Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Shining

In 1980, Stanley Kubrick (1928 - 1999) brought the Stephen King (b. 1947) novel, The Shining to the screen.  It is an outstanding film, and one of Jack Nicholson's (b. 1937) finest performances. 

Co-star Shelley Duvall (b. 1947) was perfectly cast for her role.  Duvall comes across as fragile, which was needed for her part.  If they had cast Sigourney Weaver (b. 1949), it would have been a different movie.  Weaver usually plays a much stronger character which would, in my opinion, not really fit for this kind of suspense film.  Watch her in Copycat (1995) where she is supposed to be a neurotic psychologist.  Then imagine Shelley Duvall in the same role.

Danny Lloyd (b. 1973) played the son, and only made one more film.  He now teaches science.

Scatman Crothers (1910 - 1986) played the cook.  What a career he had!  He started as a musician, and then entered movies in 1951.  His early movies may not have been big hits, but he did work with James Caan (b. 1940), Angie Dickinson (b. 1931), Jerry Lewis (b. 1926), William Holden (1918 - 1981), and other great stars of the 1960s. 

In the 1970s he was in The Great White Hope (1970), Lady Sings the Blues (1972); and The Shootist (1976) starring John Wayne.  He also made some not so famous movies...Linda Lovelace for President (1975) and Chesty Anderson U.S. Navy (1976). 

Crothers was in four films with Jack Nicholson, and four with Jerry Lewis.  He was also seen on many TV shows.  He has 115 roles listed on IMDb. 

Other notables in The Shining include Barry Nelson (1917 - 2007) who has 86 titles listed, Phillip Stone (1924 - 2003) with 101 titles, Joe Turkel (b. 1927) with 133 titles; in fact, many of the cast are very experienced actors and actresses.

Yesterday I wrote about The Haunting (1963) as my favorite scary movie.  As much as I may jump while watching The Shining, The Haunting makes my skin crawl with horror.  It is a deeper kind of scared...much more personal. 

If you think of The Shining, you think of Nicholson and Duvall, not the rest of the cast.  The entire cast is important, but in The Haunting the cast is much more balanced and reliant on each other.  No one character stands out.

My vote stays with The Haunting.  And BTW, The Haunting is Martin Scorsese's (b. 1942) favorite scary movie, too.


  1. stephen king has said he used the haunting by shirley jackson as the model or blueprint for his book the shining.

    1. I wouldn't doubt it. I would go as far as to say that Jackson's writing inspired many others, who may not even realize it.
      Thanks for the comment.


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