Back when The Shining was released, distribution patterns were very different than today. During their first week, films would be found in just a few cinemas, and not the thousands that are now typical.
Stanley Kubrick certainly liked to take advantage of this. Perhaps most famously he axed 19 minutes from 2001: A Space Odyssey shortly after it had premiered; scenes that went undiscovered until last December and, as yet, have not be screened publically again.
He also re-edited The Shining a few days after it first started screening, in this case trimming away around four minutes. I’m not sure how often this first of the film’s three versions has been seen, but it won’t have been a lot.
So you’ll believe me when I tell you that I really wish I could be in New York this October 22nd.
Here’s a little bit of program information from the website of the Dryden Theatre, who will be screening the film on that date:
An unstable writer (Jack Nicholson) takes a winter caretaking job at a snowed-in mountain lodge, quickly succumbs to “cabin fever” — or is it something far worse? — and terrorizes his hapless wife (Shelley Duvall) and creepy, psychic son (Danny Lloyd). A brilliant study of domestic abuse and possession — demonic, creative, and familial — this is Kubrick’s horror masterpiece as you’ve never seen it, complete with a chilling coda cut from the original release.
As I was saying, this coda did actually play for a few days in cinemas (some say three, some four) before Stanley got busy with the scissors.
The scenes in question come directly before the film’s climactic push-in towards the photo.
Firstly, there’s a little moment where some state troopers look for Jack, frozen in the ice, but don’t seem to be seeing him – for whatever reason.
Then a longer scene. It’s set in a hospital, where Ullman, the Overlook’s manager, tries to convince Wendy and Danny that nothing supernatural had happened in his hotel. He explains that Jack’s body was not recovered, and he gives Danny a tennis ball – presumably the same one that he followed into room 237.
A few still images from the shooting of the hospital scene were published in Taschen’s Stanley Kubrick Archives, and proved easy to find online, but there’s no public record – that I can find – of the dialogue in the scene. So, if you’re going along in October, please take a notepad.
UPDATE: The cinema has now been in touch to say that they won’t be screening this version of the film after all. Very disappointing.
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