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My confusion about his famous 'dislike' of Kubrick's film

Discussion in 'The Shining (1980)' started by Gerald, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    Most people seem to think he totally hates the film (hence he likes to joke about Kubrick calling him on the phone).

    But why did he include the film in the list at the end of Danse Macabre of films that contributed something valuable to the horrorgenre?

    Is it right to say he likes it as a FILM, just not as an ADAPTATION? He must have explained his exact feelings about the movie somewhere, but I can't remember where he goes on about it most indepth.
    I know for one thing that he felt that in Nicholson's interpretation Jack Torrance is more or less mad to begin with and we don't experience so much how he's changing (I fully agree with this). I can't remember his other problems with the film exactly.

    But, still, why did he put it in the list? He must feel at least as a film separate from the book it's good and important, even though it is no more his vision of what the book was. But he can't HATE it as often is said, or he would have let it out all together.
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  2. Neesy

    Neesy #1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side

    I don't know if this will answer your question completely but I think he did not like the way the female character was portrayed as so weak and useless. All Shelley Duvall did was look scared (basically right from the first frame).

    Isn't Kubrick gone now? Didn't he die? Again I am not sure about that. I will have to Google some interviews with Mr. King about the movie "The Shining" - good luck in finding your answer Gerald! ;-D
  3. Neeters

    Neeters Well-Known Member

    Is it, in fact... ever a stretch for Nicholson to portray craziness? I mean, his mad, mad greatness. I think it is a stretch when he doesn't.
  4. blunthead

    blunthead Well-Known Member

    Per Wikipedia (The Shining (film) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)...

    Response by Stephen King[edit]
    Stephen King has been quoted as saying that although Kubrick made a film with memorable imagery, it was not a good adaptation of his novel[45] and is the only adaptation of his novels that he could "remember hating".[46] However, in King's 1981 nonfiction book Danse Macabre, he listed Kubrick's film among those he considered to have "contributed something of value to the [horror] genre" and mentioned it as one of his "personal favorites."[47] Notably, before the 1980 movie King often said he did not care about the film adaptations of his novels.[4]

    King thought that his novel's important themes, such as the disintegration of the family and the dangers of alcoholism, were ignored. King has admitted he was suffering from alcoholism at the time he wrote the novel, and as such there was an element of autobiography in the story. King especially viewed the casting of Nicholson as a mistake and as being too early a tip-off to the audience that the character Jack would eventually go mad (due to Nicholson's identification with the character of McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). King had suggested that a more “everyman”-like actor such as Jon Voight orChristopher Reeve or Michael Moriarty play the role, so that Jack's subsequent descent into madness would be more unnerving.[4]

    At other times, King suggested that he disliked the downplaying of the supernatural element of the film, which he felt took the "bite" out of the story and made Jack a less sympathetic character. According to King, he viewed Jack as being victimized by the genuinely external supernatural forces haunting the hotel, whereas Kubrick's take viewed the haunting and its resulting malignancy as coming from within Jack himself.[48]

    King's oft-cited remark about Kubrick being a man who “thinks too much and feels too little” has frequently been quoted as disparaging Kubrick's overly clinical and detached approach to directing actors, but in context it is really a reference to Kubrick's ambivalent skepticism about the reality of the supernatural which emerged in pre-production conversations between King and Kubrick. The full context of King's well-known quote is

    Parts of the film are chilling, charged with a relentlessly claustrophobic terror, but others fall flat. Not that religion has to be involved in horror, but a visceral skeptic such as Kubrick just couldn't grasp the sheer inhuman evil of The Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: because he couldn't believe, he couldn't make the film believable to others. What's basically wrong with Kubrick's version of The Shining is that it's a film by a man who thinks too much and feels too little; and that's why, for all its virtuoso effects, it never gets you by the throat and hangs on the way real horror should.[49]

    Mark Browning, a critic of King's work, observed that King's novels frequently contain a narrative closure that completes the story, which Kubrick's film lacks.[50] Browning has in fact argued that King has exactly the opposite problem of which he accused Kubrick. King, he believes, "feels too much and thinks too little."

    King was also disappointed by Kubrick's decision not to film at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, which inspired the story (a decision Kubrick made because the hotel did not have sufficient snow or electric power). King finally supervised the 1997 television adaptation also titled The Shining, filmed at The Stanley Hotel.

    The animosity of King toward Kubrick's adaptation has dulled over time. During an interview segment on the Bravo channel, King stated that the first time he watched Kubrick's adaptation, he found it to be "dreadfully unsettling".

    Also, see...

    What Stanley Kubrick got wrong about “The Shining” - Salon.com

    Kubrick vs King: The Shining (1980) vs The Shining (1997) | Video Krypt
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  5. Bryan James

    Bryan James Well-Known Member

    I like toasted goat cheese on raw spinach with walnuts and a raspberry vinaigrette.

    Some people don't.
  6. AnnaMarie

    AnnaMarie Well-Known Member

    I know he and others have said that complaint about Shelley's portrayal. But it always made sense to me. The situation she was living in, I always imagined her that scared. Walking on egg-shells.
    fljoe0, Gerald, GNTLGNT and 2 others like this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ....gurg, ick, spew, retch...:barf:
    fljoe0, Neesy and blunthead like this.
  8. blunthead

    blunthead Well-Known Member

    I don't recall him mentioning Shelley Duvall.
    fljoe0, Neesy and GNTLGNT like this.
  9. Haunted

    Haunted This is my favorite place

    I never forgave Kubrick for killing off Dick Hallorann.
    fljoe0, Neesy, GNTLGNT and 2 others like this.
  10. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Blunthead.

    I get the feeling that, especially with that last remark where he says it worked for him the first time, that maybe The Shining is/was so problematic for him, because it is a personal book because of his own addiction/alcoholism. It may feel like a clinical look at something that was very personal to him, hence his quote about feeling too little.

    It's strange that he says the dangers of alcoholism are ignored. The more memorable scenes of the film for me are Nicholson drinking in the hotelbar - that's where the film comes mostly alive/together for me and I can identify more with his character than earlier in the film.
    I also don't feel the supernatural element is downplayed - it's just done differently than in the book. When Danny sees those twins, it clearly feels supernatural. You can attribute what Nicholson sees to him being drunk/crazy to begin with, but Danny is the 'pure' identification point for the viewer, and he sees strange things too. I like how the film has those two viewpoints, and it doesn't feel very different to the book, or in general how King writes books from multiple characters' viewpoints (especially his earlier books, like Salem's Lot).

    I think Duvall's perfomance is hate or love. It seems very over the top, but she has to play up against Nicholson being over the top. She can't do that with a very subtle performance, or the film would seem unbalanced.

    In general I feel Kubrick changed things (instead of the hedge animals we get a a maze for example, or the boiler room scenes are left out), but movies often change books, for dramatic or visual purposes.
    I do fully agree with the criticism about the arc of Nicholson's character though: there is no disintegration; he clearly seems crazy right from the start and just gets worse and more dangerous.
  11. fushingfeef

    fushingfeef Uber-in-waiting

    I think it was included on the list because it is "of note". I can think of lots of films that I don't personally care for but will acknowlege their importance. Besides, whether you like the film or not, so much of it has become iconic, its significance to the horror genre is beyond argument.
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  12. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    Does anyone who has the blu ray know if it is the 144 minute cut or the 119 minute?

    Is the 144 minute cut even available for European audiences? I think I never saw this longer version, it's a significant amount of extra time.
    The UK blu ray seems to be the 119 minute. Is there a region free blu ray that has the 144 minute?
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  13. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    It is a list of films that are 'of note', he felt they all contributed something to the genre, but his big favourites he marked with an *. And he marked The Shining with an *.
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  14. blunthead

    blunthead Well-Known Member

    You're welcome, Gerald.
    Neesy, GNTLGNT and Gerald like this.
  15. fushingfeef

    fushingfeef Uber-in-waiting

    Interesting. Maybe when he wrote up Danse Macabre, he hadn't seen The Shining yet? :umm:
  16. doowopgirl

    doowopgirl very avid fan

    I've always liked the film. I always thought the differences were fairly unimportant. After all how many adaptations follow the book exactly? When SKs objections were shown to me I had to agree. But, I still like the movie in its own right.
  17. Gerald

    Gerald Well-Known Member

    Why would he include a film he hasn't seen? Plus, The Shining came out in 1980, Danse Macabre in 1981.

    Maybe ms. Mod knows?
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  18. Moderator

    Moderator Ms. Mod Administrator

    He wrote Danse Macabre before my time so I don't know the answer.
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  19. fushingfeef

    fushingfeef Uber-in-waiting

    Heck if Stanley Kubrick made a movie out of something I'd written, I'd probably give it a thumbs-up sight unseen!
    Seriously though, you are correct it does seem inconsistent with his statements on the film. Funny how much just one asterisk can mean!
    GNTLGNT, Neesy and Gerald like this.
  20. Bryan James

    Bryan James Well-Known Member

    Maybe King didn't "get it" at the time, and he later did?

    He is mostly human, ya know.
    GNTLGNT, Neesy and fushingfeef like this.

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