Undervalued on its 1980 release, since regarded as a masterpiece of screen terror, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining first played U.S. cinemas in a version 24 minutes longer than the subsequent European cut. Every home video release has followed the same pattern, but now the wait is finally over to see what we’ve been missing.
Possibly concerned with upping the pace, Kubrick removed various scenes fleshing out the home life of the Overlook Hotel’s winter caretaker Jack Nicholson, his ill-fated family and the deepening concerns of telepathic chef Scatman Crothers. In so doing however, he sacrificed richness of character and audience empathy as the isolated hotel’s dark past inexorably ensnares the present. In this pristine new digital print, the film’s uniqueness is even more apparent, from the sheer scale of the Elstree studio sets to the haunting precision of its shocking images, the intense modernist soundtrack, and Jack Nicholson’s daredevil performance as a man furiously trapped in his own banality. Heeeere’s Johnneee! (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)