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GOLDEN SPIRALS – SKIP TO A PAGE
MARK 13:29 ⎔ I ⎔ II ⎔ III ⎔ IV ⎔ V ⎔ VI ⎔ VII ⎔ VIII ⎔ IX ⎔ X
THE MIDDLE MOVIE ⎔ IX MIRROR MOVEMENTS
20:14 – 33:14
GOLDEN SPIRAL MOMENT – 28:16
Forward First Half (7 seconds of crossfades)
- Ullman and Watson greet Jack (16 sec)
- The Colorado Lounge tour (52 sec)
- Danny in the Games Room (52 sec)
- The Suite 3 tour (57 sec)
- The Hedge Maze/Snowcat tour (51 sec)
- The Gold Room tour (62+26 = 88 sec)
- The Kitchen tour (50 + 30 + 36 + 50 + 7 = 173 sec)
- Music: Lontano (57+43=100 sec)
Backward First Half
- Wendy locks up Jack (4 sec)
- Wendy finds a dead snowcat (66 sec)
- 4pm placard (3 sec)
- Jack chats with Grady (201 sec)
- Hallorann in a snowcat (55 sec)
- Tony/Danny’s REDRUM (139 sec)
- Wendy sees REDRUM (4 sec)
- Jack attacks (10 sec)
- Music: Polymorphia (15+33=48 sec), De Natura Sonoris #1 (70 sec), De Natura Sonoris #2 (195 sec), Ewangelia (10 sec), Kanon (5 sec)
Forward Back Half (6 seconds of crossfades)
- End of the tour (39 + 23 = 62 sec)
- The Danny/Hallorann interview (242 sec)
Backward Back Half (2 seconds of crossfades)
- The Lounge Fight (60 sec)
- Jack “gets” the bat (16 sec)
- Wendy locks up Jack (88 + 136 = 224 sec)
- Music: Polymorphia (298 sec), Kanon Paschy (13 sec)
Forward, the spiral divides the entirety of the Abbey Road Tour (not counting the 23-second reunion, which does feel like an afterthought to the Abbey Road Tour), from the overall tour’s finale, which fades into the Danny/Hallorann shine talk. As a chunk of drama, Section VII’s forward action end point (or Section VIII’s forward action start point) feels a little less coherent than basically every other Fibonacci line in the film. Many other Fibonacci lines and spiral cuts land in the middle of large conversations, but none of them fail to separate one major section of conversation from the other. And the Danny/Hallorann talk does have multiple sections. It starts with Hallorann trying to coax Danny into admitting to the existence of shining, then using his own history with shining to achieve same (75 sec), then they talk about Tony (90 sec), then about the hotel’s scariness quotient (95 sec), then about room 237 (37 seconds). By ending where it does, the Fibonacci line divides the following dialogue (asterisk indicates cut) “Just like they can see things that haven’t happened yet…well…*sometimes they can see things that happened a long time ago…” So, yeah, that’s certainly a fun little moment to split apart, and we can explore what it might mean, but I can’t help but be struck by the imperfection. The one thing it does bring to mind is the end cut for Section II (which VII could be analogous to), when Tony Burton’s name was only halfway across the screen, thus putting a little bit of cast credit in Section III. In fact, the thing that I, II and III share in common with VI, VII and VIII is the former all feature the drive to the hotel (cutting out midway into III), and the latter all feature the Overlook tour (cutting out 55 seconds into VIII). So, while the III/VIII bleeds aren’t proportional to each other (the VIII bleed is 9 seconds longer), they do both happen. And just while I’m on this kick I’ll point out that Jack’s interview starts halfway through IV’s first half (56/111 sec), and ends just after the end of V’s first half, while Jack’s introduction to ghosts (Lloyd) starts at 5 seconds off from halfway through Section IX’s first half (625/1260 sec), and Jack’s last conversation with Grady ends 264 seconds (about 4.5 minutes) from the spiral cut of Section X (which is 55 minutes itself). You might argue that killing Hallorann is the end of Jack’s “interview” with the hotel (387 seconds after the spiral cut), and that Hallorann’s death counts for a ghostly interaction, which would be more in keeping with the other interview pattern. Which would probably mean that Danny’s first vision from Tony (which runs right up to the end of V) was analogous to Wendy’s four horsemen visions from the hotel (which span the majority of X’s back half), for reasons that should be obvious by now.
You see why I’m hesitant to do a full-on, no-holds-barred I-V vs. VI-X analysis? Let’s move on.
The backward action in this section runs from Jack’s first literal threats to Wendy (this Fibonacci line puts all of the pre-life-threatening talk in Section VIII), to her besting Jack and locking him up, to her discovery of the dead snowcat, to Grady releasing Jack, Tony/Danny’s REDRUMing, and the first four blows Jack makes on Suite 3. The spiral cut basically separates the defeat of Jack’s open homicidal impulses from the successful resurrection of those impulses. And you know, the backward action of Section II is cutely similar, dividing Jack’s collapse and freeze face from the zoom in on his resurrected form in the final photo.
There’s other resurrection themes at play here, as in the scene with the dead snowcat appearing in the same half of the same section as Hallorann is first seen driving the snowcat that Wendy and Danny will use to escape through the blizzard. Or forward Danny encountering the Grady twins in the games room, which happens to overlap with Tony/Danny chanting “Redrum” on his way to draw the word; both of these instances are a later realization of a past vision.
If you read part 2 of my mirrorform analysis, you know that there are such things in the film as interlocking passages, where the mirrorform jumps between the same setting, or the same character in different situations. Well, Section VII contains two of my favourites.
The first one is somewhat unspectacular with regard to its Fibonacci position (almost a third of the way through the first half). As Wendy tours Suite 3 for the first time, she steps into the spot where Tony/Danny’s REDRUMing begins, and he disappears to reveal Hallorann coming to the rescue.
The other is much more substantial and much more interesting Fibonacchistically (that’s a word, right?).
So, if you haven’t read part 2 of my mirrorform analysis, you don’t know that every scene in the film taking place in the pantry lines up almost perfectly. Below you can see a) where the mirrorform shot of backward Jack talking to Grady starts (201 sec), b) where that scene ends, which is just as the kitchen tour has left the deep freeze and is heading for the pantry (21 sec), c) the moment Hallorann opens the door on the pantry (50 sec), and d) the moment backward Jack reappears, which is about 2 seconds after the forward cut to the outside of the pantry, but as you can see here, the whole group has exited the pantry at this moment. It’s another 5 seconds to the spiral cut. So, 279 seconds-worth of pantry related sequences (that’s 237 + 42, by the way) all occur on one side of the spiral cut. On the other side of the spiral cut, it’s a little more vague how much time we should say is pantry time there. But if we count to the moment that Wendy lays a hand on the pantry locks, it’s 193 seconds. Point being, there’s three major pantry scenes, one on one side, two on the other.
If we expand our thinking to encompass all kitchen scenes, it’s exactly 10:29-worth of solid screen time (not including crossfades), from the moment the Jack/Grady scene starts to the moment the Danny/Hallorann scene ends. That’s 279 seconds pre-spiral cut, 298 seconds post-spiral cut, with a dangling 55 seconds of Danny/Hallorann talk in Section VIII. And fun fact, there’s only two other kitchen scenes in the film, both very short, one in the first half of the preceding section, and one in the first half of the following section, both around 8.5 minutes from the beginning/end of the Jack/pantry sequences.
But yeah, you’ve got these two massive kitchen sequence chunks split up by the spiral cut into two almost equal lengths.
I also think it’s neat the way Hallorann’s pre-midpoint action is entirely expressed in this one chunk (24:17-34:10) (with the “end of the tour” segment ending right at the middle second; see below), and that no mirrorform action of Hallorann’s rescue mission overlays with this chunk. Now, since the middle scene of the movie is in Hallorann’s Florida apartment, and since this scene folds back perfectly on itself (it starts and ends at the same moment in the mirrorform) he does technically have some overlap with himself. But it’s minuscule compared to his overall screen time. Compared to the other three leads, Hallorann only overlays with himself that once, and perfectly.
But what’s the effect of that? It might just be a consequence of the narrative’s nature. But technically, the scene of Hallorann driving the snowcat to the rescue, which ends 35 seconds before he appears in the forward action, could’ve been moved to the sequence after Wendy finds the dead snowcat, bumping the Jack/Grady scene forward (ruining the continuous pantry effect), and then Hallorann could’ve overlaid himself without shuffling things too badly. The effect of many of the overlays is to contrast where a character was at earlier with where they are later on, but Hallorann didn’t get such a contrast, and maybe that’s the point. For all the ways he might’ve warned the family better against the pitfalls of an Overlook winter, he did what he thought was best at the time, and he continued to do so. After getting Danny’s distress call, he springs into action, and by the end of the night he’s flying to the rescue. He doesn’t really have a character arc, and he doesn’t really need one. Hallorann’s journey is not a journey of metamorphosis. The hero he shows himself to be is the man he was when he first set eyes on the Torrances.
Also, Hallorann shines the “ice cream/eye scream” line at Danny in the first half (17 seconds before the spiral cut), and then it’s omnipresent in the back half. The empty chocolate-smeared bowl carries over into the first half of Section VIII, and then the image below appears in the back half of Section VIII (there’s a notice on the pin board that just reads EYE SCREAM). So all of Sections VII and VIII contain all the literal references to ice cream/eye scream. There are, of course, certainly many other screaming eyes to speak of.
As for the music, the back half features a scene of no music across from a scene of only music, and the first half features a scene of two blobs of Lontano floating away from the edges of the section across from a sequence where the music plays to the edges with a blob of silence in the middle (sort of the inverse of Sections VI’s musical divisions, right?). The first Lontano overlays with De Natura Sonoris #2 (while Tony/Danny’s chanting REDRUM), and the second overlays with De Natura Sonoris #1 (while Wendy’s discovering the dead snowcat). There’s a third iteration that will play in the back half of the next section, mirroring over Jack killing the radio (while the heartbeat music plays). So, evidently, Lontano (a word meaning “far away”) bears a connection to murder for Kubrick. Perhaps it would be more apt to say the symmetry of murder. Also, the back half of Section VIII contains the only other iteration of De Natura Sonoris #1, which accompanies Danny’s final encounter with the Grady twins (and overlays the finale of Jack and Grady plotting in the bathroom).
The other cool thing to note here is that there’s a performance of Polymorphia that runs for 732 seconds starting in the first half of Section VIII and ending in the first half of Section VII. There’s two performances of the song: one that starts when Wendy goes to fight Jack, which ends during the crossfade into her dragging him to the pantry, and one that starts the same second as that one ends, which plays until Wendy is pushing her way out the door to find the snowcat. The first performance is edited to remove a chunk from its middle, and it’s almost impossible to hear, because of the nature of the song (noticed, again, by the impeccable Valerio Sbravatti), but it happens just before the cut away from Jack confronting Wendy about the All Work papers to Danny shining a bloodfall from the Suite 3 bed.
This means that the 732 seconds of performance are divided into sections of 242, 253, and 237.
The 237 portion, which crosses the spiral cut I’m afraid, overlays with the moment just after Hallorann has shine-offered Danny some “eye scream”, and ends when Danny asks him if he’s “scared of this place”. A topic Hallorann tries to dodge until Danny brings up room 237. But it’s extra neat that just at the end of this 237 of music, Hallorann’s pressing Danny to think “real hard” about what Tony might’ve shown him about “this place, about the Overlook hotel”. Why is Hallorann pressing Danny so hard to remember? Is it because he’s thinking about 237, and if Tony might know about 237? Is that how Danny first picks up on Hallorann’s fear of 237? It really pairs profoundly beautifully.
As for the backward 237 action, it involves Wendy locking Jack up, and then running to the 2nd entrance to find the dead snowcat. So, like Jack/Danny’s voyage through the dreaded room, Wendy’s 237 journey ends with her finding a dead thing. But more notably, readers of my Redrum Road analysis will recall that there’s something about Jack and Danny’s journey into 237 that speaks to men trying to return to the womb by venturing forward. There’s a subtext of trying to get back to a mother spirit by abandoning her. And here, Wendy is abandoning Jack, while he flails out for the hem of her garment, sputtering like a lost babe.
As for the other two chunks of Polymorphia that near-miss repeating the 237 figure, they do add with the 237 chunk to form 732, the reverse number. This section begins with Wendy venturing out with her bat, for the first time prepared to fight Jack, and ends with her pushing out the 2nd entrance to find the dead cat. And, as I’ve mentioned several times on this site, there’s a cool unspoken subtext to Wendy’s lounge fight, where she still doesn’t really know if the “crazy woman” Danny spoke of is still at large. And as we know from context clues, 237 is located just around the corner from the top of the stairs where she clubs Jack. So the whole time Jack’s backing her through the lounge, she doesn’t realize that he’s pushing her closer and closer to 237. But this isn’t 237. It’s 732. So she doesn’t go there.
The other thing probably worth noting is that the 732 overlay starts at the end of the “eye scream” shine and ends at the end of the aerial zoom on the labyrinth, which means that it ends 16 seconds before the beginning of TUESDAY, which means that a) it overlays the last 12:12 (732 sec) of Jack being nice to his family, and b) it plays over the last 12:12 of Danny not knowing where room 237 is, because he discovers the room 66 seconds later, while triking around on TUESDAY. And it probably goes without saying that the portion of the Danny/Hallorann convo specifically about room 237 occurs right in the middle of the middle portion of 732.
I could really go for some eye scream right about now.
Click here to continue on to The Golden Shining: Section VIII
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OTHER MAIN PAGES FOR SHINING ANALYSIS
THE MIRRORFORM ⎔ THE BEATLES ⎔ THE RUM AND THE RED
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PHI GRIDS ⎔ PATTERNS ⎔ VIOLENCE AND INDIGENA ⎔ ABSURDITIES
THE STORY ROOM ⎔ ANIMAL SYMBOLS ⎔ THE ANNOTATED SHINING