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I’m not quite sure what it would mean, but the lobby entrance doors are only seen open twice in the film, once swung one one way (around 3 minutes in), and once swung the other (between 20 and 21 minutes in). The first one does a good job of obscuring the image of the shadow monster painting being reflected in the large mirror, while the other makes it easier to see the shadow monster. I don’t know if this suggests one Jack is more evidently monstrous than the other (frankly, I don’t know that it is a monster in the painting), but there is only one more appearance of this piece, about 14 minutes later (34:30), while Wendy brings breakfast. So the appearances are fairly evenly spaced across almost a quarter of the film, or half the mirrorform film. In that analysis, I theorize that the second half of the mirrorform film is the “fantasy” half, while the first half is the “reality” half. So these would all appear in the “reality” half, which might indicate that Jack’s “monster” status is either being established, or called into question. I’m not exactly sure.
Between the two shots of Carson City, playing behind Wendy, it goes from colour to black and white. This is interesting, because that was Warner Bros.’ first colour film. The mirrorform moment is Jack stalking to the 2nd entrance to see if he can see Danny to kill him, and then turning on all the lights outside, but this happens just after the sequence with the two TVs, not right during.
This move serves a similar function as many of the subtle changes throughout, which is to undermine our trust that shots should always feel continuous. But because of the film’s stature as the first of its kind, the reversion to black and white creates the sense that by getting the job, the Torrances are going back in time, back from one era to the last.
And while I’m on this thought, I just have to say how impossible it is for me now to regard The Shining as anything other than a film of immaculate imperfection. By which I simply mean that it’s hard to imagine it without all these sneaky tweaks to continuity. They’re not mistakes, in the sense that they all seem to add something to our understanding. So a temptation grows in our minds to regard every imperfection as a secret message, and perhaps that’s the case, but what are the odds that some of these are (intentional and otherwise) red herrings, that weren’t meant to add to our understanding at all? My feeling is that Kubrick was too much of a poet to allow for anything so sloppy, and too much of a general too not push his team for the best…which in this case meant a seeming sloppiness.
There’s a lamp on the make-up table that is there during the tour and when Jack first awakens in the hotel, which disappears during the zombie Jack confrontation, and which becomes that little bronze-shade lamp in every other Suite 3 scene. In fact, a bunch of lamps disappear during the scene between Jack and Danny, but while the others come back as they were, this one becomes a different lamp.
As you can see, I looked into the mirror moment for the disappearing lamp, and it’s simply Grady saying he has “no recollection of that at all”. I wonder if the significance of disappearing lamps has to do with Grady thought-blocking Jack, shining Jack with this false reality. But why the other one transforms might have something to do with my Olympics analysis: the three lamps visible when Wendy sees MURDER in the mirror are bronze, silver and gold.
Someone went through the trouble of shimmying the pool table northeast five feet…
…where it stayed.
I’ve checked all the mirrorform moments for pool appearances and I can’t see a consistent theme. So this was probably just one of the many small changes that separates the pre-and-post A MONTH LATER lounge.
This is obviously just a problem with the filter that was used to make the ball that rolls up to Danny pink, but the result (in the version with the pink ball), is that the first time Danny approaches 237, the lamp inside is pink, and the second time, in his shine to Hallorann, it’s yellow. Both mirrorform versions involve Jack at the bar: pink=ghostball, yellow=Jack saying “Which room was it?”.
At first it seems like the little white pitcher on the table behind Wendy is missing later, but as she runs in to check on Danny, you can see it blurrily, set back half a foot on the table. The toilet (with its lid up) is the only other thing visible in both shots. I’m not sure that this is significant.
The lobby’s east exit lattice has curtains on the walk to the ghost ball, and then none on the stalk to kill Hallorann. Seems like an odd thing for anyone to stop and do between these moments. Also, the mirror moments are Wendy being consoled by the doctor about Danny’s health (no curtain), and Jack being consoled by Wendy about his nightmare (curtain). The paintings that are revealed by the absent curtain are more of the Oxborough portraits of Nakoda/Stoney/Bearspaw children. Nakoda means “Friend” or “ally”, so that could be a nod to the doctor’s role as an aide in Danny’s life. And the fact that Jack’s nightmare is guarded against this art could speak to the fact that he was about to lose his allies, after Danny enters with his bruises.
There is what appears to be a beer can on the table by Hallorann’s plants, which switches sides of the table, or becomes a different can completely. I’m not exactly sure. It could be a trick of the light making the second one look a different colour.
In any case, it goes from gold to silver to gold again. A reference to the gold and silver bowls in the kitchen?
The gold cans are paired with Hallorann’s inability to get through to the hotel and him getting the news that the rangers couldn’t get through. So, in keeping with my analysis of The Golden Bowl, this could allude to the “All is vanity” concept. While the silver can pairs with Hallorann getting through and hearing the ranger say he might be able to get through. So perhaps silver things are better than gold in The Shining.
And for anyone wondering why this isn’t in a different section, it’s because I don’t know if we can be sure that this isn’t a simple matter of the can changing spots, which isn’t absurd as much as a possible oversight in the editing process (which I always doubt).
Jack’s final form is much like the look of Delbert and Charles Grady. In fact, Jack holds his secret note in the same hand as these men carry their alcohol.
This is obviously an issue of changing camera filters, or colour-correcting the film negatives, but the lamps change colours between these two scenes (the only two containing a shot of the silvery lamp). And it struck me as significant because in the MURDER moment, the difference between these three lampshades is quite striking. There’s a running theme in the film about the Olympics and about the difference between silver and gold, so this bronze-gold-silver line-up, which perfectly matches the way Olympians stand for their medals (see below), would seem to suggest that there’s a connection between the Olympics and murder. My theory is that this has to do with how the games were (mythologically) started by Hercules, and in my Pillars of Hercules theory, Herc’s relationship to murder takes on great significance.
Note how in the second image, all three lamps are closely linked at a butterfly thing. The bronze lamp is close to some little butterfly medical/make-up kit (medicine?), the silver is next to the unidentified painting (art?), and the gold one is near the mobile (natural science?). I also wonder if Wendy’s being the only one seen in conjunction with the silver lamp means that she wins the silver medal of the movie, while Danny’s REDRUM, near the gold lamp, means he’s the ultimate winner of these “games”. Perhaps when I identify the art hanging over the bronze lamp I’ll get a sense of who that goes to, but now I’m thinking it’ll be Hallorann. That’ll probably gel with it being separated from the silver and gold lamps.
Note too how Wendy’s jewelry box seems to have a tiny Olympic medal dangling from it, under the M in Murder.
Also, Philip Ardery’s Bomber Pilot is positioned along with the gold lamp, which I’m thinking means Kubrick really liked this book. That said, it did win the Best Aeronautical Book Award from the Reserve Officers Association of the United States, so it could just be that. And the tank on top of the book will appear beneath Kubrick’s favourite film, Summer of ’42, during that scene. That’s probably no coincidence.
And I would be remiss not to point out that the concept of Olympics podiums originated in my hometown in 1930, around the same time as the music in the scene before the Wendy plotting scene originated. The first man to ever stand atop such a podium was named Jack Shea. Probably a coincidence, but still.
The lighting in the scene where Wendy is talking to REDRUM Tony/Danny makes it look like she’s got white hair. A symbol of her aging and wizening?
This is more an observation about symbolism than transformation, but you get the point.
The Willapoint Clams box gains some kind of word on its side since the time it was next to Danny’s head. Now, the earlier shot of Wendy dragging Jack in shows that the box has only turned 90 degrees, so this word was probably there, before, but turned away from the camera. And this version only seems to say “CANS” on it, though I don’t know why you’d have to label a box that way. So, probably not a real absurdity, beyond the general absurdity of the pantry’s transformative power. I guess I just wanted to point this out in case anyone else noticed it. I don’t think it’s specifically important.
You kind of have to watch the whole thing in action to get the full effect of this point, but the way Shelley acts the axe-door sequence into the wall being chopped upon gives a sense of strange gravity, like when Jack’s acting into the storeroom door, and it looks like he’s in an underworld. Wendy’s wall hug can make the door wall take on the effect of a floor. In both instances, there’s something demonic going on.
My gut says this was a mistake/matter of convenience, but between Hallorann arriving and Jack getting to the 2nd entrance, the right door here is swung wide open. I almost wouldn’yt have mentioned it, except the two scenes of someone struggling with the left door are so effortful. So, I don’t know, maybe the right door being open speaks to Danny’s shine powers being on high alert. Like, he blew the other door open in his mad dash. But I think it was just to set up this shot.
The mirror moments for these two shots are Wendy being relieved the doctor thinks there’s nothing wrong with Danny, and Danny’s Escape Key scrolling past while he talks to Tony. If we want to include the sequence of Wendy pushing out this door, the mirror moment for that is Hallorann’s offer of “eye scream”. And the doors do have a certain eye-shape to them, so…I don’t know. Maybe the open doors are a foreshadow of Danny’s dawning ability to solve the maze, to work the “eye scream” into his survival.
I will say, this is reminiscent of the earlier point about how the lobby doors seem to swing both ways.
Wendy’s first and third trial feature a blue area where she holds the knife in her left hand, and the second and fourth trial feature a red area where she holds the knife in her right hand. I haven’t done an exhaustive study of Wendy’s left-rights in the film, but I think the four trials (which I study in greater detail in my four horsemen of the apocalypse section) are Wendy’s simplified rendition of Danny’s lessons/escapes. She’s trying to find her own kind of balance. When she sees Danny run out of the labyrinth at the end, without a second thought she throws the knife into the snow and runs to him. Somehow she knows she won’t need it anymore. Somehow she knows the day is saved.
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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