toomuchnoiseblog

Film Reviews and Discussion.

Short Review. The Digest: The Shining (UK Re-Release) (1980)

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British audiences are finally treated with a fresh take on the stay of the Torrence family in the Overlook Hotel. This is not a new addition. No siree, this is the version with which the Americans have seen since the release of the film back in 1980. Kubrick, forever one to tinker, and seemingly hell-bent on providing international audiences with a different experience to that of America (and let’s not forget that he banned A Clockwork Orange from his adopted homeland, Britain, too), went away to cut the film before it emerged on international screens. This edition of the film is longer, but is bigger better? Well, there is greater depth as to the nature of Danny’s condition, and an encounter with a doctor prior to their drive up to their temporary home. The cumulative effect of all of this is a slackening of the pace and although interesting for academic purposes in understanding the labyrinthine nature of this story, it does detract from the flow of the film. In fact, of the 23 minutes added within this version, there is one scene which has the power to send shivers down the steeliest of spines. That is, a moment when Wendy goes to see Danny after the Room 237 experience and Tony (after calling out Red Rum from his bedroom – thereby providing a spoiler to the catastrophic denouement of the final act) states to ‘Mrs Torrence’ that ‘Danny isn’t here’. It is chilling and effective, despite making the final Red Rum moment slightly anti-climactic.

The Shining is a horror classic, and an undisputed one at that, growing with stature with each passing year. Offered a chance to revel in the longer version or the shorter version, which should you opt for? Simple. See the longer version second and only once, see the shorter version first and repeatedly.

US Version: ****

UK/International Version: *****

Dir: Stanley Kubrick

Dur: 142 mins/119mins

(US) (1980)

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