Monthly Film Bulletin - Nov 1980 - Vol. 47 No. 562

Shine On...and Out

(The Shining has been dwindling fast since it was released in the U.S. earlier this year. A two-minute sequence was deleted from the end of the film in the first weeks of its run. After playing to generally bad reviews and erratic box-office in America, the film was preview-tested before its opening in London and a further twenty-five minutes were cut. What follows is a catalogue of those cuts and one or two notes on their significance.)

(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 assholes. 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.

Copyright - The British Film Institute