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June 13, 2020

50 Rare and Candid Behind the Scenes Photographs During the Making of ‘The Shining’

The Shining is probably the most classic psychological horror movie and one of Stanley Kubrick’s masterpieces that influenced cinematic subjects and practices and definitely changed everybody’s nights. Even after 40 years since its release, The Shining continues to be one of the most iconic products of pop culture, a movie that made Jack Nicholson, apart from the best, the scariest actor in Hollywood.

The film, based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining and starring the likes of Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers and Danny Lloyd, tells the tale of Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic who takes the job as an off-season caretaker of the secluded ‘Overlook Hotel’ in Colorado.

Incredibly, the production of the film was almost exclusively filmed at EMI Elstree Studios with expertly crafted sets which were based on real locations. However, upon release, the film failed to impress. The reviews were mixed and Warner Bros. crawled to a small profit. In fact, in an interview with Playboy in 1983, Stephen King himself felt let down by the result: “I’d admired Kubrick for a long time and had great expectations for the project, but I was deeply disappointed in the end result. Parts of the film are chilling, charged with a relentlessly claustrophobic terror, but others fell flat.”

However, in the years that followed, a severe change in perception would develop. The reappraisal of the film would see critics who had initially struggled with The Shining, change their opinions and grown on board with the hypnotic quality of Kubrick’s work.

During these recent past years, the Internet graced us with its presence, many photos of the backstage and behind the scenes fun moments, have surfaced. The dark and disturbing essence of the movie has here disappeared, as we watch the actors and the director of the film, read the newspaper or pose for artistic selfies.

Actors Shelley Duvall and Jack Nicholson celebrate with crew members on the set of The Shining.

This Polaroid image was photographed during an early lighting test on the set of Hallorann’s Florida bedroom. Kubrick can be seen lying on the bed, studying another Polaroid. Standing next to the bed is Camera Assistant Douglas Milsome.

On the set of The Shining, with Stanley Kubrick, Jack Nicholson, Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown, Kubrick’s daughter, Vivian, Continuity Supervisor June Randall, and others.

Stanley Kubrick directs Jack Nicholson on the Gold Room Bar set of The Shining.

On the set of The Shining with director Stanley Kubrick and actress Shelley Duvall. Actor Danny Lloyd sits in the lap of his on-set coach and longtime Kubrick assistant Leon Vitali. To the left, Kubrick’s daughter Vivian holds the camera she used to film the Making of The Shining documentary. Behind them, Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown stands with camera operator Kelvin Pike and another unidentified crew member.

Director Stanley Kubrick and Director of Photography John Alcott film a deleted scene from The Shining, where Jack discovers a scrapbook filled with mementos from the Overlook Hotel’s sordid past.

Director Stanley Kubrick and actor Jack Nicholson on the Lobby set of The Shining.

Steadicam Operator Garrett Brown, Stanley Kubrick and Camera Assistant Douglas Milsome on the Lobby set of The Shining.

Stanley Kubrick and actor Jack Nicholson on the Pantry set of The Shining.

Actor Jack Nicholson and Continuity Supervisor June Randall on the Colorado Lounge set of The Shining.

Actor Jack Nicholson on the Colorado Lounge set of The Shining. Standing near the camera is Stanley Kubrick’s assistant Leon Vitali. In the foreground, the video assist system can be seen. The Shining was one of the first productions to make use of on-set video playback for immediate review of what was being shot.

Lighting test Polaroid from the production of The Shining. These black and white Polaroids were shot to test lighting setups and aperture settings prior to filming. In this photo, Lighting Assistant Beth Butler stands in for Shelley Duvall, for the scene where Wendy brings Jack breakfast in bed.

Vivian Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick’s seventeen-year-old daughter, standing on the Caretaker’s Apartment set of The Shining. Vivian filmed nearly sixty hours of behind-the-scenes footage during the production, some of which ended up being used in her documentary on the making of the film.

Steadicam inventor/operator Garrett Brown on the night interior Hedge Maze set of The Shining at EMI Elstree Studios.

Actor Joe Turkel and director Stanley Kubrick on the Gold Room set of The Shining.

This behind-the-scenes photo from The Shining’s 2nd Unit shows camera operator Jeff Blyth, Jeff’s wife, and their camera assistant. The three doubled for the Torrance family in the many unused shots of the car, and are wearing costumes from the film. Note their “Tony” finger poses.

Actor Jack Nicholson and Director Stanley Kubrick review material on a video monitor on the Lobby set of The Shining. Actor Scatman Crothers (or his stand-in) stands in the background.

Director Stanley Kubrick, Actor Jack Nicholson, and Camera Operator Kelvin Pike on the set of The Shining.

Steadicam operator and inventor Garrett Brown films actors Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd climbing into the Sno-Cat at the end of The Shining.

Film Editor Ray Lovejoy, left, sits next to Stanley Kubrick’s longtime personal assistant Emilio D'Alessandro on the The Shining’s Colorado Lounge set. On the table in front of them sits the Overlook Hotel scrapbook, a prop which, although it figures heavily in the novel, does not appear much in the film. A number of scenes were shot with the scrapbook, including Jack finding it mysteriously sitting upon his writing table, and a later scene where he shows it to Wendy, but all of these scenes were deleted from the finished film.

Stanley Kubrick’s longtime personal assistant Emilio D'Alessandro poses behind a model of the The Shining’s massive Colorado Lounge set. These models were used to work out layout and scale issues, as well as to conduct early lighting tests before the actual sets were built.

Stanley Kubrick on the daytime exterior set of The Shining’s Hedge Maze at MGM Elstree Studios, with actor Danny Lloyd and Steadicam operator Garrett Brown.

Jack Nicholson with Stanley Kubrick’s daughter, Vivian, who not only directed a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Shining, but also served as an extra in the 1920’s sequence in the Gold Room.

Stanley Kubrick’s daughter, Vivian, smiles as she sits with other extras on the Gold Room set of The Shining.

Preparing to film actors Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd on the daytime exterior Hedge Maze set of The Shining at MGM-British Studios. Director Stanley Kubrick watches as a slate is held in front of Steadicam operator Garrett Brown.

Stanley Kubrick films a shot on the Gold Room Bar set of The Shining as his daughter, Vivian, shoots her documentary on the making of the film.

Stanley Kubrick sits on the stairs of The Shining’s massive Colorado Lounge set with Assistant Director Brian Cook, Focus Puller Douglas Milsome, and Camera Operator Kelvin Pike. A diagonal dolly track behind them is rigged to roll the camera up the stairs, presumably to shoot the scene where Jack backs Wendy up the staircase as she swings at him with the bat. Kubrick shot coverage from this setup, but the only bit of film shot from this vantage point that remains in the finished movie is a brief shot where Wendy strikes Jack with the baseball bat. The rest of the footage used in the finished sequence was shot from the Steadicam.

On January 30, 1979, late in the production of The Shining, as the crew filmed on the Lobby set, a small fire broke out on an adjacent sound stage. The fire quickly grew into an eleven-alarm inferno, and by morning, the sound stages containing some of The Shining’s most massive sets: The Colorado Lounge, the Lobby, and the hotel’s iconic hallways, were all but destroyed. The next morning Stanley Kubrick surveyed the damage, and photographer Murray Close captured this image of Kubrick laughing in the face of disaster – surrounded by twisted girders and the smoldering wreckage of his sets.

Actress Shelley Duvall poses with crew members Tim Murphy, a rigger and Chris Flanagan, a stagehand, on the set of The Shining.

Assistant Director Brian Cook, Continuity Supervisor June Randall, and actor Jack Nicholson pose on the set of The Shining, in this never-before-published photo. Kubrick assistant Leon Vitali peeks from the background.

Stanley Kubrick in conversation with actor Philip Stone, who portrays Charles Grady in The Shining. They may be filming the scene in which Jack talks to Grady while locked in the pantry, although Grady does not appear on-camera in that scene - only his voice is heard through the closed door.

Stanley Kubrick lines up a shot of actor Joe Turkel on the Gold Room Bar set of The Shining.

Actresses Lisa and Louise Burns, who played the Grady Twins in The Shining, on the backlot at Elstree Studios.

Behind-the-scenes photo on the set of The Shining. Lisa and Louise Burns, who portrayed the Grady Twins, prepare for a shot on the Games Room set. Kelvin Pike operates the camera and Camera Assistant Peter Robinson holds the slate.

Actors Jack Nicholson and Philip Stone relax on the Kitchen set of The Shining.

Stanley Kubrick lines up a shot of actress Shelley Duvall on the set of The Shining. Duvall appears to be wearing the coat of Scatman Crothers’ character, Dick Hallorann.

Stanley Kubrick lines up a shot of the Hedge Maze model on the Lobby set of The Shining. Focus Puller Douglas Milsome stands in for Jack Nicholson.

Stanley Kubrick on the Gold Room Bar set of The Shining, with actors Joe Turkel and Jack Nicholson.

Filming Dick Hallorann’s death scene on the Lobby set of The Shining. Stanley Kubrick composes the insert shot of the axe striking Hallorann’s chest. A special effects artist kneeling to the right of Jack Nicholson holds a bag of fake stage blood, with tubing to deliver the blood running up the handle of the axe.

Stanley Kubrick on the set of The Shining with nephew Manuel Harlan and daughter Vivian.

Continuity Polaroid of actress Shelley Duvall on the Caretaker’s Apartment Bathroom set of The Shining.

Stanley Kubrick working with Steadicam operator Garrett Brown on The Shining’s daytime Hedge Maze set at MGM-British Studios.

Director Stanley Kubrick poses with actress Shelley Duvall on the set of The Shining. They stand on the Lobby set, which is dressed for Wendy’s discovery of the cobwebs and skeletons.

Stanley Kubrick with Director of Photography John Alcott on the set of The Shining. Alcott recalled that with the exception of exterior snow effects scenes, there were never more than ten or so crew members on the set at any one time. Kubrick liked to keep a lean crew to save money, insuring that he could work at his own pace without fear of running over budget.

Stanley Kubrick sets up an over-the-shoulder shot with Jack Nicholson on The Shining’s Gold Room set.


Filming the scene where Jack menacingly backs Wendy up the stairs on the Colorado Lounge set of The Shining. A diagonal dolly track behind them is rigged to roll multiple cameras up the stairs. Kubrick likely shot coverage from this setup, but the only bit of film shot from this vantage point that remains in the finished film is a brief shot where Wendy strikes Jack with the baseball bat. The rest of the footage used in the finished sequence was shot from the Steadicam.

Stanley Kubrick lines up a shot in the lobby set of The Shining.

Director Stanley Kubrick lines up a shot on the set of The Shining’s Gold Room bar as Camera Operator Kelvin Pike looks on.

Stanley Kubrick snaps a candid photo while filming on the set of the Red Bathroom. He embraces his then seventeen-year-old daughter, Vivian, who was busy directing her documentary on the making of The Shining.

(Photos via The Overlook Hotel)




3 comments:

  1. Another "behind the scenes of The Shining" gallery. Is this now a regular monthly feature?

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Never before published" you say. Except it was first published 8 flipping years ago by The Prop Store, and has been all over the bloody place on every Shining fan site since then.
    No wonder your own readers make fun of you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a bunch of whiners you guys are. Just go to another one of the 5,326 old photo websites if you loathe it here so much.

    ReplyDelete

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