Essay about The Shining (1980), by Stanley Kubrick - Essay Prowess

Essay about The Shining (1980), by Stanley Kubrick


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The Shining (1980), by Stanley Kubrick

  1. The original ending of The Shining

Kubrick changed the ending of the movie The Shining as he believed that the original ending would not work in the film. Also, he wanted to make the ending metaphorically and visually interesting. He ends the film with a photograph of Jack, which is meant to leave the audience puzzled (Kubrick, 1980). Although at first, the ending of the movie may feel anti-climactic, compared to the original, however, it fits the film. It is satisfactory as there is no destruction of evil, instead, Danny and Wendy are able to escape from Jack. Kubrick altered the ending so that he can make it less terrible. The audience is also left in suspense as both Danny and Wendy disappear in the maze and there is no clear information of where they went. In the final shot, the camera closes in on a picture from the ball of 1921, showing Jack standing in the center. Kubrick ends with the photo to minimize tension.

In the original ending of The Shining, Ullman, the hotel manager visits Jack’s wife Wendy and son Danny in a hospital. The two are recovering following the horrific ordeal. Ullman shares with Wendy that investigators did not find anything suspicious in the hotel (Kubrick, 1980). He gives Danny a yellow tennis ball, it was the same ball that Jack was throwing around prior to trying murdering his family. The original ending of The Shining is complicated, and it adds mystery. The ending implies that the ghosts were not real. It suggests that they were in Wendy and Danny’s minds.

However, when Ullman gives Danny a yellow tennis ball that belonged to Jack, it shows that the place was haunted (Kubrick, 1980). It also shows that Ullman played a part in the entire scene. The final ending is different from the original ending. First, the final ending does not include the hospital scene. It is less complicated, and the appearance of Jack in the picture portrays his reincarnation. Although there is suspense, it is clear that there were ghosts. In the final last scene, Danny is able to distract Jack in the maze (Kubrick, 1980). Jack is lost and cannot articulate, he is stripped of his normal thinking. He is left helpless and freezes to death. However, Wendy and Danny escape and it is not clear where they went. There are various differences between the original ending and the final ending. Kubrick aim was to create an ending that would fit a film. He did not want to exhaust the audience with mystery.

  1. The Pivotal Scene in The Shining

The pivotal scene in The Shining is when Wendy realizes that Jack is Mentally disturbed. In the scene, Jack suffers from severe cabin fever (Kubrick, 1980). At this point, there are no supernatural occurrences or scary visions. Jack appears to be a normal husband as well as a father. In the All work and No play scene, Wendy comes across the typewriter that Jack was seemingly working on (Kubrick, 1980). She realizes that the typewriter is an indication that Jack was mentally disturbed. All that Jack has written is “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” He has repeated the line over and over, which shows that he is mentally unstable. At this point, Jack has not terrorized Wendy, however, it is apparent that there is something wrong with him. When Wendy sees the typewriter, she is shocked, which is clear from her facial expression. The performance at this scene is great, as it is a great turning point of the film.

At this point, Jack appears behind Wendy, which scares her further. She appears scared and confused at the same time (Kubrick, 1980). At this point, Jack torments Wendy as he tells her that he is going to hurt her. Although he refers to her as the light of his life, he tells her that he is going to hurt her. He tells her that he is going to hit her brain in. The scene is well produced especially, the Camera placement helps to enhance the scene. It highly contributes to highlighting the tension in the movie. The camera is positioned behind Wendy’s shoulder. The over-the-shoulder shots help viewers know that Jack was speaking to Wendy (Kubrick, 1980). One can establish that Jack is looking at Wendy, and she is looking at him. The tone of the scene is also significant. There is a lot of tension, as Wendy seems scared of a person that she calls her husband. She also appears confused as she is not quite sure whether he means every word that he says. She knows that he is mentally unstable, but she does not know what he is capable of doing. Although he has not threatened her physically, Jack seems to mean every word he says. The editing is also great as Kubrick uses it to develop the scene. The editing creates a sense of horror in the scene. There is a sense of fear and terror developed by the editing. The camera movement in the scene also creates a sense of fear in the scene.


Kubrick, S. (Director). (1980). The Shining [Video file]. Retrieved November 9, 2018.

Kubrick, S. (Director). (1980). The Shining (Original) [Video file]. Retrieved November 9, 2018.