The Shining The Cinematic Cut
Rebecca De Mornay
Melvin Van Peebles
March 4, 2019
The Purpose of This Edit
I was so happy with how my It (1990) miniseries edit came out that I wanted to tackle some other Stephen King minis from the 90s. There are lots of great (and some poor) options to choose from; The Stand, The Langoliers, Storm of the Century, Tommyknockers, and the Golden Years. But one that I feel is criminally underrated is the 1997 re-adaptation of The Shining. King was infamously unhappy with Kubrick's 1980 film, and sought to fix several issues he saw with it:
Firstly, Nicholson's Jack Torrance starts off as an asshole, and finishes off as a giant asshole whereas Weber's take on the character is a loving — but screwed up — husband and father whose weaknesses make him an easy target for the malevolence of the hotel.
Secondly, Duvall's Wendy Torrance is what King described as "a screaming dishrag". A cowardly, mousey character. Really the only kind of woman who would stay with that version of Jack. De Mornay's Wendy is a distrustful — but trying — mother, and a strong woman who is trying to help her husband get through the valley.
Thirdly, there are a few smaller issues which only serve to bring the story more in-line with the book. This includes the fate of Halloran, the topiary (rather than the maze), the croquet mallet (rather than the axe), and the climax. King also quipped of the two adaptations of the book that he was warm and Kubrick was cold.
To that end, what I hoped to accomplish with this edit was to cut this down to a reasonable feature-length runtime, remove all the bad CGI, some of the poorer line deliveries, the excessive amount of expositionary dialogue, and tighten up the pacing. I also re-worked the ending, and re-structured the plot so that it's not immediately clear how it's going to end OR who the hotel is after.
List of Major Edits
I actually ended up removing 2 hours and 13 minutes from the runtime. This is in spite of adding back more than 7 minutes worth of deleted material. This is not an exhaustive cut list. These are just the highlights. There are a bunch of trims and dialogue cuts/replacements that are not listed. Hopefully all of those are transparent.
- !* THE CGI BUSHES ARE GONE *!
- Entirely new intro sequence with incorporated (minimal) titles.
- New music cues throughout by David Fesliyan.
- Re-purposed various establishing and cutaway shots throughout.
- Removed fade-to-black commercial breaks wherever they appear.
- Cut many, many insert shots of the boiler. You're a grown-up. You'll remember.
- Cut Jack & Watson talking endlessly about the boiler in the basement.
- Cut Jack & Ullman outside the Overlook.
- Cut Danny & Wendy inside the apartment.
- The Jack & Danny incident has been moved to later in the film.
- Jack & Wendy's post-incident conversation has been cut.
- Wendy searching Jack's office has been cut.
- Removed all physical manifestations of Tony wherever they appear.
- Jack's AA call outside the bar has been cut.
- The drive to Colorado has been re-foley'd, re-scored, and heavily trimmed.
- Arriving at the Overlook has been heavily trimmed.
- Replacing a cheesy jump-scare with something tied to the plot.
- Trimmed the Torrances meeting/touring with Halloran & Watson quite heavily.
- Trimmed Danny & Dick quite a bit.
- Trimmed Jack & the bees.
- Trimmed the "Back with the Groceries" scene. A lot.
- Shortened Danny & Jack's conversation.
- Moved long panning shot of the Overlook coming to life to later in the film.
- Re-cut Jack & the bees part 2.
- Cut the AA meeting.
- Added the Jack and Danny incident as a flashback while Wendy is with the doctor.
- Sliced-up Jack in the basement to use over various days instead of all at once.
- Moved Danny & Wendy playing in the snow to after Jack in the basement.
- Moved Danny checking out Room 217 to after the snow.
- Re-edited Jack confronting Danny so that Jack seems less crazy at this early point in the story.
- Added deleted scene of Jack and Danny being playful together.
- Moved scene of Jack and the Topiary up to now.
- Danny & Wendy talk about Jack trimmed, some dialog replacement.
- Jack & Wendy in the lobby trimmed a bunch.
- Re-cut Danny in 217 and Jack & his father to be a bit more interactive. The two events come off as more connected rather than simply simultaneous... hopefully.
- Removed the close-up on the 217 Woman.
- Removed Jack explicitly destroying the radio.
- Moved Jack "discovering" the broken radio to AFTER finding Danny on the stairs.
- Trimmed the scene where the Torrances try to sort out what happened to Danny.
- Trimmed the exposition scene in the kitchen.
- Moved that panning shot of the Overlook coming to lift to hear, under Danny's voiceover.
- Tightened Jack exploring 217.
- Tightened Jack & Wendy fighting.
- Added deleted scene of Jack explaining his theory of events.
- Trimmed Jack and the snowmobile to keep a little bit of mystery, or at least make it less obvious.
- Trimmed Jack and Wendy and the snowmobile.
- Heavily cut the hedge attack on Danny. Made it possibly just in Wendy's mind???
- Replaced Danny messing with the clock in the ballroom with an earlier scene to lead into the vision.
- Removed all instances of Dick Halloran on his way to the Overlook. We have no idea if he's coming or not.
- Cut Danny and the Dogman.
- Cut all the Overlook scares against Jack. Seems the hotel would be trying to court Jack, not scare him.
- Cut a crap-ton of the ballroom stuff. Including the excessive shot of King's cameo.
- Cut shots of Jack in the empty ballroom. Not clear if it's in his mind or a real manifestation.
- Trimmed Wendy's route to find Jack so it's a little more direct. Not that she would know, but since we DO know, it reduces the tension.
- Trimmed the fight between Jack & Wendy.
- Trimmed dragging Jack to the pantry.
- Cut Wendy and Jack talking through the door.
- Lots of new foley when Jack attacks Wendy.
- Removed cutaway(s) to Danny. We don't know if he's heard the warning or what.
- Remove Jack sticking his face through the door. Too iconic to the Kubrick film.
- Jack's attack is now relentless. Stops at nothing to get at Wendy.
- The attack on Halloran is now much more sudden.
- Tightened Jack chasing Danny.
- Re-cut the final moments with the boiler and the escape to keep the tension high.
- New ending.
- Cut the "Ten Years Later" scene.
- New fully-customized credit scroll.
- Post-credit scene.
- Fixed a few issues with sound design.
- Restored a portion of the scene between Jack and Ullman because it's removal stripped too much context from the film.
- Reworked the first few scenes with some ADR to also help with context.
- Reworked the ending to fix in-universe timing issues.
- Fixed typo in closing credit roll.
Compare the original and the Cinematic Cut Side-By-Side