MAIN PAGE ⎔ SECTION PAGE ⎔ SITE MAP ⎔ GLOSSARY
MIRRORFORM ANALYSIS – SKIP TO A SECTION
INTRO ⎔ THE INTERVIEW ⎔ CLOSING DAY ⎔ A MONTH LATER ⎔ TUESDAY
THURSDAY ⎔ SATURDAY ⎔ MONDAY ⎔ WEDNESDAY
SPECIALS: GREAT PARTY ⎔ GINGERBREAD HOUSE ⎔ SHINED & CONFUSED
MIDWAY ⎔ MIDDLE-END
Kicking off our Norse God name day placards is Tuesday, named for the mysterious god Tyr or Tiw. We’ve discussed how he used to be the ultimate Germanic god, possibly, and how he downgraded to become Odin’s son in the new mythos. Tyr also became a god of self-sacrifice, because the Norse held that he let Fenrir bite off his arm, so that the other gods could cage the beast, until the apocalypse (known as Ragnarok). Fenrir is, of course, either the monstrous wolf who swallows the moon, or the father of the wolf who does. So, by sacrificing his arm to stop this, Tyr becomes a figure who corrects the nature of time and the natural world.
Also, the word Dyeus (the root word for Tyr) means “to shine”, so it’s funny that this day features almost no shining from Danny or anyone, forwards or backwards. The only bit seems to be Danny touching 237 and seeing the twins for a flash. Unless we count the minor absurdities around the hotel, which are fairly ample, in these two short sequences.
Also, though, Tiw sounds like “two”, and the film is rife with those. Here, in this overlay, we’ve got the two naked twins above Danny, the two butterfly art pieces, his Roadrunner cartoon with its two characters, the two TVs playing in the background, the two yellow lines on the back couch (a bat and a fire truck ladder), the connection that exists between Wendy (Winnifred) and Winnie, the twoness of Tony/Danny, Wendy being engaged in some phase of food prep, and even the fact that this scene looks very similar to the first breakfast between Wendy and Danny/Tony.
In both breakfasts: Wendy is smoking, there’s a checkered table cloth, Danny has a glass of milk (though it is white, earlier), books are laying around behind Danny’s head, a baseball is behind Danny (here, there’s a bat), there’s a popular cartoon character in sight (Bugs/Winnie) and Roadrunner is playing on the TV. In fact, it’s the exact same episode. So, this mirrorform is truly a day of twos.
But is anyone in the film a representation of Tyr/Tiw? Tony would be the obvious choice, since he was created by Jack (the Big Bad Wolf, who’ll be huffing and puffing in this very spot 20 minutes from now) breaking Danny’s arm, when the child was…2 years old. In the myth, Fenrir kills Odin by swallowing him during Ragnarok, and if we give post-arm-break Jack the credit of still being Odin to Tony/Danny’s Tiw/Thor, then perhaps (since the film opens with Dies Irae, a reference to Christianity’s Ragnarok, and ends with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) Jack’s entire story is about the struggle between Odin and Fenrir during Ragnarok, ending in the All-Father’s demise on WEDNESDAY (Odin’s day) when Jack takes the ghost booze, makes out with the 237 ghost, gets tight with Grady, and murders the radio and snowcat (Lloyd: What can I get for you, Mr. Torrance? Jack: Hair a the dog that bit me!). Remember, in my Four Directions analysis, the hotel corresponds to the wolf direction, so, the analogy is apt. The more Jack becomes an agent of the hotel, the more feral he becomes until finally he’s just quoting the Big Bad Wolf. Now that I think about it, there’s another two: perhaps all of the direct references to Norse mythology fall in the second half of The Golden Shining, while the bulk of the Abrahamic ones fall in the first half. That would mean that a mythology worshipped by no one in any official sense in the present day is part of the “reality” half of the movie. But, again, this is the half with most of the ghosts in it.
Fenrir is stabbed in the heart by another of Odin’s children, Víðarr, but the Overlook, like Wendy and Tony/Danny, live on. So it’s not a perfect accounting of Germanic apocalypse, but neither is it a perfect accounting of Christian apocalypse. Still, I wonder if that’s just because not every story can end like Cabin in the Woods, or if it’s because Kubrick is specifically thumbing the eye of religious literalism. I doubt it. The one way in which all end-of-the-universe stories fail on a dramatic level is the way we all know the one thing that’s sure about life: it goes on.
But, you know, perhaps Kubrick was also making a point about the nature of the stand-alone film vs. the nature of the serial vs. the nature of the “universe” movie, like Tarantino would make, for instance. Most stand-alone movies have that beginning, middle and end, and while your imagination can tell you what the lives of Ellis Redding and Andy Dufresne were like after the events of Shawshank Redemption, you don’t truly know (and in that case we hopefully never will). But not all apocalypses are created equal, and some films beg to be let loose from such constraints. Tarantino and Osamu Tezuka discovered a brilliant loophole for this by using recurring motifs that don’t exist in reality to establish that everything you’re hearing about happens in their own, personal universe. Perhaps Kubrick was just starting to lean that way, and perhaps his devotion to realism ultimately kept him from making the leap.
This is another of those neat forwards-backwards moments. When kitchen Wendy is forwards, she’s using this huge can opener to unseal a tin of fruit cocktail, but in the overlay it looks like she’s opening Danny’s head. In the first half of the mirrorform, the sense is that this is why Tony/Danny speaks to her–she’s opened up his fruit cocktail. In the second half of the mirrorform, it’s as though, after their conversation, Wendy is sealing back up Tony/Danny’s head. There’s an interesting faux-duality to the two Wendy outfits, as well (apron/overalls), though I can’t say what the purpose was, there, if any. In both instances, she’s prepared/preparing Danny’s sustenance.
The After the Bath painting above his head in this moment goes well with his bathrobe, and I wonder if that’s the point of “unscrewing” his head. Forward Wendy wants to understand her son’s trauma, and backward Wendy wants to seal it away.
The news lady mentions “the 1968 shooting” referring to something that lead to a “life sentence”. In the overlay here, we have a loaf of bread (which I couldn’t find online), called STAR brand bread, right next to backward Danny’s head. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) famously ends with the emergence of the “star-child”. Coincidence?
The next news bit that captures Wendy’s attention is the story of a continuing search “in the mountains near Ouray” for a “missing Aspen woman” named “Susan Robertson” who “disappeared on a hunting trip with her husband” and has been “missing ten days”. I’m not sure about the Aspen reference (although Jack does flick his tongue out like an asp quite a bit, and there’s a painting in suite 3 featuring aspen trees), but there’s an interesting series of other connections at play there. The action of the entire film takes place over ten (named and unnamed) days (not counting the photo Jack day at the end, which could possibly (unlikely?) be the day that frozen Jack is also seen dead); Susan Robertson shares a name similarity with the Roberts brand milk that appears with Wendy throughout the film, and Ullman’s secretary, Susie, who brings Danny back to his parents after his scare. Susie can’t literally be Susan Robertson, who is credited as being 24-years-old, but it seems significant that only three women are directly named by the film: Wendy, Susie, and Susan. A similar thing happens in the novel, where names are repeated among various characters.
Marguerite Roberts was a black-listed screenwriter who wrote the screenplay for True Grit in 1968, from the novel published in the same year, and John Wayne said it was the best he’d ever read. True Grit was filmed in the mountains near Ouray (1968 shooting?), and in Ouray itself. The plot of True Grit concerns a young girl who hires an aging US Marshal, Rooster Cogburn to catch the man who murdered her father. Dick Hallorann has a rooster statuette buried deep in his apartment, and Danny does hire him in a sense. The bad guy in that story is named Tom Chaney, and King’s novel has a certain obsession with Chaneys.
It’s probably worth noting that the TV Wendy’s got here is the same as the one that’ll be overtop of Larry Durkin’s head in a few moments (which will be showing To Itch His Own, released in 1958, 10 years prior to True Grit, and which also (for uncontroversial reasons) ended the careers of its producer and composer, who both retired). Also, the two little toy trucks here, beside the little TV—a SWAT van and a farm truck—will appear on either side of Danny as he’s playing outside of 237, later. And 237 is exactly why backward Tony/Danny’s in this condition.
Here, both Wendys are hunched over Danny, one kissing his head, the other pouring fruit cocktail into his chest area. I also just want to point out the 7up case, visible in the kitchen, right through backward Wendy’s left shoulder, here. Recall that the twin bottles in the Forest Service radio room have a connection to Tony/Danny (see below). Was the Forest Service involved in the search for Susan Robertson on this twoiest of Tuesdays?
At the beginning of Danny’s 2nd trike ride, here, he passes a painting by John Webber, called A Woman of Oonalashka. Her hair style is reminiscent of Wendy’s.
This woman was painted during Captain Cook’s final, fatal voyage, around some islands called the Fox Islands. So, not only does that seem to connect to the two fox paintings inside 237, but, also, as we’ll see, Wendy overlays with those fox paintings in the mirrorform.
Just wanted to give you the full lyrics to the Roadrunner theme song, which plays underneath the entire scene following Tony’s one line of, “Yes, Mrs. Torrance”:
If you’re on a highway and Road Runner goes “beep beep,”
just step aside or you might end up in a heap.
Road Runner, Road Runner runs down the road all day.
Even the coyote can’t make him change his ways.
Road Runner, the coyote’s after you.
Road Runner, if he catches you you’re through.
Road Runner, the coyote’s after you.
Road Runner, if he catches you you’re through.
That coyote is really a crazy clown.
When will he learn that he never can mow him down?
Poor little Road Runner never bothers anyone.
Just runnin’ down the road’s his idea of having fun.
As these lines play over the forwards scene of Danny triking, it plays nicely with Danny’s general association with winged creatures, and of course his rolling down the road, here. The roadrunner beeps like a car, so perhaps SK saw an allegory in him about the relationship between society and nature, where the roadrunner is us, always outpacing the animal kingdom, and the coyote is the hapless remainder of the animal kingdom, always trying to outwit us in our unimpeachable position atop everything (except, of course, by self-destruction (or some outer space force, or some evolved viral infection—this is the room where we see the 1978 Scientific American dealing with the oil crisis).
Of course, again, we have a wolf-like creature as the fearsome predator. So it’s neat that Jack is here, fairly blatantly, being compared to a “crazy clown”, since Jack does start to seem this way to Wendy very shortly in the lounge.
Also, the paintings beside triking Danny here are of a hare and an English Springer Spaniel, known for hunting birds and hares. As Danny completes the loop that leads back to 237, we’ll see the painting of the ruddy ducks that are right behind him in the below image.
Actually, the Springer Spaniel painting, you’ll recall, features the same dog breed as the one I was earlier drawing a connection to the Grady daughters with, right? And here (above Tony/Danny’s head) it’s overlaid exactly with the After the Bath twins. In this same moment there’s that print of a (likely) Br’er Rabbit-style African Savannah Hare overlaying Wendy’s cranium. And it will be directly opposite these dog and rabbit paintings that Wendy will crack the skull of the wolf man in her life.
Above forward Danny’s head here is the painting Bataille de Longue Pointe (Battle of Long Point, or Battle of Sister’s Creek/Nun’s Creek) by Louise-Amélie Panet-Berczy (1775), which depicts a scene from the American Revolutionary War, which involved French Canada. The painting is perhaps the most obscure in the film (next to Arpeggio), but contains several motifs that seem to be recurring throughout: 1) it contains a rainbow, 2) it contains things in groups of three (three stripes of coloured clouds, three large trees, and three houses), 3) it contains livestock (in this case, a red cow and several foals), and wild birds (loons?), and 4) a depiction of a water craft, in this case a canoe or small boat.
What’s perhaps most interesting is that this is a painting about a significant moment in the Canadian aspect of that war, which contains not a trace of violence (besides what might be a disused cannon), and painted by a woman artist. Wendy is about to go face Jack in the mirrorform, so that feels apt, with it flying through her head.
The painting also links to a larger theory I have about the film’s ideas concerning the Pillars of Hercules. So, in as much as the Grady twins are linked to those pillars, it’s interesting that the naked After the Bath twins above Danny are appearing at this moment for the first time in the film, unobscured by someone’s head, and in focus.
As Danny psyches himself up to try the handle of 237, Wendy psyches herself up to go face Jack.
Also, when Danny touches 237, he’ll get the flash of the twins. After the Bath is overlaying with his right eye here. When he goes into 237, he’ll be strangled by a crone ghost who emerges from a bath. So, everything post-237 is “after the bath” in a sense. But in the sense that Jack also goes to the bath and gets similarly traumatized, there’s two after the baths. There’s twin after the baths.
Actually, I neglected to point out in the last section that Danny was passing room 231, with that painting overlaying his head. Room 231 is where I suspect the hotel will absorb Jack’s soul, so it’s not just fitting that he’ll paraphrase the twins at Danny later (“I wish we could stay here forever, and ever, and ever”), that door to 231 would likely open into a space right beside the 237 bathroom, or very close to it. But this would imply that Jack’s soul would go into a space “after” the 237 bath, or at least, more westerly than it.
237 literally overlaying After the Bath. (Also, there’s another cute time synchornicity here. In the kitchen we just left, there was a clock showing 6:40pm. In this scene, Wendy’s watch read’s 6:30am.)
Also, this is exactly 42:00 (a time code that carries on into the next part of Hallorann driving), which first of all gives us a nice combination of 42 and 237, the film’s two major numbers, but also, in the first Roadrunner breakfast, Danny was sporting that giant 42 on his shoulder.
As Danny looks at 237 for the second time, in this twin shot, the numbers float eerily before Hallorann’s windscreen, as if the man can’t stop thinking about what happened to the little boy in that room. As if that’s what’s driving him to go up there. There’s a splittest-of-split-seconds moment where the number is mostly inside the rear-view, and I’m too impatient to screen grab it, but I wonder if that’s significant. There is at least one major 732 in the film, which starts just on the opposite side of the backward scene we just left, as Wendy enters the lounge fray. Polymorphia plays in that sequence for 732 seconds.
A few things going on here: the door behind Danny, across the hall from 237, has mysteriously opened between shots. And in the mirrorform a traffic cop is pointing straight at it for 10 seconds (the shadow hand in the upper left).
The smashed red Beetle sits perfectly over Danny’s red trike for a few seconds here, as if another reminder to Dick of what’s befallen Danny.
A few of the cars that Dick passes here appear outside the Overlook. There’s a Matador here and during the tour, which is where the most prominent Beatles reference happens, so that speaks nicely to the red Beetle here. Actually, the policeman’s hand even looks a bit like the Yellow Submarine hand, doesn’t it?
The other way to look at this, of course, is that Dick represents the American soldiers who went to fight WWII, and as such, this American truck crushing this Hitler car is fairly apt. It’s a suggestion of the sacrifice Dick will make.
Also, you can’t see them very well here, but there’s two men running around the Beetle here in red toques (see below), who resemble, vaguely, the outfit Hallorann is wearing when he gets axed.
Also, Dick will pass a sign here that says Westminster, which probably takes its name from Westminster Abbey, which recalls Abbey Road, an album that the film will reference during the tour.
Also, on Hallorann’s radio, right here, the announcer, named Hal, is saying “with these early storms like this, I guess the entire airport will probably be closed within the hour” and what’s funny is that forward Wendy just heard (a week earlier) about the early storm moving in on her little TV.
I should also mention that the other announcer, a few seconds later, says, “Get the cows in the barn” and Danny just passed the painting with the red cow and foals. Oh, and I just found a site that credits the painting being named Battle of the Barn.
Oh, and I’ve seen a few different accountings for how many songs the Beatles ever composed or recorded, and one Wikipedia accounting had it at 237, though that’s since been…corrected…to 213.
Here Hallorann is hearing about how “Many of the mountain passes – Wolf Creek and Red Mountain passes – are already closed.” Again, Danny just passed the painting about the Battle at Sister’s/Nun’s Creek, and, again, Jack will later compare himself to the Big Bad Wolf (and there’s a painting right through the door here of a golden retriever). So perhaps 237 is a bit of a “Wolf Creek” of sorts (it does have the two dog paintings in it). But it could be a “Red Mountain” too, with it’s Vesuvius piece. And, as Danny is here discovering, it’s closed.
The actual Red Mountain Pass is quite close to the Coloradan area of Pandora, which might mean 237 is a Pandora’s box. And Wolf Creek Pass is in the shadow of Treasure and Alberta Mountains. 237 is where Danny gets the final Key, which is a kind of treasure for him, to be sure.
As Danny gets a flash of the twins after touching 237, we have an overlay with Hallorann’s car (note the headlights shining through the girls’ chests), which has a licence plate with the number 42 on it. 42s are commonly associated in the film with impossible things. And this is Tuesday, remember: the shine day.
(Actually, right before this, as the car fades into view in the opposite action, the time code is 42:42. The twin flash happens at 42:45, which might be a reference to the years of WWII for America. But also, Dick’s license plate reads 4247 and sure enough his car fades into view at 42:38, and out at 42:47. Cuz Kubrick’s a boss like that.)
Also, it’s hard to make out here, but on Durkin’s TV set (the same set as Wendy just had in the kitchen), the image is of a flea jumping around the landscape between two dogs. The cartoon is To Itch His Own (1958), by director Chuck (Charles) Jones, composer Carl W. Stalling and producer Edward Selzer. The cartoon represents the end of an era for Warner Brothers, because both Stalling and Selzer retired after this piece. Just to give you an idea of what kind of careers these men had with WB, Stalling had composed for 735 projects at that point, and Selzer had produced 378 shorts. This was the series’ 823rd short.
The plot of the short is also interesting: a circus flea, The Mighty Angelo, is going to rest in the country, and takes up residence on a kindly, simple dog who is terrorized by the bulldog he shares an estate with. The Mighty Angelo then performs a number of (invisible) hits on the mean bulldog, sometimes empowering the kindly dog with great strength. This drives the bulldog a little loopy as he tries to understand his predicament. In other words, the Mighty Angelo is a bit like Tony, and here Danny receives his first shine after CLOSING DAY. It’s very similar to the one he got from Tony before, so it’s probably not coming from the hotel. Either way, it’s a shine. But perhaps the connection to The Mighty Angelo tells us that it’s definitely Tony. Also, there’s Tony Burton, seen here playing Larry Durkin, who is famous for being Apollo Creed’s trainer in the Rocky movies. So, besides the Rocky-Rockies connection, there’s also a strong man connection between him and the Mighty Angelo.
Another funny overlap is that early in the cartoon we see a note Angelo has left for Sam (presumably the owner of the circus), which reads, “Dear Sam: I’ve been working too hard so I’m going to take a rest on some nice quiet dog in the country. Yours truly, The Mighty Angelo – P.S. I’ll fix the door when I get back. The M.A.” He warped the bars of his cage to escape the circus, and then smashed down the door of the place where he was being kept. This is oddly reminiscent of Jack escaping his cage of the storeroom and then axing the two doors of Suite 3. Or, say, Hercules smashing Atlas to create the pillars. So Angelo has a cross reference in both Tony and Jack, there. I think that speaks to the Herculean nature of both men in the film, and how differently they choose to employ their strength.
Bearing the last one in mind, Durkin has two brown dogs behind him, one in the cartoon, one in the air freshener ad over his shoulder, “Perky Pooch”. 237 has one brown dog in the Colville painting. Perhaps the implication is that Tony is the reason Danny later escapes 237. Because the bruises on his neck are pretty severe. The ghost had a good strong hold on him, and his sweater is very torn.
Before I move on from this point, note that Tony Burton emerges right as Danny’s getting the psychic rebuff from 237. With his Apollo Creed connection, what might that say about Danny’s Apollo sweater? Among other things, Apollo was a god of prophesy, so perhaps Tony Burton’s appearance is simply to say, “Don’t worry, Danny. You’ll ‘go beyond’ someday.” Then again, the Apollo of Ovid’s Metamorphoses sounds a bit like a Hercules figure (he even killed his lover Coronis, a name which may have a common etymology with “cornea”, a part of the eye).
Here, forward Jack is just about to show how much of an asshole he can be to Wendy, and all through this zoom Hallorann is saying, “Larry, just between you and me, we’ve got a very serious problem with the people who are taking care of the place. They’re turned out to be completely unreliable assholes. Ullman phoned me last night, and I’m supposed to go up there and find out if they have to be replaced.” This is also the first moment of Jack “working” at something that isn’t his job.
In Durkin’s garage, just for a moment, we see a Silver Beauty No 8200 charger (recall that we saw one earlier at the Overlook garage). Perhaps this is a reference to Jack’s typewriter, which turned from a white typewriter in its last scene, to a silver-grey one in this scene. The light blue rectangle on Wendy’s face is making her into something of a silver beauty as well.
Fun fact: I recently did a study on the numbers on the boxes in the storeroom, to see what scenes the various numbers would lead us to, and if we interpreted the 8200 in this Silver Beauty to be pointing us in the same direction, that would take us to 136:40, right after Danny has escaped the heart of the maze, and Jack is starting to stumble around, lost. The mirror moment for that is Wendy asking Danny whether he thinks Tony will like it at the Overlook. As she does this, there’s a bottle of Ivory and Joy brand dish detergents. Silver Beauty. Ivory Joy. Coincidence? Maybe.
Actually, I didn’t get the screen grab here, but the time on Durkin’s clock is 9:07am. And that’s a backwards 709, which is the AT code for Snow White. And wasn’t she a silvery beauty of whitest joy?
The nudie calendar is reminiscent of the nudes that will be all around Wendy in the boiler room later (a scene that will lead her to need to return to this very spot next to Jack’s typewriter for the first time since her banishment here), so perhaps, since this is the scene where Wendy gets her first taste of Jack’s madness, this overlay foreshadows (or backshadows) her dawning responsibilities.
Check out my section on the Sand Creek Massacre for how these overlaying images could relate to each other.
I didn’t want to talk about too many of the cool things you’ll find over on the disappearances analysis page, but I love this one too much. As Jack first starts to act weird, asking Wendy what she “[wants him] to do about” the coming storm, there’s a table and chair behind him that go missing for just this shot (see below), and on the opposite side of the film, the thing that fills the space for that moment is the snowcat at Durkin’s that Dick will ride to the rescue, and that Danny and Wendy will ride to safety. So Jack’s first seeming weirdness accompanies a visual weirdness, and the mirrorform seems to scream at Wendy “Get out, girl!”
SPECIAL: THE STORY CODE PHENOMENON
While analyzing that last bit about the chair and table, I unearthed a massive web of connections, which you can read about here, but I didn’t want it to interrupt the flow of this analysis, so head there for a look at how every time code containing the numbers 447, which is the number of pages in the novel (4:47, 40:47, 44:07, etc.), give us a bunch of clues for how to understand the funny editing that happens in the two scenes containing the Roadrunner cartoons…and much, much more.
Alright, back to the mirrorform…
Here, as Wendy’s saying “I’ll come back with a couple sandwiches, and…maybe you’ll let me read something then…” overlays with this shot of backward Jack hammering out All Work pages, in between shots of Hallorann’s plane ride. Backward Wendy is minutes away from reading just what Jack’s been so feverishly trying to accomplish.
Also, this is probably a giant coincidence, but there’s a line of John Webber etchings outside room 237, some of which were composed in what became known as the Sandwich Islands. An early hint that Jack longs to be upstairs?
Also, we have a backward blazing fire marking the start of forward Jack’s first outburst (the first blazing fire will be seen in a few minutes on THURSDAY, and recall that the backward action here is the second, unnamed Thursday of the film), and marking the last untouched-by-insanity behaviour we see from him.
And this backward shot is basically a twin shot of the one that set up this forward scene, 75 seconds apart from that one. It’s a reminder of how far Jack’s really come, psychologically, in the interceding hour of plot. Which is to say, not far. His barking at Wendy here is not that different from his later barking. He’s simply less physically threatening.
Also, this conversation started with Wendy telling Jack about the coming storm, and the mural above the fireplace there is likely by the Be’ena Za’a, a moniker which means “The Cloud People”.
Jack’s wild outburst at Wendy is contrasted nicely here by this moment of Hallorann’s perfect civility with the flight attendant. Also, there’s a copy of Businessweek on the seat next to Hallorann in this scene, and I couldn’t find the exact issue, by its cover, but if you look at issues of the magazine from this era, a regular storyline was the conflict between bulls and bears on the stock market. Wendy and Dick are associated with bears, and Jack is associated with horned beasts. So that seems deliberate.
She tells Dick that the plane is due to arrive by 8:20. At 820 seconds into the mirrorform, Dick is rounding the corner into the lobby, where he’ll get the chop. Mirror Jack is saying, “We’re gonna make a new rule” which leads to him saying “when I’m in here, that means I’m working, that means don’t come in.” As discussed in the F21 analysis, Dick’s death is Jack’s real “work” for the hotel.
But also, yes, we did just discuss an 8200 Silver Beauty, didn’t we? Those appear across 1226 seconds of film and 12:26 is right when backward Jack stalks back to Hallorann’s corpse, from going after Danny.
8:20 is the end of Ullman telling Jack he has a story that’s “been known to give a few people second thoughts about the job.” On that second, the shot cuts to Jack who admits to being “intrigued”. The mirror action there is Danny running the escape that corresponds to his 237 lesson, which happens between Wendy’s two Four Horsemen portals that occur in the lobby: war and famine.
Also, the moment of the attendant saying “8:20” is 45:01, which happens to be 2701 seconds into the film, a 217 jumble.
I don’t have the patience to figure out exactly which mountains are being shown here, but if it’s anywhere near Pike’s Peak…
I’m not exactly sure what to make of the 8am/4pm placards, though some have noted that it’s a double of 42, if you read it as 84 (and the second that the film cuts to the credits is 8484, which makes the middle second of the film 4242). One thing I noticed is that these two placards are unique for having lower-case lettering, and since they’re the final two placards, it becomes like a shrinking down, like a cowering. The 8 followed by 4 gives the feeling of being cut in half, or like time’s running out.
If it’s about being a double of 42, and 42s are about impossibilities, it’s nice that Hallorann’s whole voyage to save the family takes place in these sections, because Danny’s outreach to him, and his decision (with no further prodding that we know of) to come racing to their aid is pretty spectacular, no matter how you shake it. Also, the overlay for 4pm is Hallorann being charming with the Torrances outside the pantry, and this sequence generally has a Goofus and Galant quality in the way it contrasts Dick and Jack. And these two placards, 8am and 4pm, are the only placards in the mirrorverse throughout the mirrorform, so that duality feels deliberate.
And just in general, there’s more than a few instances of telescoping, or shrinking, throughout the film (corridors get narrower; carpets get smaller; people walk through large rooms, then smaller rooms, then very small rooms), so the placards going from the very general and far apart (THE INTERVIEW, CLOSING DAY, A MONTH LATER) to the very close together (TUESDAY, THURSDAY, SATURDAY, MONDAY, WEDNESDAY) to the very very close together (8am, 4pm) is a good example of that. Also, these three sections I’ve just mentioned are each about 45 minutes in length. So as our minds process the different speeds at which things are happening, the amount of time stays about the same, which makes the earlier sections feel fast, and the final day of plot feel extremely stretched.
Finally, this placard appears only 20 seconds away from the placard THURSDAY, which, as I write about in the following section, gives a nice connection to this unnamed final day of plot being a Thursday, which it is.
For fans of my Snow White theory, part of that is my idea that, of the seven people who help Danny, and help Danny’s other helpers, the second US Forest Ranger here, is notably grumpier than the one Wendy talks to in a minute, making him correlate to the dwarf Grumpy. And Wendy just said to Jack, “Aw. C’mon, hon. Don’t be so grouchy.”
Also, the lefthand of the two postcards on the Grumpy ranger’s pin board is shot by Francis Kies, and opposite side Jack is going to be pounding out some hot nonsense on his keys, won’t he?
Also, there’s two sequences with the grumpy ranger, and in both he’s holding a stick-shaped object that are easy to confuse for one another. In this sequence, it’s a cigar, which might speak to Jack’s relative sanity in this sequence. The next time this ranger shows up, opposite side Jack will be having his murder nightmare, and then the ranger will be fiddling with a pencil. I mention this because of how Jack’s cigarette was fuming on the day he had writer’s block, and while his Marlboroughs are seen a few more times, he’s never seen smoking again. So perhaps the ranger’s cigar here symbolizes this dawning of Jack’s inability to get any kind of release. That is, until he’s tempted into oblivion by the ghost booze.
There’s also a subtle duality of impossibilities here. Jack tore out his writing page, and tore it to shreds in front of Wendy’s face. As he watches her leave, suddenly there’s a fresh sheet in the machine. In the wide shot of the ranger’s office, the sheet that’s pink on the pin board is instead white. Just like Danny’s trike turns from white to red, just as Jack’s typewriter went from white to silver.
Click here to continue on to Through the Mirrorform, Part 6: Thursday
MAIN PAGE ⎔ SECTION PAGE ⎔ SITE MAP ⎔ GLOSSARY
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