album cover art by Shirtsleeve Studio
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RANDOM ART FROM THE FILM
ARPEGGIO ⎔ BOMBO ⎔ COMMONERS CROWN ⎔ IRENE REID ⎔ MYSTERIES OF THE BOILER ROOM ⎔ MYSTERIES OF THE OVERLOOK ⎔ MYSTERY KITCHEN ART ⎔ SUPERNATURAL DREAM ⎔ TWO NIAGARA FALLS POSTCARDS ⎔ TONY THE TIGER
Seen only beside Hallorann’s TV in Miami (70:12-70:23; 70:33-70:37), though the Torrances have many albums at home with similar yellow stripes across them, so there could be an implied connection at play there. And also, there are books in Hallorann’s room that also appear in the Torrance’s apartment, so connections definitely exist between the places.
Also, as for the cover art, I wonder if that could be the driving force for its inclusion. If you read the intro to the site, you’ll recall my bit about what I call the Internet of People, the vast network of contacts Kubrick is said to have had, which he used, no doubt, to strengthen his work. Well, perhaps that’s also the “commoners’ crown”, the way that we all come together to help one another, form bonds, and make the connections necessary for our greatest work of all–human civilization–to happen as well as it does. Our crown is our togetherness. Maybe this is what passes for sentimentality in Kubrick Land.
The album has a few direct connections to the film: 1) The opening track is based on a medieval song about a 13th century boy supposedly murdered by Jews, and the band changed the lyrics to make them not anti-Semitic (The Shining opens with a 13th century song, Dies Irae; but also, there’s numerous references to WWII in the books of the film, as we’ll see); 2) the second track, Bach goes to Limerick, combines classical and Irish motifs, which I just think Kubrick would’ve loved in concept if nothing else; 3) Peter Sellers (Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, and Kubrick friend) played ukulele on the closing track (New York Girls) and, it seems to me, does a little vocal riffing (the band didn’t know Sellers at all, and just asked if he’d want to play on the track, and he did—the second time he ever did this, the first time being on After the Fox by The Hollies for his film of the same name); and 4) the album contains a track called Demon Lover, which is considered one of their best by some, and we see this album just before Jack goes to meet his demon lover, so that feels serendipitous if nothing else.
Speaking of After the Fox, if this album was meant foremost as a subtle reference to that film, then this album appearing near the foxy Miss Johari would strengthen that connection. Especially since, if we compare Hallorann’s bedroom to the 237 bedroom, Commoners Crown appears right where Fox Resting will appear. Also, After the Fox concerns a massive gold heist in the bay of Naples.
And speaking of The Hollies, Jack will be awoken from his rest by another ghost (Grady) while slumbering on several sacks of Holly brand salt. Which is near a Golden Rey box sporting the 237 number, and a Café Vienna box sporting the date Jack most likely dies on, and several other bags of Holly brand dried milk.
Also, Steeleye Span made an album called Now We Are Six, a reference to the works of AA Milne. Winnie-the-Pooh will appear twice in the film. The album art for both that album and this album was by Shirtsleeve Studio, who only did these two for the band.
Like the other art in the room, this piece only reflects back on itself since Hallorann’s scene here is the middle of the movie, and starts and ends exactly 55 seconds from the midpoint.
But it’s worth noting that, while the time codes for the other art pieces are strictly 2s 3s and 7s, this one appears at 70:12, which is King’s evil room, backwards. Since this album contains a seemingly personal reference to Kubrick, I wonder if that’s the point, that 217 had a personal meaning to King and 237 has a personal meaning to Kubrick, or maybe simply that this album does. I’d read (somewhere I can’t seem to trace now) that Kubrick’s idea to create the ultimate horror film dates back to the Dr. Strangelove era. Could Peter Sellers have been the one who gave him the idea?
It’s also interesting that the other piece with a personal connection to Kubrick’s film history appears 1:38 later, at 71:50, a still life painted by the mother of the only actor Kubrick ever directed to Oscar gold, Peter Ustinov. Peter Sellers was nominated for Dr. Strangelove, but didn’t win. And doesn’t 715 look like a screwed up 217?
Next art reference: Still Life of Flowers in a Jug
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