Why did Kubrick cut down "The Shining" for international release?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by C6H12O6, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. C6H12O6

    C6H12O6 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    My lab
    The international release is about 20 minutes shorter than the American release(s) (the U.S. 'premiere' release had an extra scene).

    Why did Kubrick cut out those 20 minutes? And which cut did he prefer?

    I've gotten some conflicting, confusing answers on this, but I was hoping something could be attributed as a direct quote from Kubrick.
  2. BRush

    BRush Forum Resident

    There was an extended ending that played in Theatres on the Premiere weekend of release, theater owners were given instructions on where to cut the print. Shelly and the kid visit Scatman in the Hospital, and as they are leaving the kid sees the ball rolling down the hallway.

    My understanding on the European version, was that Stanley was tightening the movie. It was released a few months after the US version, so he had a little time. I suspect that Stanley prefered the final version.
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  3. SgtPepper1983

    SgtPepper1983 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    I am not sure but could it have been a shipping problem? Maybe most of the U.S. copies were already distributed, so it would have been a mess getting them back/changed.

    That being said, I think the shortened version is definitive. Much much denser.
    Old Rusty likes this.
  4. C6H12O6

    C6H12O6 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    My lab
    This is actually good to hear. I haven't seen the film in a few years, but I've seen it several times, and even though my opinion of it has improved, I still think it's an uneven picture.

    Some brilliant moments, beautiful cinematography, very entertaining over-the-top performances from Nicholson and Duvall, but some pretty dull stretches. Some of the strangeness is wonderful, but other times, not so much. Maybe the international version eliminates most of this?

    It's too bad the american bluray doesn't have this via seamless branching, but at least the uk bluray is region free.

    Also one mistake, it cuts about 30 minutes not 20.
    Jack Lord likes this.
  5. El Bacho

    El Bacho Forum Resident

    Paris, France
    The first week-end version had the hotel manager visiting Wendy and Danny at the hospital and informing Wendy that Jack's body hadn't been found. Then he threw a ball at Danny that bounced exactly like the one thrown by the "twins", suggesting that he was also part of the conspiracy surrounding the Overlook Hotel.

    The Shining was in limited exploitation then, with five theaters in New York and five in L.A. Kubrick had two editors cutting the film and moving from one theater to the other on a bike.

    Critical reception for The Shining was quite mixed and there was apparently a lot of footage that was shot but not used in any edit. Kubrick had issues with finding what was the center of the film. Don't forget that he cut 25 minutes from "2001" after the New York premiere. And I'm convinced he would have make some changes and trims to "Eyes Wide Shut", had he lived (of course, it's hard to say if these changes would have been beneficial).

    After the US exploitation, Kubrick focused in the shorter cut on Jack's character and his gradual descent into madness, cutting mostly scenes of family life. Maybe he didn't want The Shining to be a commercial failure outside the US (Barry Lyndon had lost money), maybe he decided to take liberties with Stephen King's source material that he couldn't take in domestic exploitation, maybe he had found what should be the real focus of the movie. He never spoke about why he had done this international cut.

    The longer cut was kept in the US, apparently because there were too many people who had seen it and he didn't want them to comment about what had been deleted.
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  6. ausamerika

    ausamerika Forum Resident

    Denver, Colorado
    I think "gradual descent into madness" might be a little generous, where The Shining is concerned. It's always seemed more like a light switch to me.
  7. matthew5

    matthew5 Well-Known Member

    Are you sure about this? That looked to a bit more than a superficial wound.
  8. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    San Antonio, TX
    The Jack and Wendy visiting Dick Halloran in the hospital is probably taken from the novel. It's been a long time since I read The Shining, but I seem to remember that Jack takes down Halloran with a croquet mallet rather than an ax. That might be more survivable. I agree that it doesn't seem likely Dick would have survived the ax to the chest that he got in the movie.
  9. SgtPepper1983

    SgtPepper1983 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    Well, that's because this is not what the movie is about.
  10. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Yep. In the book, Jack starts out as a nice guy and a decent father, with an occasional drinking problem. In the movie, he starts out as somewhat crazy and then quickly becomes extremely crazy. The book is pretty subtle, but the movie is sledgehammer-time.

    I'm still angry that Kubrick left off Stephen King's ending, which would've worked great. Makes me nuts. I like the film to some degree -- even Kubrick's mediocre films have great moments -- but it's very uneven to me, and it damn sure ain't the book.
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  11. tonyc

    tonyc Well-Known Member

    I find this to be a fascinating thread.

    I never knew about this extended footage.

    Here is a current article with more details:

    From: http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/09/19/rare-chance-to-see-the-uncut-version-of-the-shining-if-you-li/

    The George Eastman House just informed us: "The print of the film we will be showing does not in fact have the two-minute final scene that Mr. Kubrick cut following the film's initial screenings. The version of 'The Shining' screening at Eastman House will be the 142-minute extended U.S. version that includes footage Mr. Kubrick subsequently cut from the European release."

    'The Shining,' Stanley Kubrick's landmark 1980 horror film adaptation Stephen King's classic novel, was originally released with a two-minute epilogue that's only been seen by a handful of viewers. Shortly after the film's limited opening, Kubrick decided to cut the scene, which took place after the (literally) chilling last moments. In the intervening 30 years, fans have waited for the original ending to see the light of day and now, they're in luck: The rare coda is hitting the big screen, just in time for Halloween.

    The longer cut of 'The Shining' will show as part of a horror series at the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY on Oct. 22. No advance tickets will be available, so start lining up now.

    The extended ending starts with two state troopers looking for Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), but not able to see his frozen body. The scene moves to a hospital where the hotel manager tries to convince Wendy (Shelley Duvall) that nothing supernatural happened at the Overlook, and that no one ever found her husband. This Stanley Kubrick blog shows images from the deleted scene, as well as oodles of 'Shining' minutiae. (Kubrick fans are hardcore.)

    Roger Ebert was one of the few to see the original ending and thought cutting it was a smart move. "Kubrick was wise to remove that epilogue," Ebert said. "It pulled one rug too many out from under the story."

    This is long but gives an explanation of all the different versions and edits:

    From: http://pineapples101.blogspot.com/2009/01/shining-deleted-scenes.html

    ABC edited 4 minutes from this film for its 1983 network television premiere.

    Stanley Kubrick shot the Jack's typewriter pages in different languages for release in different countries. Such localized versions were released internationally in theaters, on video and on TV. The DVD releases of 2001 and 2007, however, only feature the English version of the text.

    Reportedly, Halloran's death scene as filmed is not the one we actually see. The one filmed depicts a much longer, much more graphic death. In its entirety, the scene lasts almost seventy seconds, and is full of gore. Rather then just run up and hit him as seen in the released version, Jack instead runs up, hits him in the back of the head. Halloran screams. Jack pulls the ax back, and then slams the spike on the back of the ax into the base of Halloran's spine. Halloran screams and recoils, and then Jack slams the ax into his back and he falls down. Halloran rolls onto his back and is looking up, and Jack starts to beat him with the ax before he "hears" something and leaves (Halloran rolling onto his back before Jack beat him is why in the uncut version we see Halloran on his back with blood when Wendy finds him, rather then on his face like we see him fall).

    "The Making of the Shining" depicts an item not seen anywhere in the film: A woman's bloody, scarred, severed head. This may be from a scene never shot, or a scene that was in fact shot and never released.

    In all previous video versions of The Shining, (prior to the 2001 video re-release of this title), each title card failed to change in synchronization with the music. For the film's 2001 video re-release each title card does in fact change in sync with the music.

    Director Stanley Kubrick edited the ending on the third day after release, removing about 10 minutes at the end: starting after the closeup of 'frozen Jack in daylight' it goes to a pullback shot with part of a state troopers car and the legs of troopers walking around in the foreground with Jack in the background, then cuts to the hotel manager (Barry Nelson) Stuart Ullman walking down a hospital hallway to the nurse's station to inquire about Danny and Wendy, he's told they're both doing well and proceeds to Wendy's (Shelley Duvall) room, where after some gentle conversation he tells Wendy that searchers have been unable to locate any evidence of the apparitions she saw. Then it cuts to the camera silently roaming the halls of the Overlook hotel for about a minute until it comes up to the wall with the photographs, where it [back to the ending as it is now known] finally closes in on the photo of Jack in the 1921 picture

    The full-length version runs approx. 145 minutes and is the U.S. theatrical version, available in the USA on VHS, DVD and laserdisc. All the other versions, however, run just under two hours (115), omitting about half an hour of footage. This is because Kubrick cut some scenes from his film, which he thought were unnecessary. British television network ITV screened the full US version of The Shining during the late eighties, as did More4 more recently in July 2008. The following is a list of all the scenes or parts of scenes not present in the other versions of The Shining.

    The last line of dialogue (spoken by Wendy) in the kitchen scene, the subsequent dissolve, Bill Watson's arrival to the interview (and all his dialogue), Jack recounting his previous jobs and the reason for shutting the Overlook in winter.

    After Danny's vision in the bathroom, the entire Doctor scene is removed (making Anne Jackson's name in the opening credits a mystery), where Danny discusses "Tony" and we discover Jack dislocated Danny's shoulder in a moment of drunken rage, and joined the wagon afterwards.

    The scenes where Mr. Ullman shows Jack and Wendy around the Colorado Lounge, when they walk outside the maze and when Dick Halloran shows Wendy and Danny round the kitchens have been shortened, but not removed completely.

    The scene where Jack, Wendy and the hotel managers first enter the Gold Room and are introduced to Dick Halloran, the subsequent dissolve, a line of dialogue between Halloran and Wendy about the woman's name.

    The first shot of Wendy wheeling the breakfast trolley.

    The second half of Wendy and Jack's breakfast conversation where Jack says how he feels he's been to the Overlook before.

    A shot from behind of Jack throwing the ball against the wall, the subsequent dissolve and the line "Loser has to keep America clean, how's that?" (8 seconds in all!)

    Wendy seeing the news and weather report on television in the kitchen while preparing food.

    The title card "Thursday" and part of Wendy and Danny's snowfight.

    Wendy and Danny watching television in the Colorado Lounge.

    Some lines of dialogue between Jack and Lloyd during their first encounter.

    A line of dialogue spoken by Jack after the encounter with the old woman, referring to Danny's vision of the blood.

    The scene where Wendy goes over her plan to leave the Overlook verbally in their room and Danny gets possessed (?) by "Tony", sitting bolt upright in bed.

    Halloran's third attempt at trying to contact them via the telephone and County Office.

    The 8am title card.

    Halloran's question to the stewardess on the plane.

    A long shot from behind of Jack at the typewriter.

    Halloran's plane touching down and phoning his friend Larry to arrange the rental of a Sno-cat.

    The scene where Danny watches Roadrunner (not actually on screen) and Wendy goes to find Jack, taking a baseball bat, just before she goes to find his manuscript.

    Wendy seeing skeletons in the hotel lobby.

    According to someone, there were some prints of the film containing a longer sequence in which Halloran is killed, but in fact the only version of this scene still exisiting is the one contained in the Usa/Canada version, and in the 115 version.
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  12. Turnaround

    Turnaround Happy Human Holiday

    In Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures, the documentary on the DVD and Blu-ray sets of the Kubrick movies, Jack Nicholson tells a story of how Kubrick said a ghost tale like The Shining was an optimistic story. Kubrick told him, "Anything that says there's anything after death is ultimately an optimistic story".

    Stephen King recently did a show on horror movies which aired on TCM, where he told a similar story. He was speaking to Kubrick by phone, and Kubrick told him that The Shining was an optimistic story because a ghost story suggests life after death, and that is optimistic. King said he responded, "What about Hell?" There was a long pause, and Kubrick finally said, "I don't believe in Hell."
  13. I have NEVER been more disappointed in the theater than I was when I went to see The Shining when it opened in 1980. Stephen King wrote a perfectly taut haunted house/ghost story novel that Stanley Kubrick ruined. I know others feel differently about this film and that's great but I re-watch it every so often and come away with the same feeling every time. That said, the scene with the twin girls is a brilliant one.
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  14. xios

    xios Forum Resident

    Frederick, MD
    I'm with you, Furnier. I saw it at the midnight first show in a packed theater, and was disappointed. The book though, was classic. People were laughing at all the unflattering closeups of Shelley Duval. The tv ads leading up to the opening used the blood coming out of the elevator shot and I had high hopes for it. I've tried watching it again but it plods too much.
  15. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Forum Resident

    That sums up my feelings exactly. Kubrick totally missed what made the novel so good. Even King himself doesn't like the adaptation.
  16. Todd Fredericks

    Todd Fredericks Senior Member

    A New Yorker
    I would say he was gone after a strike like that very quickly. Nice to think he may have survived in another cut of the film but I can't imagine how that can be with the impact of that axe (is a spolier needed?). :)
  17. tonyc

    tonyc Well-Known Member

    If you read what I posted, it says nothing about seeing Dick in the hospital. Apparently, the added Kubrick footage has Danny and Wendy in the hospital because of their own trauma and Dick is indeed dead.
  18. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Fonthill, Ontario
    No bio break?
  19. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    San Antonio, TX
    Yeah, but the King sanctioned version of "The Shining" was awful and so was King's attempt at directing (Maximum Overdrive), so who cares what King thinks? In fact, if you look at the 9 film or TV adaptions where King was involved as a producer, he has a very limp record. King is a great author, but he needs to stay completely out of visual adaptions, imo.

    The book and Kubrick's movie are different experiences. Filming King is hard, and trying to film his stories (especially the horror ones) faithful to the novel is tough. Maybe even foolish to try.

    I love both the book and the movie.
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  20. ridernyc

    ridernyc Forum Resident

    Florida, USA
    Maximum Overdrive is fine for what it is a totally campy over the top send up of the action horror movie genre.
  21. SgtPepper1983

    SgtPepper1983 Forum Resident

    Berlin, Germany
    I can't believe you people! Hate to say it but I think Kubrick went right above your heads with this one. Average pulp fiction was used as a basis for a masterpiece unique of its kind.
  22. ridernyc

    ridernyc Forum Resident

    Florida, USA
    You win because the more extremest a statement the more truer it is.
  23. sidewinder572

    sidewinder572 Forum Resident

    Decatur, GA

    Having just watched both versions. The international version is far superior. If you're only familiar with the U.S. version, at first the international version can be a little jarring. Until recently I only knew of the U.S. version. That version is great, however the international version is a masterpiece. The cuts made greatly improve the sense of isolation and dread.

    First and foremost it greatly reduces all the connections to the outside world. There are no scenes of Wendy and Danny watching TV. The removal of the doctor scene at the beginning is also an improvement. It does work much better to cut from Danny's vision to the drive to the hotel, and of course no skeleton scene.

    Overall the cuts that were made for the international version vastly improve the pacing of the film. If you're only familiar with the U.S. version definitely check out the shorter version. It's a prime example of less is more.
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  24. Geoman076

    Geoman076 Sealed vinyl is Fun!!

  25. Scott in DC

    Scott in DC Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    The Shining

    I never liked this movie and I have tried. On paper it seems like this film should be above average with names like Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick and then Jack Nicholson in the lead role. How can you lose with an esteemed lineup like that?

    Perhaps the European version is the version that would have made me like it better. As it stands this film never quite seemed to come together for me.

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