Wood Section Landscape of Mt. Hood

by Franklyn Popham Cattermole?




Seen first in the Suite 3 tour, and many times after.


The likelihood of this exact piece ever showing up anywhere is next to zero (over the past year several searches have turned up very different results depending on what’s at auction at that moment), and I think you’ll agree, the likelihood of my being right is fairly strong, and the implications of my being right are almost overwhelmingly tantalizing. For the sake of time, I’ll assume Cattermole’s our man. In which case, that’s probably not Mt. Hood, Oregon, but a mountain of Colorado.

About Cattermole:

He did a number of these tree section paintings while working as an artist for the US Forest Service out of Idaho Springs, Colorado. He was born about 40 minutes away in Boulder, Colorado, which might explain how these pieces were discovered (no doubt) by Kubrick’s research teams. I suspect they interviewed the Forest Service near Boulder, wanting photos for building the Forest Service set. Cattermole retired in 1968, but I don’t suppose he would’ve been hard to find.


The remainder will study how this piece appears throughout the film, so if you’re just interested in the artworks of the film, and not my interpretations, there’s a good little chunk to skip past here. But in case you decide to do that, I’ll give you the short version of my theory about this painting: it’s the cyclopean eye of the dark heart of the Overlook. More than the Gradys, more than the 237 ghost, more even than Lloyd, the Cattermole painting represents the hotel’s ability to “see” what is happening inside its walls. Everything following is an attempt to expand on this concept.

Suite 3/Forest Service connections:

Hangs across from Paul Peel’s After the Bath, which features twin children, and in the same room as the Grady Twin paintings.

If you haven’t read the Snow White theory yet, you won’t know that I believe the two forest rangers in the film are reflective of Bashful and Grumpy (there’s seven people (dwarves?) who help Danny throughout his story; the rangers are but two). And you won’t know that I see those two qualities reflecting the two stages of Jack’s character in the film: his pre-Overlook self (bashful) and his post-Overlook self (grumpy). So this painting being (possibly) by a real life Forest Service artist ties every scene with it to those three sequences featuring the rangers, who are like Jack’s twin-self-twins. And we shouldn’t forget that pre-Overlook Jack was a grump (like when he dislocated Danny’s shoulder, or even during the final drive to the hotel), and post-Overlook Jack was bashful (like when he wakes up drooling from his murder dream, or when he’s lying about the nature of Danny’s bruises).

In fact he’s right underneath the Cattermole here (technically it’s above Wendy…is she remembering the sound in bashful ranger’s voice?), right as he makes the transition from bashful to ultra-grumpy.

The piece almost does share time with the rangers in the mirrorform. For one brief moment, right at the end of Wendy’s talk with bashful ranger, her backward self has run out from talking to Tony-Danny, and is just hearing the first “REDRUM”. It’s off-screen, of course, but Wendy would be looking right at it, here (with US Forest Service badge emblems touching her throat and forehead, you’ll note). She’s also seconds away from saying, “We could call the Forest Rangers first…and let em know we’re coming…”

This “Franklyn” also evokes the other “Franklin“, which is likely connected directly to the murder of Charles Grady’s wife.

About its mirrorform behaviour:

It’s first appearance gives Wendy a fake black eye just as she’s saying “but…on this particular occasion…my husband just used too much strength, and he…injured…Danny’s arm…” The effect is lost at “used” (when the camera whips back, to follow Jack), but I think you’ll agree that’s pretty disturbing. The “used too much strength” bit connects nicely to the Hercules/Samson/Grady subtext.

Also, could the one black eye effect speak to how “bashful” Jack could not have done this? Could only “grumpy” Jack do this?

There’s a Tom and Jerry mug behind Wendy’s head by the draining board, and Cattermole signed his words with three shapes meant to represent a “cat” an “r” and a “mole”. Jack is obviously the “Tom” to Danny’s “Jerry”, the Wile E. Coyote to Danny’s Roadrunner. So this “cat’s paw” gave her the shiner.

Then it sails ghostily over the Garden Wall/Gould Mountains, with Alder Creek slashing Jack in two.

This also happens to be the 1/4 mark of the mirrorform.

As backward Jack approaches saying “Come out, come out, wherever you are…“, forward Jack is reacting to Danny’s Donner Party question and saying “They got snowbound one winter in the mountains. They had to resort to cannibalism in order to stay alive.”

It starts inside Wendy’s head, right at the end of “What was the Donner Party?” Then it would pass through Danny’s head, but murder Jack’s torso obscures it during the pan of the shot, and it pops out again into Jack’s head on “They had”. This seems to emphasize the piece’s symbolism as a threat against Wendy (when Jack goes Big Bad Wolf, it’s only Wendy he’s talking to).

As for the Come Out, Come Out reference, doesn’t “Cattermole” sound eerily like “Cathy More”? I just got chills. Also, that film stars John Carson, and it’s a split second after the last appearance of the Cattermole that Jack sneers his famous, “Here’s Johnny!”

Special note: the Donner Party launched in 1847, and at 18:47 in the screen time is the exact second Jack begins to explain their story.

The next appearance happens right as we see the Playgirl cover with its parent-child incest headline. But it also has two food-centric items on the cover including a “Supermarket Sex Fantasy”. And I’ve often wondered how much Jack’s cannibalistic expressions at Wendy were inspired by their failed sex life. Like, if he can’t get with her, he’ll eat her! Good enough!

Also, Jack’s dialogue right before it appeared was, “No problem, in fact we had time to grab a bite to eat.” To which Ullman replies (with Cattermole now in the mirrorform), “Good, glad you made it before they shut down the kitchen.” Ullman being a villain, in the Come Out, Come Out sense, pairs well with the Cattermole/cannibal business. Also, the woman who played Cathy More sat right in this seat Jack stood up from. So it’s a bit like he wasn’t officially the hired Cathy More/Cattermole/cannibal until this moment.

The second appearance of the piece in this sequence overlays Jack’s line about Danny having discovered the games room, which is where he’ll first confront the hotel’s eyeballs in the form of Grady ghosts.

In this few seconds, Watson reacts to the Torrance luggage pile with exasperation. If the luggage pile is meant to resemble the items left behind by jews during the Holocaust (as suggested in Room 237), is Watson “seeing” that REDRUM/wife abuse is now inevitable? Perhaps he’s thinking, “Yep. That’s the kind of man this is.”

Ullman’s line after seeing the luggage is “Well, I suggest we go have a quick look at your apartment, and then get started straight away.” The Cattermole moves up from the base of Ullman’s neck, and into the air above his head during this line, as if a halo is lifting into the air. Come Out, Come Out lets us know that Ullman desires Hallorann’s death above Wendy’s, and Hallorann will die in the very spot behind Ullman that the halo is lifting.

Also, they don’t go see the apartment first. They start at the Colorado lounge, and they lose Watson during the Suite 3 tour.

(It might be worth noting, if I’ve discovered the truth behind the shadow monster by now, that it’s missing from this Cattermole moment in the Jack-Ullman talk.)

Cattermole makes one last appearance, just as the team heads off for the tour, for a split second above Wendy’s head as her eyes land on MURDER. Jack has just said, “I better collect my family first,” which has always reminded me of Ullman saying how Charles Grady “stacked” his family’s corpses “neatly in one of the rooms of the west wing”.

Cattermole makes a strange little oval, like a sideways halo, right above Tony-Danny’s head during the entire writing of REDRUM.

When the backwards shot shifts to him approaching the door, Cattermole remains, floating off to the side above a sleeping Wendy, and the lounge fireplace.

It floats out of view right as Wendy asks, “Royalty?” Which happens to coincide with the emergence of the Kaiser mountains/Arnegger piece. Putting aside the obvious connection between the ruling class and the slaughter of indigenous peoples, it’s interesting that this piece, symbolic of mariticide, would float right underneath the spot where Wendy clubs Jack almost to death.

It returns at the very beginning of the second shot of the twins in the games room, remaining on screen as they look at each other and leave the room.

It stays on screen well into the next sequence, as Ullman tells a Watson-less Jack and Wendy that “none of the other apartments are heated during the winter” and bids farewell to the two “girls” who are leaving for the year. Wendy looks positively miserable throughout this sequence, and almost seems to deliberately not look at the two beautiful women going down the stairs. As I’ll discuss later, these two “girls” strongly resemble two famous CoverGirl models who appear in other media seen throughout the hotel. So, as we lose the Grady twins, we gain the CoverGirl twins, and a moment later, we get the Grady Twin Paintings, appearing beside Tony-Danny.

Cattermole leaves the backwards drama as forward Jack says, “Perfect for a child” in response to a quick glance at Danny’s room, with its picture of two bears dancing over the headboard of his bed. Four seconds later…

…the piece makes its first forwards appearance! Floating through Wendy and Jack’s heads as they take in their digs for the first time.

So perhaps it’s fitting that on this side of this flurry of Cattermoles, Tony-Danny’s head is not spared an overlay by Jack’s torso, like what happened in the third mirrorform appearance.

Also, what happens right after “Here’s Johnny!” is Wendy slashes Jack’s hand, and a second later we see Hallorann making his final drive to the rescue. As we see Cattermole for the last time in this section (there’s a 12:42 gap coming), the backward action has transitioned to the shot of Hallorann’s rescue mission that comes before the last one.

So that’s:

  • Hallorann’s first snowcat shots
  • Cattermole’s first appearance
  • Cattermole’s last appearance series
  • Hallorann’s last snowcat shots

As for the 12:42 gap, it’s almost the exact length of the distance between the middle of Redrum Road (which comes 47 seconds into the gap) and the middle of the mirrorform (which comes 10 seconds before the end of the gap). The mirrorform contents of this gap are largely Jack stalking Wendy around the lounge, Wendy locking him up, and Grady releasing him–all very mariticidal events. The forward action is largely the meeting-Hallorann sequence (starting 78 seconds into the gap, and ending 80 seconds before the end), and he’s obviously the one who gets Cattermoled.

The Cattermole that breaks the gap is only seen in a mirror, above sleeping Jack. It floats near the December Afternoon in Danny’s vision (a painting heavily connected to Hallorann’s and Jack’s deaths), and when REDRUM appears, mirror Wendy’s head is obscuring it. In fact, she keeps obscuring it until it floats back offscreen. It’s neat how these moments are punctuated by Jack waking up, and by Jack sticking his tongue out. So perhaps part of Danny’s Grady Twin horror in this moment is the horror that his father, with his own internal twins (Bashful and Grumpy), is going to become just like them.

Then we have another 13:24 gap (42 seconds longer than the last one!). We only get half the image on screen as Wendy plots her escape, but her dialogue there is choice. She’s just finished saying, “If the weather breaks…we might just be able to get down the mountain!” And on “mountain” the image appears. Then, while it’s on screen, she says, “I could call the forest rangers…first”. And it’s only 13 mirrorform seconds between the end of the first forward forest ranger scene, and this Cattermole.

It whips into view again 3:41 later as a kind of “lost halo” for zombie Jack, and fitting rather perfectly between backward Jack and Grady. Backward Grady has just finished saying, “…but you are the caretaker. You’ve always been the caretaker.” And is now saying, “I’m sorry to…differ with you, sir.” So while the men discuss “correcting” Jack’s family, all the paintings symbolically linked to the murdered (or would-be murdered) families of these two men are off-screen, and when they start to discuss Grady’s actual murder of his actual family, these paintings appear. That said, this is Delbert Grady, not the Charles Grady who killed “his wife and two little girls, I think about 8 and 10”, so it makes sense that the paintings in this room would relate to the hotel’s projections of the Grady family, while the ones in the lobby back hall refer to the actual Gradys.

This also happens to be the 3/4 mark of the mirrorform.

When the shot reverses, a split second later the mirrorform reverses, which means that the 180-degree rule is broken at the same moment as the audience gets this “mirror-Jack” with his “mirror-Cattermole”. And “mirror-Jack” has that halo much more above his head than real Jack had just a moment ago. So there’s a “backward” Jack, who has “died”. Is this how we know that Grady is using the lure of everlasting bliss (“You’ve always been the caretaker”) to fully quash Jack’s soul, here? Is the “dead” Jack only one of Jack’s Bashful/Grumpy twin selves? Is Jack now (in both sides of the mirrorform) like a butterfly trying to flap around with only one wing?

The dialogue here is Danny asking if he can go get his fire engine on one side, and Jack assuring an unrecollecting Grady that he was the caretaker here. So the one thing to point there is that the fire engine bears a thematic connection to the show Emergency!, referenced earlier in the film. And that show inspired a spin-off, Sierra, which was about US Forest Service rangers, and even featured crossover appearances by Emergency! characters.

And then, the way the Cattermole makes a ghost out of mirror Jack reflects nicely in Grady’s confusion about being told he chopped his wife and daughters up into little bits before blowing his brains out. When this mirror-Cattermole disappears from sight, the 180-degree rule has been broken again in the mirrorform. Oh, and this happens at 26 seconds before the start of the “middle movie” in the Fibonacci analysis. So there’s a strong connection between this piece and middles, it seems. Actually, in case you haven’t noticed, it appears at the 1/4 mark, a few seconds after the 2/4 mark, and same here at the 3/4 mark. The film opens on a shot of mountains across waters, and the “end” of the mirrorform features Hallorann lying in bed listening to a weather report about the storms in the Rockies. So perhaps this is no accident. Perhaps this “mountain” (whichever one is in this piece) has some significance of its own. And Kubrick used it near the “middles” of the film to heighten the sense of passing through these hinges.

It appears again, for one final scene, 7:09 (639 seconds) later, during the follow-up on room 237’s events. Its first appearance is 7 seconds, ending when forward Wendy notices Danny’s entered the lounge.

It appears again for 18 seconds while backward Jack hectors Wendy about her role in preventing his great ambitions, and summarizes his grim prospects as a potential carwash serviceman/driveway-shoveler in Boulder. During this, the Cattermole floats bleakly between husband and wife, while forward Danny is shrilly commanded to leave the lounge by a Wendy who doesn’t yet grasp the nature of her son’s abuse. The last/first shot in this sequence, while backward Jack is storming away, features a brief moment of him staring death at Danny’s door, while he seems to be staring death at post-237 Danny in the mirrorform.

Also, the first shot below is the exact moment that the forward soundtrack switches between The Awakening/Dream of Jacob (backward Jack storming away) and On the Nature of Sound #2 (backward Jack returning to bitch out Wendy). If Awakening/Dream is meant to symbolize Jack’s dual potential for healing/damnation, and Sound #2 is meant to symbolize his potential for madness, the cut to Sound #2 is apt in this moment, since, as elsewhere discussed, a sound wave has a symmetrical quality to it, like mountains seen across a still lake.

The piece is above their heads, out of sight, for 1:55, while they debate the nature of Danny’s abuse, reappearing as they make their final peaceful journey toward the marriage bed together. Here, Wendy wonders if Danny could’ve made a mistake about the room number, and Jack assures her that the doors of 237 were open and the lights were on. In the mirrorform backward Jack is turning the (open-doored) Gold Room lights on, and as he does so, we get this cool framing where the bar lights cut Jack and Wendy at the head, while the side lights almost perfectly frame their torsos…

…you know, I resisted saying this earlier, because I thought it sounded silly, but now it seems to make a little more sense. If the Cattermole represents the fake wife that fake Delbert Grady never really murdered, then is it possible that, since we never see hide or hair of this fake wife, that this painting, by symbolizing her…is therefore symbolizing the dark force that animates the hotel? The thing that gives birth to Lloyd and Delbert and the twins and the 237 ghost, and all its many, many other faces? Like, if you’ve read any of the other long analyses of the film before this, you’ve heard me waffle on whether Lloyd might be the true reflection of the hotel’s dark heart, or Grady, or the twins, or what. But maybe it all comes down to this cyclopean (imaginarily self-murdered) landscape. Like, it floats above the third bar lights, right? And this is the mirror that births Lloyd. In fact…

…Lloyd’s standing there at the start of his final scene. And Grady emerges from there to spill the advocaat on Jack. And if you look back at the last image, above, you’ll note that as the Cattermole leaves the frame, it’s perfectly boxed in by this last bar arc. You could argue that this makes Lloyd the face of the hotel’s dark heart, but I don’t think it has to be that simple. I think Lloyd is as much a projection of that animating force as any of the ghosts, and maybe his otherwise baselessness makes him a better candidate than some, but I think that the Cattermole is therefore telling us that this is what you become when you become a cannibal/Cathy More/Cattermole. You become one with the hotel’s identityless (decapitated?) evil.

And just for the record, maybe this finally explains the oval mirror that hangs almost directly across from the oval landscape. If that is the hotel’s eye, then this mirror would suggest that the hotel “sees” only itself (or can’t see itself, cuz there’s a wall in the way). Doesn’t that pair gorgeously with Jack’s first sight of himself/Lloyd here?

Anyway, there’s one more short moment involving the piece, starting 43 seconds later, as backward Wendy’s running to let Jack in, and it starts with this image of Jack’s hands cupping Wendy’s face (as if shielding her from his urge to kill her) and ends with Jack getting a dose of Cattermole eye (note how the light from the lamp makes a very similar shape around his other eye). A split second after it leaves the film for good, Lloyd appears for the first time to Jack, 6:06 from the middle of the film, the end of the mirrorform.

This means that there’s only two scenes of the Cattermole and ghosts appearing on screen at the same time. The Grady twins for 11 seconds in the games room, and a possum-playing Grady for 32 seconds. It’s possible this is closer to 42 seconds, which would go nice with that number’s connection to impossibility. In any event, those are brief moments indeed, and both while the ghost(s) on screen are seeming relatively benign. Does that suggest the hotel sees nothing wrong with its behaviour?

Next art reference: Mysteries of Suite 3