Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining has always divided fans of the Stephen King novel and horror cinema enthusiast. Such was the disappointment of the box office on its initial release in the USA that Kubrick re-edited the film, took out around 25 minutes and released it in Europe as the shorter cut.
Now for the first time, the longer cut is now available on Blu ray in the UK with this Warners Premium Collector’s edition.
Seeking solitude in order to write a novel, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a job as an off-season caretaker at the remote Overlook Hotel in Colorado. Eager to get started, Jack disregards warnings that the isolation drove a former caretaker mad, and moves into the massive resort with his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and son Danny (Danny Lloyd). But Danny has a supernatural gift which makes him aware of an evil lurking in the hotel, and sure enough, as winter storms cut the hotel off from civilisation, Jack gradually becomes murderously insane.
The Shining is a hard film to categorise, while it is obviously a horror picture it is more of a psychological terror rather than blood and gore. The film grows slowly, establishing the characters and showing the growing isolation as winter sets in and they are trapped in a haunted hotel with very little way out. The casts are excellent, Jack Nicholson’s descent into madness is a bit over the top in my opinion while Shelley Duvall as his wife and especially the child actor Danny Lloyd who plays his son, do a remarkable job.
But it is Kubrick’s masterful direction that steals the show with fantastic steadycam shots and meticulously composed cinematography it really does show why he is held in such high regard by other directors and filmmakers. The European version removes the background storyline as well as plotlines such as Jack’s battle with alcohol problems and beating his son, but overall this is the superior version of the two.
The Blu ray released as part of The Premium Collection by Warners is a winner. The 1080p picture is superb, colour and contrast are spot on. Audio has English: LPCM 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 and is solid mainly front concentrated which is to be expected from a film from this era.
The excellent special features include:
– Commentary by Garrett Brown and John Baxter
– Vivian Kubrick’s “The Making of the Shining” with optional commentary
– View from the Outlook: Crafting the Shining
– The Visions of Stanley Kubrick
– Wendy Carlos, Composer
You also get a collectable slipcase, A DVD version and 4 collectable art cards featuring the films key art.
If you’re a fan of the film and have not imported the USA release then this is a must have for your collection.
FILM: 7 PICTURE: 9 AUDIO: 8 EXTRAS: 9