by Francis Kies, et al.
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ART OF THE LOBBY
COLORADO POSTERS ⎔ GERMAN POLITICAL CARTOONS ⎔ LOG HUT ON THE ST. MAURICE ⎔ MT. HOOD POSTCARDS ⎔ MYSTERIES ⎔ NORTHERN RIVER ⎔ PAYSAGE D’HIVER ⎔ SOLEMN LAND ⎔ STORMY WEATHER ⎔ TOWER OF BABEL
In the reception radio room, between Wendy and the Grady Twin Paintings, there’s a B&W collage of faces, and two postcard-style photographs of a mountain in snowy and less(?) snowy formats (47:11-47:35). One of these (upper) will also appear in the US Forest Service office in less than a minute (48:08-48:16). The other Forest Service postcard has already appeared wedged in the window of the kiosk outside the labyrinth (38:12-38:18). The second, lower postcard here, and the second one outside the labyrinth, remain unidentified.
As for the photos, I’ve tracked down the two that connect the three areas, both postcards. The one that connects the labyrinth and Forest Service is an anonymous shot of Hood River Valley, below Mt. Hood, Oregon.
The second, that connects the hotel and the Forest Service, was brought to my attention by a fan of the site. It’s another Mt. Hood shot, taken by Francis Kies. I couldn’t find much on Kies, only this one site describing him as a prolific photographer from the area, circa 1940-1950. Going by the quality of this photo I would guess this was mid-60s. He was also the photographer behind the “Spring” photo of the Mt. Hood Seasonal photos outside Ullman’s, which I interpret as connecting to Wendy.
But how cool is it that we now have an artist in the film whose name sounds like “keys”? As in “lesson key and escape key” or “F21 key“.
As for the B&W collage: it’s probably something unto itself, but it does resemble a certain Beatles promotional poster. More recently I found some a photo from some obscure German missionary club that used a similar design to background the B&W faces.
Put simply, my theory about these is that, by connecting the Overlook reception, the labyrinth kiosk, and the Forest Service (each of these being located near the entrance to the thing it represents: reception/the hotel, kiosk/labyrinth, Forest Service/natural world), Kubrick is making a point about the way in which these things are like Russian nesting dolls for one another. The natural world is life itself, while the Overlook represents a metaphor of the human concept of life itself (as a shifting, transient, treacherous thing), and the labyrinth is an even more boiled down version of that same concept. You might also regard the labyrinth as a kind of mashup between the two, with its natural aspect, and its design aspect.
So, by escaping the hotel, and then the labyrinth, Danny is mastering the difficulty of understanding life. I believe this is why his lessons and escapes have intimate links to the theory of evolution and the Beatles (as we’ll cover in the section looking at the John Gould paintings). Kubrick seems to be implying that art and science (something postcards would not exist without) are the way to master the labyrinths and the hotels in our lives. The last thing we see Danny and Wendy do is snowcat their way into the Mt. Hood wilderness, presumably returning to civilization, but perhaps there’s a subtle suggestion there that the natural world remains to be mastered, and that this is the next level of Danny’s development.
Also, while we’re here, note the notice pinned to the corkboard which reads EYE SCREAM. In case you only ever read this page, that’s where the name of this site comes from. Well, that, and the feeling you get from pouring through literally hundreds of thousands of photos online searching for a measly 300+ art objects…
As discussed in the mirrorform section, this combination of B&W faces and scenic mountain vistas seems like a rather pointed reference to the fact that The Shining begins with mountainscapes and ends with a collage of 143 B&W faces (76 women and 67 men). Since this is the beginning and ending of the film, does this connect an “alpha and omega” concept to this other “life itself” concept? If so, does that mean that the labyrinth, the hotel, and the natural world are never to be fully vanquished, but only mastered (through art and science)?
As for the anonymous piece connecting the Forest Service to the labyrinth, it appears first in the forward action at 38:12-38:18, as Wendy and Danny chase past the labyrinth. The mirror action is Wendy flipping through the first two All Work papers.
Then, 7:41 later, in the mirrorform backwards at 45:59-46:11, as Dick makes his final distress call. The mirror action then is the THURSDAY placard and part of Wendy and Danny’s snowball fight.
Then it appears 1:57 later, when Wendy connects to the Service (48:08-48:15; 48:19-48:22; 48:30-48:43; 48:47-48:54; 48:57-49:01). The shots of it on screen add to about 37 whole seconds, out of the 53 seconds that span the bashful ranger’s shots. The mirror action for these moments include all nine of Tony/Danny’s REDRUMs, Tony/Danny saying “Danny’s not here, Mrs. Torrance”, Wendy telling him to wake up, and that he just had a bad dream. Wendy also passes five of the mystery artworks left to ID in this area, which may prove significant later.
The piece appears for the last time 10:11 later (59:12-59:21; 59:35-59:39). The mirror action for these is Jack screaming while Wendy runs to the rescue. So Wendy running through spaces seems to be the…running theme here. What this has to do with Hood River Valley, exactly, I’m not sure. But it’s worth noting, I think, because every shot of the bashful ranger past the first cuts out the other postcard, connecting the Forest Service to the reception radio room. This one connects the Forest Service to the Labyrinth, and as you can see, it appears for around 67 screen seconds (6-12-37-12) across 21:27 (00:06-7:41-00:12-1:57-00:53-10:11-00:26). The “67” bit is interesting, since the other postcards connect to the 143 faces in the final photo, with their 76/67 split.
The one of those that features the mountain, and which also appears in the Forest Service, first appears in the last backwards ranger scene (45:59-46:11), then 60 seconds later when Wendy’s trying the blocked radio (47:11-47:35), then 33 seconds later in the first shot of the bashful ranger (48:08-48:15), and then it’s cropped out of the rest of his shots so it only appears again 11:37 later with the grumpy ranger at (59:12-59:21; 59:35-59:39) for a grand total of 55 seconds, across 13:40 of action. I’m not sure what to make of that.
The face collage and the other postcard only appear in the 47:11-47:35 shot, the mirror action for which is simply Jack crossing through the lobby to kill the radio.
Next art reference: Starlight: Indian Papoose
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OTHER MAIN PAGES FOR SHINING ANALYSIS
THE MIRRORFORM ⎔ THE BEATLES ⎔ THE RUM AND THE RED
BACKGROUND ART ⎔ OVERLOOK PHOTOGRAPHS ⎔ GOLDEN SPIRALS
PHI GRIDS ⎔ PATTERNS ⎔ VIOLENCE AND INDIGENA ⎔ ABSURDITIES
THE STORY ROOM ⎔ ANIMAL SYMBOLS ⎔ THE ANNOTATED SHINING