Making ‘The Shining’

I more or less stumbled onto this fascinating short film directed by Stanley Kubrick’s daughter Vivian.

It’s not a terribly original sentiment to consider Kubrick as a favorite filmmaker, but he is a figure I hold in almost singular esteem. I’ve read a couple of books recently about how he put his films together, both of them from the perspective of screenwriters: Michael Herr’s highly recommended Kubrick, and Frederic Raphael’s less impressive but still compelling Eyes Wide Open. Being so intrigued by Kubrick’s process, it’s a huge treat to see short but revealing glimpses for myself – in fact, I’m fairly certain this was the first time I had ever seen film (or heard audio for that matter) of the director himself.

A good summary of the film’s appeal from verdoux:

…a wander around the edges of quality filmmaking. It’s all here: the laborious nature of the filmset, frayed tempers, hissy fits, in-jokes, crying luvvy-actors, and genuine insights into the creative process. Let Vivian Kubrick (Stanley’s daughter) show you that sly old hound Mr.Nicholson talking dirty between takes..listen in on spats between geeky Mr Kubrick and high diva Shelly Duvall..greet James Mason who’s just popped in for tea..gasp at the uncomfortable tears of Scatman Crothers (odder than anything you’ll see in The Overlook Hotel).”

I was somehow disappointed by the revealing interview with Danny Lloyd, who contrary to his uncanny performance as Danny Torrance seems to have been a normal kid after all. The scenes where Kubrick guides Lloyd moment-to-moment while filming almost give the game away too clearly. It takes nothing away from the achievements of actor and director, but in this instance it feels like a mystery has been displaced by an interesting but nonetheless quotidian reality.

I intend to watch the version with Vivian Kubrick’s commentary and reflections as well. And it’s hard not to think of the Bava at a moment like this:

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About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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