This is how they did it.
The Overlook Hotel is simply the best site about The Shining on the internet. There are dozens of never before seen photos from the making of the film (including how Nicholson was propped up frozen in the snow at the end), new posters, artwork, tattoos, copies of screenplays, anything you can think of. Lee Unkrich is the caretaker of the site and I salute him.
Just in case you need more ephemera on The Shining here is that little article On Newfound Footage.
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.
We all know the stories. 80 takes, 90 takes. Well, you rewrite something that many times, it’s bound to get better, at least a little. Here’s Kubrick and Shelley Duvall somewhat going at it on the set of The Shining, from the Making of The Shining.
Does she deserve it? Is he breaking her down to fit the role of someone completely terrorized? Is it mindfuck?
This is from the making of Full Metal Jacket. A rarer clip, something about tea breaks for the crew…
Making movies is a much different enterprise than writing, given all the people involved. I have a sneaking feeling that if Kubrick didn’t behave this way the movies would not have been as good. He wanted things done the best they could possibly be accomplished. Perhaps we should aim just as high in our artistic pursuits. The twelve films he delivered became testaments and the actors, even Duvall, seem very appreciative of how they were pushed.
Do you as a writer push as hard as Kubrick would have you pushed? Is it time to go Kubrick on ourselves and press until it hurts?
Some of us have been discussing long takes in movies, and John mentioned that he’d like seeing a list of films that consist primarily of the beautiful things. So here is a start at such a list. (And here is another one, which like this list embeds many YouTube clips, such as the magnificent opening shot Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil (1958), the homage Robert Altman pays it in The Player (1992), and many others—including some overlap.)
But first: What’s the value in the long take?
Lars has made some very good movies in his time. Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark and Dogville are all examples of exciting, provocative cinema. And now comes this–thing.
I’m very mixed about this motion picture. Not torn up, not oozing, like after Eyes Wide Shut. There are some beautiful images in this film, the black and white prologue showing an erect penis going into a vagina has to be one of the most gorgeous shots of the sex act I’ve ever seen. The unnamed couple, Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, then spend the next hour of the movie talking out their grief (mainly hers) after their young son fell out a window and died while they were in the throes of sex during the prologue. The film goes to color and it becomes a weird incarnation of therapist and patient (Dafoe plays an actual therapist). This interplay continues even as the couple goes to a cabin in the woods, their “Eden.” After a few days there, Gainsbourg says she is cured, but Dafoe does not believe her and continues trying to help her breathe, “Five, four, three…”
At times a David Lynchesque soundtrack comes on signaling something weird is going to happen. (Having just seen Inland Empire and being a fan of Blue Velvet, this touch seemed off-putting, as did Gainsbourg’s request to have Dafoe hit her during sex–another obvious borrowing from Blue Velvet.) The weird happenings are somewhat interesting–a deer running with a dead foetus stuck to its behind, a fox that is eating itself and then speaks English to a seemingly reserved Dafoe. He is the only one having these visions (if they are visions). Then, in the attic of the cabin, Dafoe finds Gainsbourg’s notes for a thesis (called Gynocide) she had been writing that doesn’t come to fruition, (film is fuzzy concerning whether it is finished). Arcane pictures, woodcuts in the manner of Dürer, and three never before heard of constellations in the sky called the Three Beggars–a deer, a fox and a crow (don’t worry the crow is coming).