View Full Version : Stanley VS. Stephen
September 13th, 2012, 12:28 AM
Okay guys, I guess this is kind of an comparison/critic's view of both versions of this movie. I have seen both and was shocked when I found out that Stanley Kubrick's version was released in theaters and IMMENSLY praised, even though it follows the book EXTREMELY loosely; (And who couldn't help but laugh when Danny was talking to his finger and even giving it a voice? :biggrin2:) Now, I am not saying that this wasn't a good horror movie. It definitley was well done. Seeing Jack's character slowly start turning into something completley different than that of which his family knows him for, The subliminal messages of the two little girls slaughtered and an ocean of blood flooding the halls, and even a good, twisted ending. It was a good movie, but like Halloween 3: season of the witch, This movie should not have been called "The Shining." Later on in the years I had stumbled across what seems to be an unappreciated, and candy coated gem of a film with an even sweeter filling known as Mr. King's made for t.v. movie bearing the same title as Stanley Kubrick's. What's the difference? This version was not only faithful to the novel, but also and sometimes a little too terrifying of a movie. WHO COULD FORGET THE WOMAN IN THE TUB?! Oh! How magnificently and more thought ought this movie was. The ghosts, The insanity of Jack, Heck, even the animal shaped shrubberies were out for blood! And they weren't illustrated as silly either. They were an real and honest to god threat to the young family. While they can usually be found around the same price and they are both great movies, I must say that Stephen wins this round in cinema. Even though Stanley Kubrick directs some of the greatest science fiction movies, (most notably 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Clockwork Orange) King is the king of This hotel's hidden hauntings and horrors.
September 13th, 2012, 08:16 AM
Glad you mentioned that "talking to the finger thing" that really did bug me. I kept saying He's Not Like That!" err
September 13th, 2012, 05:37 PM
....everyone knows my feelings on Kubrick's "adaptation"...I will always prefer the written version...
September 13th, 2012, 07:03 PM
EXACTLY! lol! I mean Kubrick did have a good point of view but come on... I think Stephen is better with "fingers" (cough cough nightmares and dreamscapes) then Stanley. XD
September 14th, 2012, 12:29 PM
I think I stand alone on the Kubrick version of The Shining. Yes, there are differences, yes there are things left or added that purely shouldn't be there, but Kubrick IMO caught the horror of the place and situation SO well. To me, the atmosphere more than made up for differences from book to film. I prefer the book to any filmed version I've seen.
September 14th, 2012, 02:13 PM
I'm a big Kubrick fan and I love this movie on its own merits. Strictly comparing it to the book, though, the movie does not hold up. (I consider the book to be one of SK's best.) Your "Halloween: Season of the Witch" analogy is dead-on, Kubrick really just used a skeleton of SK's plot and made his own movie out of it.
Don't get me started on the TV movie...that kid playing Danny drove me bananas for some reason.
September 14th, 2012, 02:15 PM
I think I stand alone on the Kubrick version of The Shining. Yes, there are differences, yes there are things left or added that purely shouldn't be there, but Kubrick IMO caught the horror of the place and situation SO well.
Nope, yer not alone. I love Kubrick's version. It's far superior to a few other King adaptations so I can forgive the differences made during the transition from book to big screen. I'm also a big fan of the tv mini~series, though. I appreciate how that version stuck closer to the book, and felt Jack's descent into madness was better represented.
Nicholson plays Jack as a crazy~eyed madman pretty much from the start. He always seemed irritated by Wendy and Danny and it was implied he could hurt them without much external influence. Steven Weber's portrayal depicted a man that loved his family and truly didn't want to hurt them. His inner turmoil at being possessed by the hotel was well acted, making his slow descent into madness seem believable.
Two very different portrayals of the same character, but both actors achieved what was expected from the role for each adaptation.
September 17th, 2012, 01:31 PM
I love the Kubrick version as far as stand alone movie, but the made for TV version was not only closer to the original, but a lot of it was filmed in the Stanley Hotel where King had the idea and started writing the book. Side note: if you haven't been to the hotel I highly recommend going. Truly awesome and a lot of great stuff about the man himself.
The main reason I like the Steven Weber lead TV movie more is that the character development is much closer to Jack Torrence's journey in the book. In Kubrick's version it almost feels like Jack is crazy from the get go and only needs to be nudged over the edge. The journey Weber takes is a twisted tale that actually has you feeling sorry for him along the way.
Either way, both great films in their own right.
October 23rd, 2012, 08:37 PM
read the book first...loved it, still do...
agree with ally and doowopgirl...the kubrick vers. is an astonishingly great film..but i digress from them and others in that i think is a fair and good adaption of the novel...
really...comparing the womne in the tubs to see which is better ??
nah...if you read the book...understood the book...you knew, from page one, jack had the itch...he had that monkey on his back from the get-go...
sure, he was trying to win that battle...and the tv movie does depict that a wee bit better, but that is more because they could take thier time in that..whereas a cinema movie cannot: in a two hour movie compared to a 4-5 hour movie, one must take some short cuts to get to the heart of the tale...and kubrick does that brillianty and logically
imho, all three are very good, in thier own rights...
October 25th, 2012, 02:42 AM
Kubrick's movie is a lot better, in my own opinion. Kubrick's movie is what most people think of when they think of The Shining and that can't be changed. I've seen the miniseries and want to like it, try to like it, etc, but Kubrick's version is just a lot better film, even if the miniseries is closer to the novel.
October 26th, 2012, 01:33 AM
well, you've got one of the best directors ever making what many film fans consider to be one of the best fright films of all times...
....and then you've got a TV movie director making a...network tv movie...
but, to each his own...takes all kindsa critters to make farmer vincent fritters !
November 15th, 2012, 09:12 PM
I think this discussion has been discussed before, more than once. In Danse Macabre Stephen clearly explains the then clashing of artistic viewpoints he had with Stanley Kubrick. Imagine the difficulties he had watching Stanley make so many changes he did not understand, and Kubrick did not want to go into long artistic explanations with a budget and 'time is money' business executives on his back. Remember, Stephen was still fairly new in the business and he was inexperienced with the artistic relatives that are born from your 'baby' artwork. In Danse Macabre Stephen includes Shining the film on his fav list, and with an asterisk. There is no conflict anymore and I find the repeating of a decades old issue that is not an issue anymore boring, in a way. No disrespect, just my opinion.
November 21st, 2012, 01:19 PM
i would agree, except king himself kinda raised the spectre of conflict when doing the tv remake: he cast some doubt upon the kubrick version as a adaption of his story...
and he was not fully in love with it, if i remember, when he talked about it in DM...
anybody just now getting around to reading or watching either version might not be aware that there was/is some minor controversy over any of it
it's always possible that, through the mists of time, some new bits of the story might've come out...and, by comparing notes, we can more fully illuminate ourselves as to if there really is a serious note of contention about the two versions
November 21st, 2012, 02:15 PM
The Shining film is a stone cold classic. It doesn't matter that it doesn't stick that strictly to the source. The TV version was dire.
Same goes for The Running Man - great film. Nothing like the book but does that matter? It's a different experience, a different medium - what works in a book doesn't always work on screen.
A friend of mine is trying to read the Game of Thrones books - he says he's struggling because the TV series is so similar to the books that he feels like he's not getting much new out of the books.
August 4th, 2013, 02:52 AM
Read the book first - loved it
Saw the movie after - loved it
Both are great - so spank me! :D
September 29th, 2013, 08:16 PM
First of all, the book is the book, and the film is the film. I have been researching The Shining for a chapter in a book, mainly in tandem with The Exorcist. Both versions in both cases are classics in their own mediums, but just a few observations...
King does what he does best in The Shining...the portrayal of the Unheimlich (the Uncanny) and the Abject. King has so many great motifs, archetypes, and telescopic metaphors in the book that they simply can't be realistically covered by a director like Kubrick. Kubrick also has a knack for portraying the isolated Abject (Dave in outer space in 2001: A Space Odyssey) as the condition of man, and let's face it: Jack and Danny Torrence are both isolated in their heads--but Danny wins because he is an innocent, and Jack is an adult who knows what he's doing is wrong--in so many ways. Kubrick excels when he gives us all of those odd camera angles, pulls out those Doppelganger twin girls, then shows their guts splattered all over the hallways of the Overlook. King also has the advantage of still being alive and able to improve on his product, while Kubrick isn't and can't--but even if he was, he was much too proud and vain of a man to allow (gasp) revisions, especially in light of the original story. If I were to assign some critical terminology and schools of criticism to King's work, I'd say his technique is a postmodern Gothic, a classic haunted house novel in which the house is alive. Some other critic was on another thread in this forum peddling his new book in which he basically deconstructs the idea of spirits inhabiting the Overlook, claiming that Jack is the main character of the story and all of the events turn on his perceptions--and if any of you have read the book at all, as well as another of King's influences, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (like King's influence of the Stanley Hotel, Hill House is based on a real house, the Remington House), you'd have to laugh at such a claim. The Shining is not merely a figment of Jack's alcoholism--the Overlook is using Jack to get at Danny, and his abilities are simply ignored too often by Kubrick. The topiary animals (which are dynamic, can move and bite) get turned into a topiary maze (which J.K. Rowling uses to better effect in Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire)--and the spiritual implications of these nonhuman things pursuing Danny gets cut in favor of a truly STATIC piece of scenery that is merely confusing and actually provides the frozen solution to Jack becoming a Gerald Crich/Women in Love fixe idee. Danny should have been the star in both, so he gets short-changed in the film and it becomes a typical scenery chewing for the over-powering (although still terrific and terrifying) portrayal by Jack Nicholson--who is wayyyy too much man for a milque-toast mousy type like Shelly Duvall--very poor casting choices, as I simply cannot see one married to the other at all. Poor little Danny Lloyd didn't have a chance against Nicholson's manic Jack, and too many of the essential story elements get lost in Kubrick's maze of cinematography. Nicholson was also too old to play the already washed up Jack--Jack is supposed to be young enough to have a small son, but old enough that his career is ruined by his assault on his student, which is mirrored in Danny's dislocated shoulder--and you don't know any of this part of the story, according to the film! That's why King's real fans can't stand to see such an ignorant portrayal of such a great story--it's a totally different story before we even get taken to the Overlook. Listen, I don't mean to upset anybody who loves the film; but you need to keep a few things in mind: King has made his position very clear on this subject, during many different interviews, and he's tried to be honest without being nasty, but people always take criticism personally, rather than understanding that he is the original author and these characters are his creation, not Kubrick's; directors do have a responsibility to do more than a loose interpretation of the original, which to real critics seems asinine and egotistical, not smart--but it would take somebody with more patience and time than Kubrick was willing to give the project, and certainly somebody with more brains than the gnat-brained Ben Affleck when he tried to take on The Stand--essentially, we need a Peter Jackson, who will give attention to details that the fans of the novel would demand (because Tolkien, like King, has his own canon cult), while tailoring out only those things which might be impossible or inexplicable to movie viewers who hadn't read the book. The problem comes whenever you get people who have not read the book and then try to analyze the film without knowing the text yet--and the biggest issue I've seen with the film itself is the casting. If I were to use another critical assessment of the book, I'd say that Dr. Sleep vaults us into the Hyperreal (Umberto Eco's term), alhtough I've not finished it yet--King's naturalism is so crude at times that it goes beyond the merely gross to downright grotesque, but I guess you could say that it part of its charm...haha. It gets too real to be real, in other words, kind of like edited reality tv shows or the Statue of Liberty in Vegas--Henry James it's not, not as elegant as Lovecraft, but just as psychologically compelling in his characterization as Poe. Where King kicks Kubrick's keister (how's that for alliteration, poesy fans?) is in going beyond the merely creepy to all-over goose-pimply fright upon fright upon fright. Kubrick doesn't cut it in the exposition department--sorry, he just doesn't take the time, and that's shame, because it had the potential for being Academy Award winning stuff. Tch, opportunity lost. Hands down, King is the knockout punch.
I got my copy of Dr. Sleep and am in the process of reading it, although I am considerably slowed down by midterm papers, which I am in the process of grading this week, as well as a conference at Notre Dame I am attending (doing a paper on Bioshock).
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