On Newfound Footage from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

Kubrick in the infamous red bathroom with Jack, cameras, and daughter.

I did come upon this by myself, but others have seen the same thing I have. Still, I can’t help but point it out.

But before we get to that let me tell you what brought me there. The world of YouTube is stew of tiny morsels of culture and ephemera–it is the true bottomless cup of time-wasting. I was researching something about Steven Spielberg and came upon these ABC Friday Night Movie promos. I found the one for The Shining and saw the placard ABC ran before the film contained the following curious proclamation before parental discretion is advised:

TONIGHT’S FILM DEALS WITH THE SUPERNATURAL, AS A POSSESSED MAN ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY HIS FAMILY.

Consider that this was the first time the film was being shown on national TV (it may have been on cable), almost three years to the day it was released. It’s possible a few million people were watching. But what ABC says about the film is pure speculation. Since when can ABC say with authority that Nicholson is possessed? Are the ghosts real? Do they possess him or do they just nudge him to do what seemingly was his urge for years? His frustration has mounted with his own failures and he resents his wife and has injured his son in alcoholic rages. Well…

There is a British TV spot for The Shining. It’s very short, but it has two shots of footage not in the original. One is an alternate take (:06-09) and one is a shot of Nicholson standing in front of the chopped down door (:24-26). The alternate take is quite interesting to me, though look close at the second–it is not a still, it is a motion shot (Nicholson’s face moves). The alternate is the shot of Nicholson immediately after he kills Halloran with the ax and Danny screams, thereby giving away his location in the hotel. Into the background of the hotel pictured out-of-focus, Nicholson slowly raises his head in a demonic way and I would argue, much more interestingly than the original, like he has just achieved orgasm by killing–his mouth is slack-jawed and his face transfers into a sick smile, as he can now proceed to his son.

Now compare the scene in film as it is (this video will have to do as people keep deleting the scenes off Youtube) (3:18-3:26):

It’s a static face and mostly, we only see the left side of it–he’s already thinking of the next moment when he will track down his son. But the first is a more breathtaking grotesque as the wash of the kill is still holding him (briefly)–it makes him into more a monster who is growing to like his compulsion rather than the cold-blooded killer/robot, “on to my next victim” pose of the second shot.

**Kubrick, as Colored by Himself – my tribute to the master

***I’m positive (and any Kubrickians out there will hopefully weigh in) that when I saw the film on TV in the mid-late 80′s there is a scene of Nicholson picking out the ax from somewhere in the hotel. In the film as it is now, there is no such scene, and suddenly, Nicholson just has the ax and is breaking down the first door of his family’s room. One day I hope a history of these insert shots and extra footage provided to networks from the studio for the TV versions will be performed. Most notably would have to be The Godfather Saga–containing 75 minutes of footage from parts I and II.

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14 thoughts on “On Newfound Footage from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

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  4. In ABC’s defense, Stephen King’s book is far more explicit about there being a supernatural component.

    Kubrick de-emphasized it, correctly (IMHO) surmising that a story about the mental dissolution of a man in strange, isolated circumstances would be far more gripping than yet another ghost story.

    • I need to express first that I do love the Kubrick movie…but not as an adaptation of the novel. Kubrick took Wendy and reduced her to a sniveling coward and he kills off the hero. He leaves out that the Hotel doesn’t want anything to do with Jack, it’s the boy it wants and he leaves the boiler out completely which is the hotels demise. Also, it is the alcohol that is the real evil in this story. It is Jack’s weakness. It infuriates me that there are people who come to think of this as Stephen Kings version when clearly anyone who has read the book knows otherwise.

      • The mark of Kubrick’s The Shining seems to be how many ways it can be interpreted and how many viewings it can withstand. Alcohol is given quite a place in The Shining. The scene of him with the bartender Lloyd. It’s only after he drinks that he explodes. But is he drinking? Does alcohol appear like ghosts?

        I don’t see how one can view Wendy as a coward. She knocks out her husband with a bat and then locks him in a storage unit – the ghosts let him out. She’s one of the stronger female characters in cinema history, but of course she is human too, she shows she is scared, but fights back. Also she cuts him with a knife after he smashes in the door.

        • Wendy, in the film, is a meek, submissive, passive and mousy character. In the book she is much more resilient, much more self-reliant and independent.

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  10. I was 12 when I first saw The Shining on television Sunday night before our 6th grade classes went camping for a week. Needless to say I was up for most of the night. One outtake I remember, that is not in the VHS or DVD releases, still haunts me to this day. We see in the original where Nicholson jumps out from behind one of the pillars and drive the axe into Halloran’s sternum. We see the axe plow right in and then blood starts to exit the wound. What we don’t see in the original (VHS/DVD) is what I saw, which can only be an outtake for TV editing purposes as my conclusion. In the TV version, I did not see the axe plow into Halloran’s chest. I saw Nicholson charge towards Halloran and swing the axe towards him. In the next shot, The star symbol will indicate the start and finish of the scene. *I saw a “close up” of Halloran’s face after “hearing” the fatal blow of the axe by Nicholson. Terrifying music (like bad trumpets or something – playing that way on purpose) bellowed in the scene as Halloran’s eyes opened WIDE, as did his mouth – indicating shock of what just happened to him.* A truly horrifying scene well executed. Don’t know why Kubrick took it out.? But he did. Then we saw the usual scene where Nicholson knocks Halloran to the floor. For starters, in 1983, from my observations of films that were “edited for television”, it seemed that some networks wanted to use outtakes to cut out gory scenes or any other scene of extreme violence or nudity. Is there anybody else who saw the same scene I did?

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