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.