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The Shining on blu-ray: Revisiting the Overlook Hotel (1 Viewer)

Reggie W

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Yes, a shorter cut of anything is a hard sell, a lot of people on sites like this one always want the longest version available.

I think that it really depends upon what is cut or added. When home video arrived at DVD and Blu-ray different cuts started to proliferate. It became a fairly regular thing for the home releases to have "theatrical" and "extended" cuts for all kinds of films. It got to the point where they had all sorts of names for these extended cuts -- unrated cut, director's cut, final cut, extended cut -- and some were interesting and some just muddied the waters.

At first I think it was just exciting to get "more of" a film you loved. Did not really matter what was being added we just wanted to see what else there was. When Coppola recut Apocalypse Now to create a third version, this was basically his explanation for why he was releasing a third cut. When he cut Redux the idea was just to put as much as he could back in. When he cut it this most recent time it was with the idea that he added too much and wanted to actually cut the film to what he felt was the best version.

Andrei Tarkovsky once said that editing was the true art when it comes to filmmaking. The whole sculpting in time idea. I guess if we want to really look at how Kubrick's mind may have worked when it came to cutting a film the one picture we have to make comparisons and get an idea of different ways he may have seen it is The Shining, because as Josh points out, it is the only film he signed off on with two separate cuts.
 

Reggie W

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I had a look at my Blu-ray this evening, the UK version. I haven't seen it for over twenty years. I enjoyed it a lot, but after a stately beginning, Jack Nicholson went mad & it raced to a conclusion, & I think I'd prefer it slightly slower, I'm going to have to track down the American cut.

So, have you seen the longer cut yet, Alan, and if so, what did you think?
 

Vincent_P

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I am fairly certain I have never seen the short European version. I feel like I should track it down and watch it for comparison purposes. I am curious what he cut from it and how it plays in the shorter version. I have read some people saying they think the shorter version is a better more effective film...as if Stanley refined it to it's most polished form.

It's not. Among other things, Jack isn't an alcoholic in the European cut. EVERY reference to his past alcoholism is gone, and there's only a very quick reference to him having once injured Danny that seemingly comes out of nowhere. If some folks felt that Jack went crazy too quickly in the U.S cut, he really goes off the rails with no backstory at all in the European cut.

There are a couple of effective edits in the European version (a hard cut from Jack eating his breakfast in bed to his ignored typewriter comes to mind, which removes Jack's discussion of having had deja vu when first walking through the hotel), but on the whole the longer cut is a far better film.

Vincent
 
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Vincent_P

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The Shining is the only Kubrick film to have two different director-approved versions in print simultaneously.

While I’d love to have both versions available in the same SKU, I think that’s extremely unlikely. There is no historical precedent for Warner doing so with this title. It’s always been the UK version is available in the UK, and the longer one is available everywhere else. The longer one was finally released on disc in the UK several years ago, but there was no corresponding release to bring the shorter cut to the rest of the world.

The short European cut was actually streaming on Netflix in the U.S. for a bit a couple years ago. I think they put it up by mistake, but it was up for a while before being replaced by the longer cut.

Vincent
 

Reggie W

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So, because I was curious I went and searched for information on the shorter cut. The story on it seems to be that Kubrick was unhappy with how the film was being received by both audiences and critics in the US so, he brought a print to London and screened it for an audience. After the screening he took the scissors to it and cut it down to what is now generally referred to as the European cut.

A WORD OF WARNING THAT IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE US CUT WHAT IS BELOW REVEALS WHAT YOU MISSED

Here are the list of trims:

(1) After the first scene with Wendy and Danny Torrance in their Boulder apartment, the film cuts back to Jack being interviewed at the Overlook Hotel. The initial stage of this conversation has been cut. Jack is introduced to the other hotel official, Bill Watson, as a schoolteacher. He protests that he was formerly a teacher but is now a writer; that teaching is only a way of "making ends meet". He claims he is looking for a change. The manager, Ullman, explains that the Overlook is closed every winter from the end of October to the following May, because of the prohibitive cost of keeping the road to the Sidewinder pass open. He comments that the hotel site was chosen for its seclusion and beauty.

(2) When Danny, in the Boulder apartment, first 'sees' the Grady twins, he blacks out. His subsequent examination by a doctor (Anne Jackson) has been cut. He reveals that just before his black-out he was talking to the 'friend', Tony, who lives in his mouth and tells him things. The doctor subsequently tries to reassure Wendy that nothing is wrong with Danny. Wendy reveals that they moved from Vermont, where Jack was a schoolteacher, and that Danny first started talking to Tony after an accident in which Jack dislocated the boy's shoulder in a drunken fit of temper. Jack swore never to touch alcohol again. As the film now stands, Jack's drinking problem has to be assumed, and the incident with Danny is not mentioned until halfway through.

(3) During their tour of the Overlook with Ullman, Jack and Wendy are introduced to the Colorado Lounge. The rest of this sequence has been cut. Wendy asks if the Indian designs are authentic, and UlIman comments that they are based on Navajo and Apache motifs. He then talks of the hotel's "illustrious past": as a stopping place for the jet set, for four presidents, lots of movie stars and "all the best people".

(4) The beginning of the scene where Ullman shows Jack and Wendy the hotel grounds has been cut. He indicates "our famous hedge maze" and warns them not to go in unless they have an hour to spare to find their way out.

(5) Back inside the hotel, a good deal of material has been cut leading up to Dick Hallorann's first appearance. Ullman shows off "The Gold Room" (where Jack will later repair for a drink from the phantom barman Lloyd). When Wendy comments that "we could really have a good party in this room", Ullman reveals that all the liquor has been removed from the premises for the winter in order to reduce the insurance. Jack states, "We don't drink". Hallorann is then introduced, and Jack, being overweeningly polite as in his earlier interview, introduces his wife as "Winifred", apparently her full name. [On the question of names, one might note that the previous caretaker, Grady, is first referred to as Charles, but in his later scene with Jack, refers to himself as Delbert.] The secretary, Susie, then appears, having found Danny outside the games room. Jack asks him if he got tired of "bombing the universe". UlIman then leaves with Jack, and Hallorann is left to show Wendy the kitchen. Hallorann asks if she is "a Winnie or a Freddie" and she tells him that she's known as Wendy.

(6) Part of Danny's conversation alone with Hallorann has been cut. Danny asks if he is scared of the Overlook, and he replies that he isn't but that "some places are like people, some shine and some don't. I guess you could say the Overlook Hotel here has something about it that's like shining".

(7) The end of the Torrances' first scene in the hotel, when Wendy brings Jack his breakfast, has been cut. Jack comments that he has never been as happy or comfortable anywhere as in the Overlook. Wendy reveals that she thought the place was "kinda scarey" when they first arrived. Jack replies that he fell in love with it straight away; that when he came for his interview, he felt he had been there before and he knew what was going to be around every corner.

(8) Immediately after the scene in which Wendy and Danny explore the maze, a sequence has been cut in which Wendy is seen working in the kitchen while a TV announcer talks of a search in the mountains for a missing woman, and of a snow-storm that is predicted to be moving in on Colorado.

(9) Following the scene in which Jack banishes Wendy from the lounge while he is working, the title THURSDAY has been deleted.

(10) After the scene in which Danny is confronted by the Grady twins, and they invite him to come play with them for ever and ever, a scene has been cut in which Wendy and Danny are watching what seems to be a soap-opera on television. Danny then asks to go to his room to get his fire-engine.

(11) Some dialogue has been cut from the middle of the scene in which Jack first goes to the Gold Room and is served a drink by Lloyd. He toasts, "Here's to five miserable months on the wagon and all the irreparable harm that it's caused me". When Lloyd asks him how things are, he comments that they could be a whole lot better, that he is having "a little problem with the old sperm bank upstairs" (referring to Wendy). Lloyd comments, "Women! Can't live with 'em. Can't live without 'em !" Jack agrees. Apart from the reference again to Jack's problem with alcohol, the drinking-buddy bonhomie and casual misogyny of the dialogue defines the banality of the evil that is overtaking (or always inherent in) Jack.

(12) After the bathroom dialogue in which Jack is told by Grady that he will have to 'correct' his family, a sequence has been cut in which Wendy is seen crying and talking to herself. She muses about the possibility of getting down the mountain in the snowcat, and of calling the Forest Rangers so that they can start searching for them. "If Jack won't come with us, we'll just have to tell him that we are going by ourselves". She then hears Danny calling out "red rum" over and over, but when she tries to talk to him, she is only 'answered' by Tony, who tells her that Danny can't hear her. "Danny's gone away, Mrs. Torrance".

(13) A scene has been cut in which Dick Hallorann again tries to get through to the Overlook by calling the Ranger station. They tell him that they've tried to get through several times by radio but there has been no answer. They offer to try again later. (This follows the scene, which has been slightly trimmed, in which Jack deliberately sabotages the radio.)

(14) Immediately after (13), and before the shot of Hallorann's plane in flight, the title 8AM has been deleted.

(15) This is followed by a shot of Hallorann inside the plane. The following material has been cut: Hallorann asks a stewardess what time they are due to land in Denver; she tells him 8.20 and he checks his watch. Jack is seen typing in the lounge of the Overlook. Hallorann's plane lands at the airport. Larry Durkin (Tony Burton), a garage owner, answers his phone and talks to Hallorann, who asks for a snowcat to get up to the Overlook. Durkin tells him that the mountain roads are completely blocked, and Hallorann justifies the urgency of his request: "We've got a very serious problem with the people who are taking care of the place. They've turned out to be completely unreliable butts. Ullman phoned me last night, and I'm supposed to go up there and find out if they have to be replaced". Hallorann estimates that it will take him five hours to drive up from the airport to collect the car. This is followed by the sequence as it now stands in the film of Hallorann driving through the blizzard in the snowcat, with the voice-over of radio announcers chatting about the deteriorating conditions.

(16) The beginning of the scene in which Wendy finds Jack's type-written pages covered with "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" has been cut. She and Danny are watching television; she looks at her watch and then tells Danny that she is going to talk to his father for a few minutes and that he should stay there and watch the cartoons. She picks up the baseball bat before leaving. The removal of all the sequences of the Torrances watching television has now curtailed what would seem to be a significant motif in the film, to do with popular culture and communication.

(17) In the final stages, when Jack is pursuing Danny through the maze and Wendy is being confronted by some of the Overlook spooks, a few shots have been removed of a tableau in which skeletons are sitting at a table with a champagne bottle and glasses.

(18) Very soon after the film's American release, a coda to Wendy and Danny's escape (which followed the shot of Jack frozen in the maze) was removed. This showed Wendy being visited in hospital by UllIman, and his complimenting her on having survived. The scene perhaps ties in with Jack's remarks - during the family's drive up to the Overlook - on the Donner Party trapped by winter in the Sierras, and how it was necessary for them to eat one another in order to survive.
 
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Vincent_P

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Re: #5 above, the ENTIRE first Gold Room sequence has been removed from the short version, not just "a good deal" of it. The film cuts from Wendy and Jack being shown the snowcat outside, to Wendy and Danny walking into the kitchen with Hallorann, so Hallorann is no longer even really "introduced" in the short cut so much as abruptly dropped in out of nowhere. It's a really jarring edit and way to introduce a completely new character, to say the least.

Vincent
 

Vincent_P

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Also re: #1, Wendy's line, "Well, we'll just have to see about that" at the end of the scene with Wendy and Daddy has been cut. So the short version cuts directly from Danny saying "I just don't" back to Jack's interview, already in progress.

Vincent
 

Reggie W

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Re: #5 above, the ENTIRE first Gold Room sequence has been removed from the short version, not just "a good deal" of it. The film cuts from Wendy and Jack being shown the snowcat outside, to Wendy and Danny walking into the kitchen with Hallorann, so Hallorann is no longer even really "introduced" in the short cut so much as abruptly dropped in out of nowhere. It's a really jarring edit and way to introduce a completely new character, to say the least.

I think that is what the person that detailed the trims meant to imply. I think he or she was detailing what was cut and so what is meant is yes, that whole Gold Room sequence was cut.

I was trying to read what the cuts were and imagine them and also think about why these were the things Kubrick cut for the short version. Obviously the first reason for the cuts was purely to speed up the film. We know he cut the doctor out and diminished aspects of Jack being an alcoholic. He cuts some of Hallorann out. Some title cards are gone and scenes of Wendy on her own are diminished.

He seems to be taking out moments where characters show concern for the other characters or concern for themselves. I am not sure any of these cuts would improve the film other than speeding the whole affair up.
 

BarryR

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I've lived with this movie since 1980 (never mind how shocked I feel it's nearly 40 years old!) . For me it's all about atmosphere. I compare it to The Haunting (1963), in which the setting should get co-star billing. And the music! So effective from start to finish. My quibbles are very few. I find the ending drags out a bit. None of the acting bothers me. It's in my top ten movies--the kind that are lifelong cinematic companions.
 

LordRorek

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I personally feel Jack Nicholsons performance is perfect for the film.

His character loves the overlook and has joined the party and as such is having the time of his life.

All the Jokes, little pigs, and playing is indicative of the fact that he has decided to play f
orever... and ever... and ever.
 

Reggie W

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