Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining”–The Maps
I’ve attempted to get the proportions as best as possible, discovering that I was able to do so via the graphics on the carpet as I was able to count them off.
Hi there. This post gets a fair number of visitors and for some reason the idea of everything not fitting together makes some people upset when it really shouldn’t. The initial response of many is to think in terms of continuity and design problems on a major production and that the maps are a matter of nit-picking at small details.
One has to realize that Kubrick practiced the same mismatch technique in certain places in 2001 and with the apartment of Bill and Alice in Eyes Wide Shut. For instance, he radically shifts internal orientation of space as opposed to what we see on the exterior of one of the ships carrying Floyd to Clavius, so that the pilots have views of both the earth and moon which could only have been had by Floyd. He moves the bedroom of Bill and Alice. Also, in Eyes Wide Shut (never mind the maze of streets down which we are taken numerous times under different guises) he discreetly dropped in elements directly connecting the Nathanson apartment with the Ziegler mansion. So, the Overlook is not exceptional in Kubrick’s films for its disequilibrium.
The interior of the Overlook simply doesn’t fit with either the exterior on the studio set or real life; the different parts of it don’t connect together in the way Kubrick visually leads one to believe. His manner of editing establishes assumptions, but those assumptions are wrong. I cover possible reasons for the “why” in my analyses of the different films, but can’t give you a flat-out “why”. What one can discuss, which I’ve done in the analyses, is the psychological and cinematic effect these mismatches and the false flow may have on the viewer. What the maps below do is supply a pretty basic and simple first approach to seeing how we do have these mismatches.
In respect of The Shining, one can also look at the way Kubrick gives the impression of our viewing a family “together” at the Overlook, when we almost never see Jack, Wendy or Danny in the same shot. We have them together in the car, we have them briefly together when Danny meets Dick in the Gold Room and when he is left with Dick as his parents go off to the boiler room with Stuart. After that, after everyone else has left the hotel, the only other time we see Jack, Wendy and Danny together is in the post-choking scene in the Colorado Lounge. We never even see the three in the same shot in the apartment. At the end, by the time Jack has hacked his way into the suite, Wendy and Danny are in the bathroom and Wendy has quickly sent Danny out the window so he’s not even in the suite. The lobby is particularly interesting as one really “feels” we should have seen all three of them there together, and yet it never happens. As with the architecture, Kubrick gives a certain feeling for what is happening and has happened, and quite often it is different from what we’ve seen on the screen.
I based the scale of the lobby on what I learned from the Gold Room’s carpet and the fact that the area between the pillars roughly corresponds with the width of the hall to the Gold Room. This map shows the impossibility of the window in the office and the multiple halls that are behind that supposed office window.
John Fell Ryan and I have discussed how there are subtle differences between the Gold Room hall and what we would believe to be the supposed Gold Room hall viewed from the hall off the lobby. These subtle differences indicate that we are not viewing the Gold Room Hall on the left so there is no piecing together how the Gold Room fits with relationship to the lobby.
The Gold Room
My view of the Gold Room and the Red Bathroom was that it was possible the Red Bathroom crosses over the Gold Room and its bar and into the area where Jack collides with Grady. I have since viewed production still which shows the door to the red bathroom is, as I thought, in the right wall of the entry area to the bathrooms to the side of the bar, thus positioning the red bathroom as I had believed, not extending behind the Gold Room but layering over it.
The Colorado Lounge
Kubrick films things in such a way so that he guides the audience to believe the Colorado Lounge is located somehow above the lobby, even though the viewer also knows both are on a ground floor. He handles several different shots giving the audience the impression the stairs in the lobby lead to the Colorado Lounge stairs, and that the elevators must be somehow linked. They aren’t. The first principle misguiding shot is the crossfade from the lobby to the Colorado Lounge during the tour. There is a stack of luggage (a joke, it’s an impossible amount) the Torrance’s have brought up, and it is before the main lobby door. Kubrick crossfades so the rear stairway of the Colorado Lounge fits over the stairway in the lobby, and a stack of luggage in the Colorado Lounge (exiting employees) fits over the Torrance’s luggage, and the elevators fit over the main door. The viewer doesn’t see yet that the Colorado Lounge is turned 90 degrees lengthwise from the lobby as they are only seeing its foyer. Because of these layerings, Kubrick gives the viewer the impression the steps connect the Colorado Lounge and the lobby. Though the viewer sees all this can’t be so, and that none of this fits together, Kubrick guides one to think it does, and treats it all very normally, so cognitive dissonance is quelled but never absolutely quieted.
The green and red hall behind the Colorado Lounge has a door that may go down to the basement and the boiler room.
Click for larger view.
Room 237 and its Floor Above the Colorado Lounge
I’ve endeavored here, with the overlay, to show how the floor for Room 237 fits in with the Colorado Lounge. The green/red hall behind the Colorado Lounge appears to have a relationship with Room 237. The arrows show Danny’s travel around the halls on his Big Wheel. The proportions are based on the designs in the rug and the ability to count off the repetitions of the designs via Danny’s journeys and several other places in the film.
Click for larger view.
The Living Quarters Area
Not the best map, but it’ll do for showing approximately how the parts fit together.