Come Together – Round 1




  • The first thing we hear Lennon say is “Shoot me” 4 times, almost subsonically (look it up, if you don’t believe me). That sounds like a suicidal impulse, right? Well, Jack Torrance’s impulse was basically a suicidal one, by selling his soul to the Overlook. You can also read “Shoot me” as an invitation to be photographed, which is what the natural world and photo Jack are in this overlay. Jack was “shot” by the Overlook! (Okay, I didn’t think I would get into this at all, let alone in the first point, but this would make a great point for the “Paul is dead” conspiracy people (of which I am not one). In the Abbey Road Tour, Jack = McCartney. And here, we have an image of dead Jack over the words “shoot me”.)
  • Also, Come Together was conceived as a protest song against Ronald Reagan and a promotion song for Timothy Leary in his political days. The song went on to become its own thing. But isn’t this similar to what seems to be The Shining‘s “protest” against Hitler (as we’re about to see with the Jack Hitler ‘stache), and is very much its own thing.
  • Round 1 Come Together plays over all the shots of the various forests leading to the Overlook. In the second iteration Wendy is phoning the Forest Service on the “KDK12 to KDK1”, and in the third version, Jack is stalking into Ullman’s office to kill the radio, hearing the call of “KDK1 calling KDK12” before murdering the radio. That means Come Together plays during all three scenes in Ullman’s office. Ullman is Lennon in the Abbey Road Tour, and Lennon wrote and sung on this track.
  • “Here come ol’ flat top, he come/groovin’ up slowly” – Lennon is mocking himself here (“ol’ flat top”), but in RR (Redrum Road) we’ve got a shot of the wide, flat Saint Mary Lake, and we are grooving up slowly to Jack in his VW. Also, Jack in the photo at the end, is groovin’ down slowly into the image. Also, the mountain range to the right of the image in the third shot (two after this one) is called East Flattop Mountain. East Flattop is still off to the right here, but it’s behind Goat Mountain.
  • “Joojoo eyeball” – Mirror Jack is staring directly at the screen with an intense look. Joojoo eyeball means an evil eye kind of look, and in all three instances of this lyric throughout the film, Jack or Danny is giving a creepy look. As we will see.
  • Also, this aerial shot of Jack’s VW (the first recognizable shot of Jack on both sides of the movie), the trees make an ominous sight out of Jack’s northbound trek, so it’s almost like we the audience are giving his situation a bit of the ol’ joojoo eyeball.
  • “He want holy roller” – Jack is an antichrist, trapped in stasis forever, thanks to the luring of Ullman/Satan. Also, you’ve got the car that Hitler commissioned being driven by Jack, rolling holy through the pristine sanctuary of nature. While Hitler’s irreligiosity is a matter of debate, he did use Christianity publicly to help in the genocide of the Jewish people.
  • “He got hair down” (“to his knee”) – This is the moment when Jack’s receding widow’s peak makes a Hitler ‘stache on the smaller head in the crossfade. So it’s as if his hair is moving down from the top of his head to his lip (en route to his knee?).
  • I’ll be honest. Ones like that last one make me feel like I’m parodying myself, but I’m just going to keep pointing out the absurd ones, and maybe at some point I’ll go through and demarcate the different levels of absurdity in my synchronicities.
  • “Got to be a joker, he just do what he please” – Purely coincidence, but Jack did go on to play the crown prince of chaos in 1989, as far from making The Shining as the events of The Shining were from the Grady murders (9 years). This is a great example of knowing too much about The Shining. But imagine if Kubrick showed Nicholson something like RR, and that’s why he took the Joker role. Sorry, please don’t take this seriously.
  • The better point is to note how Nicholson’s performance (and Kubrick’s direction) is grossly comedic, like the self-centred joker of the song.
  • “He wear no shoeshine” – You can’t see anyone’s shoes in the group shot.
  • “He shoot Coca-Cola” – On “shoot” the shot changes in this very abrupt way, as if reacting to the music. This is one of my favourite cuts.
  • In fact, this shot we’re now seeing is how I synchronize the music to the film. In a few seconds, on the word “now” in “come together, right now” three Jack Nicholsons will appear on screen at the same time in the same spot. This means that you start Abbey Road a split-second after the first frame of visual movie, but it makes all the synchronicities line up beautifully.
  • Oh, also, Coca-Cola seems to be the drink of choice for everyone in the movie, despite all the 7up lying around everywhere.
  • “One thing I can tell you is you got to be free” – We hear this as Stanley’s name scrolls by, and I have to say, after eight months of analyzing this thing, I still get a thrill at that.
  • “Come together, right now” – Here’s our 3 Jacks moment. Photo Jack, innocent pre-Overlook Jack, and 4th-wall-breaking Jack. So they have come together quite succinctly.
  • “He bad production” – This could be a joke about the fact that Danny Lloyd wasn’t hired for his talents as much as for his name. Lloyd, being a child actor of minor skill (no offence; I quite enjoy his work), could’ve been listed at the end of the credits in the traditional fashion, with an “and introducing” tag.
  • “He got Ono sidebar” appears when SCATMAN CROTHERS is on the screen; Crothers = Ono in the Abbey Road Tour.
  • Also, on the album Instant Karma! (We All Shine On), John is credited as John Ono Lennon, which could be his Ono sidebar, right? Well, Scatman is the second one we meet who “shines on”. Danny’s sidebar.
  • “He got feet down below his knee” – If the “hair down to his knee” thing was actually referencing Jack’s symbolic Hitler status, this echoing line in the song makes good by showing up overtop of Ullman’s name, who is correlated to Satan in the film. Satan’s worse than Hitler, right? Is that how that works? Master of all lies, and whatnot?
  • “Hold you in his armchair/You can feel his disease” – Starts on Philip Stone, ends on Joe Turkel – the two ghosts (named in the credits), Grady and Lloyd. Also, note how in both the overlays, frozen and freezing Jacks seem to be seated on the snowbank, as if in some kind of chair.
  • Also, the next iteration of “Come together, right now” starts on Joe Terkel. The last one started on Jack. Jack, Lloyd and Grady all have symbolic connections to each other, most notably in the clothes they’re wearing.
  • The instrumental segue begins at the end of the cast credits and goes perfectly to Kubrick’s director credit scrolling offscreen.
  • There’s also a fun bit of business with backward Jack thrashing around in the labyrinth looking almost like a dance for this interlude.
  • “He rollercoaster” – In all three instances of this lyric, Jack or Grady appear in a menacing way, forwards or backwards. Here, it’s backwards Jack, who has just reappeared for some more thrashing. And I’ve always thought (since getting acquainted with the album) that Lennon’s enunciation of “coaster” sounds a lot like “ghoster”. That’s probably just my bias playing tricks on me, but on the Round 2 iteration of this lyric, the “ghost” in “ghoster” will occur right as Grady appears for the first time in the backward movie, as we’ll see.
  • Also, this lyrical return from the song’s interlude starts right on the cut to the first shot of the post-credits movie, the establishing shot of our ghost house.
  • “He got early warning” – This line is almost too perfect. In fifteen seconds, Jack is about to walk past the cast of Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are, which is a major early warning for his character, symbolically.
  • Also, the first painting he walks past, The Solemn Land, is from the same year (1921), as the year he’s forever trapped in in the end photo.
  • And backward Jack, here, is howling in defeat, after having been warned about becoming the next Grady.
  • “1 and 1 and 1 is 3” – Thanks to the opening Warner Bros. logo being 14 seconds long, the “3” lands at exactly 3:00. THE INTERVIEW will be between three people, and it will be partly interrupted by the scene between Wendy, Danny and Tony. The later interview with the doctor won’t feature Tony, so, again, three.
  • Generally speaking, the drama in the film is between clusters of threes. The Torrances as a family; Jack, Grady and Lloyd as a symbolic trio; Danny and the twins, and Danny’s three ghosts are the twins and the crone ghost. Wendy only sees three ghosts–the BJ pair and the GREAT PARTY ghost. During the ghost ball, Jack’s three ghosts (Lloyd, Grady, and the crone ghost) are all in the room at the same time. Also, each Torrance has a correlative ghost in which they see themselves; Danny sees himself in the murdered girls, Wendy sees herself in the blowjob bear, and Jack sees himself in Grady. There are three labyrinths in the film: the hedge maze, the hotel, and life itself. There are, of course, other arrangements of characters–duos and quartets–but threes are arguably the most present dynamic, even though most of the immediate drama takes place between two characters. You could also look at it that the hotel represents an omnipresent figure, affecting this numbers game at all stages, and fair enough, but you get the point.
  • Also, this theme of adding basic numbers together speaks to the Fibonacci sequence, in which 1 and 1 and 2 is 3.
  • “Got to be good looking/Cuz he’s so hard to see” = Jack’s first forward appearance, and the lighting on backward Jack has made him very hard to see throughout this portion.
  • I made the above point eight months ago, and now it’s hitting me how crazy it is that the cast of Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are is in this shot, largely because John Carson (the British actor) is sitting in the bottom left corner here, in the shadow of an axe. When Jack says “Here’s Johnny!” there’s no more iconic shot from the movie, and no larger instance of Jack’s face on screen. So, that Johnny Carson is extremely easy to see, and this Johnny Carson is extremely difficult to see, but you can’t deny that John Carson is a good-lookin’ guy, in an Oliver Reed kinda way.
  • The Cathy More-looking character (I can’t confirm if she’s actually Lynda Day George) is looking straight at the camera for two seconds, here; is that “good looking”? Seriously though, I have wondered if her doing this is a reference to the episode of Thriller, entitled Look Back in Happiness, in which the actor behind the George-lookalike here, Aileen Lewis, appeared in a similar background role. In Look Back in Happiness, the story forces the viewer to become suspicious of all the background players at a party, just as this sequence does (whether or not you agree with my Come Out, Come Out theory).
  • There’s also the issue of Scientific American buried in this shot, which tells us a lot about the film’s subtext, and which we need to be “good looking” to “see”, since it’s buried by an issue of Burda magazine.
  • “Come together, right now” – Just like the initial “right now”, this one lands at an interesting moment, just as the turning snowcat that Wendy and Danny will escape in punches two holes of shine straight through Jack’s chest. But we also see it make a full turn, so the fact that the lights shine straight at us, the audience, on “right now”, is also kind of amazing.
  • Incidentally, there’s a male and female hotel employee (you can tell by their uniforms) standing on the other side of the glass doors behind Jack here, and I’ve often wondered if they’re actors from something else that inspired the film. If so, this moment would be extra juicy, since they’re standing in the beam of light (see below).
  • I love this transition: the song curves into its final section, right after John’s loud “Oh!”, and almost right on this beat, the backward action goes into the first instance of the camera flowing behind one of the maze runners, in this case, a stumbling Jack. And this whole sequence starts to feel like the credits sequence to the song itself. Like, so long, folks!
  • As I’ll discuss in greater detail down below, there seems to be numerous references to Beatles album covers in the film. Briefly, the four seasonal portraits of Mt. Hood to Jack’s right, are a symbolic representation of the Let It Be cover. Meaning the first album cover to be referenced is the last album to come out.
  • With that in mind, this could suggest that the elephant on Susie’s shorter filing cabinet here is meant to represent Ganesha, the Hindu god of the religion that brought John and George closer together as friends in the late 60s. One of Ganesha’s three main associated symbols is an axe, because he’s a “remover of obstacles”, and we can see an axe-wielding maniac in the heart of forward Jack, here. Is that a way to suggest that Hinduism wasn’t enough to keep John and George “together”?
  • I should also note that Ganesha is the result of a decapitated man having his head replaced by an elephant head, so he’s a result of the coming together of man and animal (not that people aren’t animals), which is quite similar to the minotaur, no?
  • Also, the opening lyrics in Let It Be, go “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me speaking words of wisdom, let it be” and the painting to Jack’s left, here, is The Great Earth Mother, by Copper Thunderbird, of a shaman tripping out, possibly, to a vision of the great Earth mother. He painted a series of similar shaman paintings, but maybe this is meant to be the actual great Earth mother, I’m not sure.
  • As if carrying on the irony of Come Together being The Beatles’ last big hit single, backward Wendy and Danny are splitting up from their hug and sprinting away from each other, while Jack and Ullman are splitting up from their handshake.
  • However, you can also read Jack meeting Ullman as analogous to John meeting Paul, who were indeed the first Beatles to come together.
  • As the song comes to a close, backward Wendy and Danny are splitting up while forward Wendy and Danny are having lunch. As you can see, she’s reading The Catcher in the Rye, which is possibly the most recognizable or iconic book of the 20th century. The Beatles hold a similar status in music. We might also observe the mirror-like quality of the book having the same design on the front and back, and the cut-in-half apple on the record for Abbey Road, giving a similar symmetry.
  • Before we move on, I’ll just note that, generally, the phrase “Come together” speaks beautifully to so many of the films themes and structural aspects. But most significantly, that of the mirrorforming of the movie. The end and beginning of the film have come together, and so much is revealed. Could this also be true for Abbey Road? I doubt it, and I’m not going to check, but if you’re feeling nuts, give it a shot, and let me know how it goes.

Click here to continue on to Redrum Road: Something – Round 1