Monday, March 28, 2016


At this point, you've got to work really hard to dig up something new to me regarding the films of Stanley Kubrick... especially when it comes to The Shining. And yet somehow, this MoviePilot article by Manny Serano manages to do so, more than once. 

Yes, some of the points raised here are familiar, such as the pretty obvious mirror motif that Kubrick uses to powerful effect throughout the film. Some are also specious, as in the elaborate theories woven from the infinitely flimsy fabric of minor discrepancies in set continuity (although from the image below, there's no denying Kubrick was incredibly attentive to "the little things"). But there's more than enough fresh information here to make wading through the shallow, lazy bits worthwhile. 

A particularly entertaining example is the list of things that Kubrick "flipped" from King's novel for his adaptation of it, which itself is just a severely foreshortened version of the huge list of "flips" found at this link

Another great bit concerns the notorious "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy" scene. By now, most of us are familiar with the story. Instead of using simple computer code, or even a photocopier, to lighten the load, Kubrick had some poor schmuck type out dozens of pages covered with that single sentence, over and over again; a task which must have seemed like the dictionary definition of monotony. But no matter how crazy you think this anecdote is, it's actually five time crazier, because rather than just have the phrase translated into subtitles for the international market, like 99.999% of filmmakers would have done, Kubrick made the typist repeat his Herculean feat in French, German, Italian and Spanish!

On a personal level, Serano's elaboration on how Kubrick directed his actors actually cleared up a few things for me, added to my critical lexicon, and opened up potentially exciting new avenues of inquiry.  For instance, both here and at my sister-site, Useless Eater Blog, I'll definitely be looking into how "Semantic Satiation" and "Dichotic Verbal Transformation" might figure into various esoteric art and acting techniques. 

Beyond the novelty of a few fresh observations, Serano's piece has many other attributes that make it worthy of your time. It's well researched, richly illustrated, packed full of videos and external links that are both entertaining and informative, and it's presented in an easily digestible format. That makes it great for sharing with any friends or acquaintances who may first be coming across Kubrick's films and are interested to find out more. 

Bottom line: This is the best general interest Kubrick article that I've come across in months, and that's saying something!

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