Are you one of the league who find Kubrick's cinema fascinating and wonderful but are also confused by seeming peculiarities? Are you certain those often under-the-radar-over-the-head weirdnesses must mean something? Or maybe you're just curious?
Well, I am the person who "discovered" the open door opposite Room 237 (and a lot more besides) so if you're looking for Kubrick high strangeness then you've come to the right place. But if I delve into the high strangeness, the oddities are simply a component part of analyzing the themes and ideas that Kubrick carries from film to film.
Here's my request. That you, please, think in terms of art with intention, which isn't conspiracy and has nothing to do with conspiracy theories. Would you think of music composed of unspoken themes as being conspiracy? What's difficult is teasing out the artist's conscious intention as versus accidental as versus the viewer's role as an active pilgrim walking the road that art provides to accessing the unconscious and mythic archetypes. As an author and artist, I know what it is to hope for at least a few such pilgrims, confident they are the minority, that most think in terms of being only entertained, and to attempt to compose for both. Even with those who are just wanting a good story, or who want to dissect a film for practical good-cinema purposes, the majority would likely admit that it is the inherent mystery in Kubrick's films that functions as their primary gravity. It is that sense of something deeper, a subterranean coherence that provides the glue, that compels individuals to return and perhaps begin to move, without their even realizing it, from a passive state into a more active, participatory role where art becomes a transformative experience rather than just visual popcorn.
Note on method of analysis and a kind of disclaimer:
For the real film buff, I've gone through and listed shots, images from each, and length of time of shots. Because I raised myself on the old Evergreen Black Cat cinema books which took pains to do the same and loved studying them. And because that is the only way to really begin to do a good, involved analysis of Kubrick's films, which are very complex internally and in their relationships as an oeuvre.
Kubrick's films elicit a lot of whys and wherefores,"What does this mean?", because he included so many seeming puzzles inviting review, mysteries that demanded second and third notice, editing quirks and both subtle and obvious shifts in staging. My analyses haven't much to do with the psychology, but look at Kubrick's choices of stories, music, places he filmed, staging, the differences between the literature and the script that made it onto celluloid and how he chose to edit it all together, carrying themes from film to film, and based on these elements I dip into a variety of possible influences. But, of course, I do not know for certain about any of my insights, and I could very well be in error from beginning to end. So, please keep in mind I make no claim on knowing anything but that art should never be dissected like this and I apologize to Stanley for being a cinema heathen, well, except for the fact that I believe Stanley constructed his films for spelunking, for following the clues in the maze, so no apologies really are necessary.
My suggestion, if you're really interested in studying the films, is to start with my analysis of 2001. You will be glad for it as an introduction.
Link to the main Kubrick page for all the analyses.
I used to have all these posts on my blog, but converted them to html as Wordpress couldn't really handle the load.
The Opening (shots 1-8 about 3:01)
The Interview (shots 9-95 about 17:37)
Closing Day (shots 96-163 about 34:09)
Remembrance and Repetition in Kubrick's The Shining
A Month Later (shots 164-181 about 40:27)
A Brief Look at Close Encounters Through the Eyes of The Shining
Tuesday (shots 182-208 about 45:59)
Thursday (Shots 209-211 about 46:50)
Saturday (Shots 212-245 about 51:14)
Monday (shots 246-253 about 56:59)
Wednesday, Part One (shots 254-299 about 1:09:47)
Wednesday, Part Two (shots 300-403 about 1:35:43)
8 a.m. (shots 405-507 about 1:54:18)
4 p.m. (shots 508-661 about 2:20:45 beg last shot)
The Alex Colville Painting That Doesn't Appear in "The Shining" But is Written All Over It. On the yellow VW.
Stanley Kubrick, Anamnesis, and His Use of Railroad Imagery
How Shot 306 in The Shining Duplicates Shot 230 in Lolita, #237 Intimately Connected with Charlotte's Death, and That Watery Death (Perhaps) Connected with Hitchcock's Psycho
The Clenched Fist of Jack Torrance
In Which Kubrick Tricks Us Into Not Noticing the Door Which Has Opened (in the blog section of the website and will open in a new window)
How the Kubrick Carpet Trick Works (in the blog section of the website and will open in a new window)
The Relationship Between the Chess Game in 2001, Dave’s Dinner in the Room Beyond the Infinite, and Danny on the Reversed Rug in The Shining
The July 4th 1921 Ball Photo
That Thing in the Elevator in The Shining
Management of Psychic Space with the The Elevator, the Two Girls and Danny's Room
Possible Influence of the 1969 "Traumnovelle film on The Shining
The Shining and L'Inhumaine?
The Real Horror of The Shining : The Misogyny of the Audience for Wendy Torrance
The Shining and The Birds
Maps of the Overlook Hotel (in the blog section of the website and will open in a new window)
I had thought it fun to study the locations of the shots on the Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier National Park in particular, and below are posts showing shots from Google Street View of the locations. All of the below are in the blog portion of the website.
Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view pinpointing the locations of the opening shots on Going-to-the-sun-road are in the following posts:
St. Mary's Lake
Crossing the Field
Helicopter Takes a Pass
Entering the west tunnel
Exiting the West Tunnel
The East Tunnel (not used in the film)
After the West Tunnel
Last Shot of Glacier Park in the Opening.
Though the Overlook is in Colorado, these opening shots, along with the Closing Day shots, pinpoint a kind of psychological place for the lodge as being on the Continental Divide. The final crossfades to the lodge occur before it. In the opening, the VW travels east to west and the final crossfade out to the lodge occurs east of the Continental Divide. In the Closing Day section, the VW travels west to east on the road and the final crossfade to the lodge occurs west of the Continental Divide. Kubrick often gives us several perspectives of a scene. Such as with there being several perspectives for the "shining" in Room 237. Such as the several mazes. We have the set maze outside the Overlook, we have the map for the maze (different from the set maze), we have the model maze (different from the set maze), and then finally he shows us the "world maze" in which the left mirrors the right side. This is a double labrys--the labyrinth--and we may find the same with the VW approaching the Overlook from either side of the Continental Divide.
Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view pinpointing the location of the Boulder apartment.
Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view pinpointing the locations of the ascent.
Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view showing the view down the mountain and the maze of ski slopes before the Timberline.
Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view of the Miami Channel 10 radio station and where the Stapleton airport was once located and the Westminster/Boulder exit from Denver that Dick passes by on his way to the Overlook.
Repurposed shot from Google Maps street view showing the exterior of a snow-drenched Timberline/Overlook.
Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view showing Dick's travels up the mountain to the Overlook. Through sheer luck I believe I may have been able to pinpoint the location in which the Snowcat is shown in a pristine winter wonderland that hardly seems real, but is.
Repurposed shots from Google Maps street view showing a couple supplemental, pretty shots of the Timberline area.