Stanley Kubrick at LACMA

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“What I like about not writing original material – which I’m not even certain I could do – is that you have this tremendous advantage of reading something for the first time. You never have this experience again with the story. You have a reaction to it: it’s a kind of falling-in-love reaction.”
– Stanley Kubrick

The Shining typewriter

While researching what to do in Los Angeles, I knew that one thing I couldn’t miss during my brief stay was the Stanley Kubrick exhibition at the LACMA. And I admit that the main reason I wanted to see it was because of The Shining.
Say what you will about Kubrick’s film version, but I think Stephen King’s novel is terror at its best. I still consider it to be one of my favourite books, and since I first read it as a pre-teen (too young?), I have gone on to read it several more times.

The room devoted to the film was by far my favourite part of the Kubrick exhibition (although the entire thing was pretty spectacular, and I’d highly recommend seeing it if you’re in LA before it closes on June 30, 2013). Aside from Jack Torrance’s typewriter (as seen above) and the creepy costumes and props from the film, visitors can also see Kubrick’s personal copy of Stephen King’s classic book all marked up with his thoughts on what would work for the movie and what should be cut.

Kubrick The Shining

I’ve always heard that Stephen King wasn’t thrilled with the film adaptation. Not surprising since it was so incredibly different from the book, from minor details to the ending in its entirety. King has said this regarding the movie version:

“I’d admired Kubrick for a long time and had great expectations for the project, but I was deeply disappointed in the end result. … Kubrick just couldn’t grasp the sheer inhuman evil of The Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: because he couldn’t believe, he couldn’t make the film believable to others.” (source: Mental Floss) 

Here are a few more interesting facts about the movie version of The Shining:

  • Kubrick recorded the sound of a typist actually typing the words “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” to ensure authenticity for the scenes when we can hear but not see what Jack is typing.
  • While filming, Kubrick would call Stephen King at 3:00 a.m. and ask him questions like “Do you believe in God?”
  • Kubrick rejected Stephen King’s screenplay, which was a much more literal adaptation of the novel.

(source: IMDb trivia)

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