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October 04, 2019

25 Facts about Legendary Movie 'The Shining' Viewers Might Not Know

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Horror movie season is upon us all and many fans will have the classic film "The Shining" on their playlist. The film has some interesting and mysterious facts behind it.

Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" is a cult-classic. The film is considered to be one of the best big-screen adaptations of a Stephen King novel.

No matter how many times fans watch it, it never fails to amaze. Here are 20 facts about the movie that even the biggest fans may not know.

American film director Stanley Kubrick looking through a movie camera | Getty Images


1. Stanley Kubrick's Interest In Horror Movies

Stanley Kubrick has directed movies across multiple genres. However, horror films are the ones that truly captured his interest. He was considered to direct "The Exorcist" but missed the chance as he wanted to produce it as well. 

2. Film Inspired by "Omnibus"

In 1952, Kubrick was the second unit director on an episode of the television series "Omnibus." A different episode of the show helped inspire parts of "The Shining." Kubrick said:

“You think the point of the story is that his death was inevitable because a paranoid poker player would ultimately get involved in a fatal gunfight. But, in the end, you find out that the man he accused was actually cheating him. I think The Shining uses a similar kind of psychological misdirection to forestall the realization that the supernatural events are actually happening.”


Author Stephen King visits the SiriusXM Studios on September 26, 2017 in New York City. | Getty Images

3. Kubrick Never Read The Screenplay Written By Stephen King

David Hughes, one of Kubrick's biographers, Stephen King wrote a draft of a screenplay for "The Shining."However, Kubrick decided it would be a waste of his time and did not read it and opted to work with Diane Johnson on the screenplay.


4. Kubrick Had Questions

Stanley Kubrick reportedly called Stephen King at seven a.m. one morning and asked him, “I think stories of the supernatural are fundamentally optimistic, don’t you? If there are ghosts then that means we survive death.” 

5. King Was "Disappointed" With Kubrick's Adaption

King once told Playboy, “I’d admired Kubrick for a long time and had great expectations for the project, but I was deeply disappointed in the end result. Parts of the film are chilling, charged with a relentlessly claustrophobic terror, but others fell flat.”

Producer Jan Harlan, Katharina Kubrick, Leon Vitali with guest attend the photocall for "The Shining" during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival | getty Images / Global Images Ukraine


6. Kubrick's Family Was Involved

Members of Kubrick's family helped with the film. The executive producer of the film was Kubrick’s brother-in-law, Jan Harlan and his wife and daughter, Christiane Kubrick and Vivian Kubrick, helped with the design and music of the film.

7. Kubrick Did Not Attend Location Shoots

Kubrick refused to fly or leave England toward the end of his life. Thus he did not attend the shooting of the opening credits of "The Shining." 

The exterior of the historic Timberline Lodge became the fictional Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick's horror masterpiece film, "The Shining." | Getty Images


8. Room 217 Was Changed to ROOM 237 Due to the Request of Timberline Lodge

In the book, the haunted hotel room was Room 217. However, Oregon's Timberline Lodge, whose exterior was used for some shots of the film, requested that the room number be changed so that guests wouldn’t avoid Room 217. The hotel does not have a Room 237.

9. Jack Nicholson's Improvisation

Jack Nicholson's one-liner was the only line from "The Shining" to make it onto AFI’s Top 100 Movie Quotes. The catchphrase "Here's  Johnny" was actually an improvisation that worked and stayed in the film.


10. Rumors Claim Kubrick Typed All the "All Work" Pages

While there is no proof that Kubrick physically typed 500 pages of “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” the prop department did not take on the task. Instead, Kubrick used his own typewriter to make the pages but the device had built-in memory and could turn out the pages without a person typing each page. However, the individual pages in the film had different layouts and mistakes.


11. Hidden Playgirl Magazine

Kubrick is a very detail-oriented director thus when fans spotted that Jack Torrance was reading a Playgirl in the lobby of the Overlook before he gets hired in the film, they assumed that it was a hint left purposely by the director. 

Hands writing on old typewriter | Shutterstock


12. "All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy" Has Been Translated Many Times

The iconic sentence's meaning changes when translated for foreign versions of the film. Kubrick requested the change. In German versions, the phrase translates to “Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today” while the Spanish translation means “Although one will rise early, it won’t dawn sooner” and in Italian means “He who wakes up early meets a golden day.”


13. Nicholson Wrote a Scene

Nicholson wrote the scene where Jack Torrance berates his wife. In an interview with The New York Times, Nicholson explained:

 “That’s what I was like when I got my divorce. I was under the pressure of being a family man with a daughter and one day I accepted a job to act in a movie in the daytime and I was writing a movie at night and I’m back in my little corner and my beloved wife Sandra, walked in on what was unbeknownst to her, this maniac—and I told Stanley about it and we wrote it into the scene.”


14. Dan Lloyd Only Acted in "The Shining"

"The Shining" was the child star, Dan Lloyd's first film. He went on to act in a TV film two years later but ended up leaving the industry after that role.

“We kept trying for several years ... until I was in high school and I stopped at about 14 with almost no success," he revealed.

15. Lloyd Thought He Was Acting In a Drama

Dan was five when he acted in "The Shining." To protect him, Kubrick told him they were filming a drama and Dan only watched the film when he was 16.


16. Kubrick and Shelley Duvall Disagreed

Kubrick was reportedly brutal on Shelley Duvall during filming. She claimed he "pushed me and prodded me further than I’ve ever been pushed before. It’s the most difficult role I’ve ever had to play.” 


17. Slim Pickens Was Offered Role of Dick Hallorann

Slim Pickens worked with Kubrick before and was offered the role of Dick Hallorann even though he did not fit the character description in the book. However, he turned the role down as he did not like the schedules Kubrick had imposed when they had worked together previously.

18. The Hotel Does Not Make Spatial Sense

Rob Ager, a fan of "The Shining," pointed out that many aspects to the set of "The Overlook Hotel" do not make sense. For example, Ullman’s office has a window to the outside even though it is surrounded by rooms. However, the executive producer of the film, Jan Harlan revealed it was intentional.


“The interiors don’t make sense," he said in 2012. "Those huge corridors and ballrooms couldn’t fit inside. In fact, nothing makes sense.”


19. Most of the Set Burned Down

Near the end of shooting, the set caught alight and multiple parts of the sets were destroyed. A set still photographer said:

“It was a huge fire in there one night, massive fire, we never really discovered what caused that fire and it burned down two soundstages and threatened a third at Elstree Studios. It was an eleven alarm fire call, it was huge.”

20. Lots and Lots of Salt

The final scene of the film required 900 tons of salt. The final scene needed an elaborate, wintery maze, which took tons of salt and crushed Styrofoam to create.


21. 5 Long Years

Kubrick notoriously filmed his masterpieces for lengthy time periods and "The Shining" was no different.   The film took five years to make.

Director Lee Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson, winners of Best Animated Feature for "Toy Story 3," arrive at NBCUniversal/Focus Features Golden Globes Viewing and After Party sponsored by Chrysler held at The Beverly Hilton hotel | Getty Images


22. Most Famous Fan Site Run By The Director of Toy Story 3

Lee Unkrich runs the site called "The Overlook Hotel" that contains pictures and behind-the-scenes information about the film. He also helped fund the "Room 237" documentary.

“I started the site purely for selfish reasons," Unkrich said. "I’ve been collecting stuff from The Shining over the years, and I just wanted to have one place where they could be organized.”

23. Alternate Ending

Kubrick reportedly changed the ending of the film a weekend after its release. The original version of the film is lost, but pages from the screenplay do exist.


A general view of atmosphere at the special screening of 'Room 237' during the 2012 AFI Fest | Getty Images

24. Inspired Conspiracy Theories

Many film theorists have come up with conspiracies around "The Shining." The theories were compiled and covered in the documentary "Room 237." Leon Vitali, Kubrick’s personal assistant during filming, has denied these theories.


“I was falling about laughing most of the time," he said. "There are ideas espoused in the movie that I know to be total balderdash.”

25. The Follow-Up To Kubrick's Worst Received Film

When Kubrick took on the job for "The Shining" he had been at a low point in his career. His film "Barry Lyndon" which was released in 1975 was not the "commercial success Warner Bros. had been hoping for” and had cost $11 million to make. It only earned $9.5 million in the United State. "The Shining" redeemed his name.