private thoughts. The Shining can be suppressed by an injection.
The original theatrical aspect ratio for this movie is 1.85:1, however the film was shot using the entire film frame (1.37:1 or 4x3 as is known in current technical set-ups). The film has been known to be shown full screen on VHS, LaserDisc, television, and more in the 1.37:1 or 4x3 aspect ratio, revealing more picture information on the top and bottom of the screen. For many years with 4x3 televisions, Kubrick much preferred the movie be shown this way, to avoid any cropping at the sides of the image, and as most of his photography was centered and vertical, it also added to the effect on smaller television screens. However, this movie has always been intended as a 1.85:1 presentation, despite many conflicting opinions and viewpoints to the contrary. Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987) was also shot this way, and while Eyes Wide Shut (1999) was believed to have been shot in 1.37:1, this was proven incorrect by examining the 35mm prints of the film, where hard mattes and camera equipment were present outside the 1.85:1 safe zone. The 1.85:1 versions are the director's intended versions, and are now available on Blu-ray, digital platforms, and DVD.
The film shows an upbeat relationship between Stuart Ullman and Jack Torrance, in contrast to the novel, which describes it as being very stilted and sour. Torrance views Ullman as a pompous official, and Ullman tells Torrance he is not fit for the caretaker position, due to his history of abuse. He only gives Torrance the job because his own employer is Torrance's old friend Al Shockley, who overrides Ullman's refusal. Later, Torrance phones Ullman in retaliation, and threatens to write a book detailing the hotel's sordid past. Ullman attempts to fire him, but Shockley intervenes and saves Torrance's job after admonishing him over the phone.
Although she was already transitioning, Wendy Carlos was credited as Walter Carlos on Kubrick's previous film, A Clockwork Orange. For this film, she is credited by her female name, having already gone public with her transition.
According to Vivian Kubrick in her commentary on Making "The Shining" (1980), Margaret Adams (listed in the credits as the director's secretary, and also the production manager on Eyes Wide Shut (1999)) was the person who typed up all the hundreds of various "Dull Little Boy" pages that are used in this movie. It apparently took her a few months.
When Jack uses an axe to break through the bathroom door, he shouts "Here's Johnny". This was a reference to the catchphrase of talk show host Johnny Carson, which had been ad-libbed by Jack Nicholson. However, an alternative explanation is that it is a reference to an incident that occurred in the 1960s, when Johnny Cash used a fire axe to break a connecting "doorway" between two motel rooms that he and his band members were using while on tour, and then broke through one of the doors from the corridor, to make it look as if a thief had broken in and trashed the rooms.
Denver media was used twice in the film. While driving up to Sidewinder in a blinding snowstorm, Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) is listening to AM disc jockeys Hal Moore and Charley Martin. Denver's KHOW was top 40 pop music at that time, and Hal and Charley were actually morning drive-time DJs. They used elements of their show in a scripted segment for the audio. Also, the television in the Overlook Hotel was able to pick up Denver's channel 9. On-air talent Bertha Lynn and Bill Custer taped a scripted segment for use on the Overlook's television. The weather report that Dick Hallorann watched in Miami featured Glen Rinker, who was a well-known Florida news anchor at the time.
The outtakes link between this movie and Blade Runner (1982) was not the only element that connected the two. Joe Turkel, who played Lloyd (the bartender who serves Jack), also played Dr. Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner (1982).
Shelley Duvall is the only actor or actress who played a member of the Torrance family whose character name is not the same as his or her real-life name. Jack Nicholson played a character named Jack, and Danny Lloyd played a character named Danny.
In the bar scene where Jack has some bourbon, the dialogue includes: "I like you Lloyd. You were always the best goddamn bartender from Timbuktu, to Portland, Maine, or Portland, Oregon for that matter." This is taken directly from the novel, and coincidentally a reference to their host city of Portland, Oregon, where they filmed the exterior scenes of the hotel, which was the Timberline Lodge on nearby Mt. Hood.
Shirley Jackson was a favorite author of Stephen King's and his "The Shining" book was definitely influenced by "The Haunting"; another epic book about paranormal people blessed with ESP exploring a haunted house; a house which in both books has a definite living entity of itself.
Shelley Duvall appeared in two movies in 1980, this movie and Popeye (1980). One was a huge hit, and wound up being one of the most critically acclaimed horror movies ever made, and one was a disappointment, a minor hit which almost permanently derailed the careers of Robert Altman and Robin Williams.
The infamous line "Here's Johnny" was originally removed in the Spanish dubbed voice-over, since then Johnny Carson and The Johnny Carson Show (1953) were totally unknown in Spain. It was changed to "Aquí está Jack" ("Here's Jack") to make the scene easier to understand, with Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) referring himself.
The two tracked vehicles in the movie are the Activ Fischer VW Powered 4 Speed Snow-Trak (referred to, and labelled on the vehicle as a "SnowCat") and a Thiokol Imp SnowCat (this is the vehicle in which Wendy and Danny escape).
In the novel, Dick Hallorann's grandmother (and her great-grandmother) also had the Shining, and they carried on conversations mentally. Hallorann was sexually abused by his grandfather when he was five, who used to call Hallorann Dickie-Bird. He also burned Hallorann with a cigarette or bit him, but said nothing would happen if Dick told his parents because of their inheritance. He later died of a stroke, but he came back to haunt Dick, like Mrs. Massey came back to haunt Danny. Dick was quite a ladies' man.
In an edition of Radio Times for Andrew Collins Film of the Week, he reviewed The Shining (1980). An extract read, "In 1997 King adapted his novel into a TV miniseries. It was rubbish. The original film is the best".
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film, for a television commercial in 2010 for Premier Inn hotels (UK), British comedian Lenny Henry reenacted Jack Nicholson's "Heeere's Johnny" scene ("Heeere's Lenny") in which he demolished a hotel bathroom door with an axe. The commercial was later banned due to complaints.
Danny was five in the novel, and eight by the time of the sequel, Doctor Sleep. In the film, he sucks his thumb, and in the sequel, he still does. Also Abra, another girl with the Shining does it too, as a security blanket.
The back-and-forth camera movement where Jack is breaking through the bathroom door mimicks the pan-and-scan technique, used when widescreen formats are shown on a narrower screen, such as an older tube TV.
A prominent piece of music used in the film composed by Krzysztof Penderecki - Utrenja Ewangelia, is also partly used by Disney in one of their rides at Disney world in Florida. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride which is based at Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM), has a section where you progress from the rear of the show building to the main ride/drop section. Once your vehicle has travelled through the 5th Dimension section and enters the final lift shaft, that is when the music can be heard.
In the bar scene where Jack has some bourbon, the dialogue includes: "I like you Lloyd.... you were always the best goddamn bartender from Timbuktu, to Portland, Maine... or Portland, Oregon for that matter..." This is a subtle reference to their host city of Portland,OR where they filmed the exterior scenes of the hotel which was actually the Timberline Lodge on nearby Mt. Hood.
There is a character named Richard Haloran (slightly different spelling) in the film Dementia 13 (1963), about an axe murderer. It was produced by Roger Corman, who directed several of Jack Nicholson's early films.
There are relatively few murders onscreen in the Shining; just one, Halloran; and two if you count Jack freezing to death at the ending. They do have multiple flashbacks to the Grady girls getting murdered; and huge pools of blood spilling out of the elevator; but these are just dreams. It's ironic that there's only one death in the scariest movie of all time! The Exorcist; which is the other scariest movie of all time; also only has two deaths.
Stanley Kubrick was involved in the casting of the german dubbing of the movie. He has chosen Jörg Pleva for Jack Nicholsons part. Kubrick previously gave Pleva the lead dubbing roles for Redmond Barry (Barry Lyndon) and Alexander DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange). "The Shining" was Plevas last dubbing work in a movie. Ironically Joachim Kerzel, who later became Jack Nicholsons standard dubbing voice actor in germany did the voice of the character Stuart Ullman in "The Shining". It is also notable, that the line "Here's Johnny" was altered in the german version to "Hier ist Jackie!" - "Here's Jackie!", referencing the character's name of Jack Torrance. This was obviously done because germans at that time weren't familiar with the Johnny Carson show.
Stanley Kubrick: [Bathrooms] Jack speaks to the ghost of Delbert Grady in the men's room. Later, Jack makes out with the woman in the restroom of room 237. And at the end, Wendy hides from Jack in a bathroom.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
At the time of release, it was the policy of the MPAA to not allow the portrayal of blood in trailers that would be approved for all audiences. In 1980, the concept of green band and red band trailers were being introduced by the MPAA. Bizarrely, the trailer consists entirely of the shot of blood pouring out of the elevator. Stanley Kubrick had convinced the board the blood flooding out of the elevator was actually rusty water. The water also had red dye on it
When first released, the film had an alternate ending. After the shot of Jack's body, the film dissolves to a scene of policemen outside the hotel. It then cuts to a scene in a hospital, where Wendy is resting in a bed, and Danny is playing in a waiting room. Ullman arrives and tells her that they have been unable to locate her husband's body anywhere on the property. On his way out, Ullman gives Danny a ball, the same one that mysteriously rolled into a hallway earlier in the film, before Danny was attacked in room 237. Ullman laughs and walks away, and the film dissolves to the move through the corridors towards the photo. Stanley Kubrick had the scene removed a week after the film was released.
Stanley Kubrick originally wanted approximately seventy takes of the scene where Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) gets killed by Jack Torrance, but Jack Nicholson talked Kubrick into going easy on the sixty-nine-year-old Crothers, and stopping after forty. At one point during the filming, Crothers became so exasperated with Kubrick's notorious, compulsive style of excessive retakes that he broke down and cried, asking "What do you want, Mr. Kubrick?"
The 1921 photograph at the end of the film was a genuine 1920s photo, with Jack Nicholson's head airbrushed onto the body of another man. Stanley Kubrick originally planned to use extras and shoot the photo himself, but he realized he couldn't make it look any better than the real thing.
For the scenes when Jack can be heard typing, but what he is typing is off-screen, Stanley Kubrick recorded the sound of a typist actually typing the words "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". Some people argue that each key on a typewriter sounds slightly different, and Kubrick wanted to ensure authenticity, so he insisted that the actual words be typed.
The scene where Wendy is running and sees a room where a man in a bear costume is having sex with the former hotel manager was never explained in the movie, leaving the audience very confused as to why it was there. In the book, during a year at the hotel, the manager had a secret homosexual affair with a party guest dressed in a dog costume, which is the closest explanation.
The book that Jack was writing contained the one sentence ("All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy") repeated over and over. Stanley Kubrick had each page individually typed and can be seen doing so in Making 'The Shining' (1980). For the Italian version of the film, Kubrick used the phrase "Il mattino ha l' oro in bocca" ("He who wakes up early meets a golden day"). For the German version, it was "Was Du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf Morgen" ("Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today"). For the Spanish version, it was "No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano" ("Rising early will not make dawn sooner."). For the French version, it was "Un 'Tiens' vaut mieux que deux 'Tu l'auras'" ("A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush").
In Stanley Kubrick's original treatment, the resolution was completely different. Originally, instead of being confronted in her room by an axe wielding Jack after he is freed from the storage room by Grady, Wendy goes outside her room to see if Jack has indeed made his escape. He then jumps out and surprises her, chokes her, and smashes her head into the wall. Wendy then takes her knife and stabs him in the stomach, fatally wounding him. As she attempts to crawl away, however, Jack remains alive, crawling in pursuit, in an ensuing struggle, she finally manages to kill him, only to hear the sound of a SnowCat arrive outside. She then attempts to locate Danny, only to find he is not where she left him. Dick Hallorann then arrives at the door, only to encounter Grady. They have a brief conversation about "some business" Hallorann has to finish, to which he then gets hold of an ax, and then manically pursues Danny, much like Jack does in the final film. However, with the knowledge that they both share the same telepathic gift, Danny uses this to his advantage, throwing Hallorann into confusion. Then, just as it seems Hallorann is about to murder the child, Wendy locates both of them, and goes berserk, violently stabbing Hallorann to death. She then retrieves Danny, the two of them then bolt outside into the SnowCat and drive off. The camera would then focus on a scrapbook of the Hotel's history that Jack looked at early in the film, a mysterious hand comes in from off-screen and takes it, followed the sound of receding footsteps. The film would then end.
Steven Spielberg praised the scene in which Wendy finds Jack's "novel" and is confronted by him, as a great example of counterintuitive direction by Stanley Kubrick. Spielberg noted that the obvious way of playing the scene would be to have Jack suddenly appear over Wendy's shoulder while she and the audience is preoccupied with the manuscript. Instead, Kubrick abruptly cuts away from Wendy to a shot from behind the pillar that tracks over to a distant view of Wendy from behind, thus preparing the audience for Jack's entrance into the frame and eliminating any shock of his appearance. Spielberg noted that Kubrick's unusual way of filming and editing the scene had two benefits: 1. It allowed the remainder of the sequence to maintain tension without a moment of relief that would follow from a "shock", and 2. By avoiding a surprise at that moment, Kubrick saved the biggest scare in the film for Hallorann's murder, in which Jack's sudden appearance does come as a shock.
Early in the film, Danny leaves a doll lying around in the lobby of the hotel. It is black, and wearing a red sweater. Later in the film, Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) is killed in the exact spot where the doll was lying.
In the novel, Wendy is first attacked by Jack with a roque mallet. In the movie, she serves the first blow to Jack with a baseball bat. Even more ironically, he never strikes her at all throughout the entire film. He becomes violent and homicidal with only one other character.
Alcohol consumption was a federal crime between 1919 and 1933. The year Jack appears to have photographed for the last scene (1921), and the year President Warren G. Harding (in the book) ordered a case of Coors Beer from the bar (1922) would have occurred during Prohibition. Alcohol consumption was never a federal crime in the U.S. The Volstead Act prohibited "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors". Consumption was never a crime, only a myth. Also, in the photograph, not one person is holding a drink. Indeed, one may even assume that liquors were never purchased at the Overlook during these years, but may have been included as a sort of part of membership, a type of end-around used even today in dry counties. After all, Lloyd clearly informs Jack that his "money is no good here."
Stanley Kubrick personally panned the camera during the famous shot of Jack swinging the ax into the bathroom door. The camera was tripod mounted and Kubrick moved the pan handle in synchronization with each swing while keeping his eye on the monitor.
In the novel, the Overlook Hotel burned to the ground because of the boiler that Jack Torrance neglected to dump, but in the film, it's still standing by the end, and Jack freezes to death in a hedge maze instead of going up with the hotel.
This is the first film of Stanley Kubrick's to include the use of a Steadicam. He found the current cameras on-set to be almost obsolete for the type of shots he wanted to achieve during filming. He wanted a free and full range of view, but wanted the shots to be smooth and precise. When a colleague suggested that he use a newly developed piece of technology, Kubrick was hesitant. Kubrick shot with a Steadicam for many days before eventually allowing its usage in the film. Its usage can been seen in the film during such scenes as when the camera is following Danny on his tricycle through the halls of the Overlook Hotel and when he and Jack are running through the Hedge maze near the end of the film. This movie was also one of the first dozen films to use a Steadicam.
According to the time line presented the film (the closing date of the hotel is Oct. 30, according to Overlook GM Stuart Ullman; the different chapters in the film show the passage of time), the final events of the film occur on Dec. 11th, which includes Jack's attack on his family, Wendy and Danny's escape and Jack's death in the maze.
Jack Nicholson plays a character named Jack, who, in the bar scene drinks Jack Daniels. The character's son is named Danny, played by Danny Lloyd, and the name of the bartender who serves Jack the Jack Daniels is named Lloyd.
The main character and antagonist in this film is named "Jack Torrance". In 2007, a man came forward to police that he suspected his stepfather, Jack Tarrence, to be the infamous, and as of 2016, unidentified Zodiac Killer that terrorized the Bay Area in the 1960s and 1970s. DNA evidence on Tarrence's belongings has been deemed inconclusive.