Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Michael Moore Says Clint Eastwood Threatened To "Kill" Him 10 Years Ago, Calls 'American Sniper' A "Mess" Michael Moore Says Clint Eastwood Threatened To "Kill" Him 10 Years Ago, Calls 'American Sniper' A "Mess" Woody Allen’s Next Movie With Joaquin Phoenix & Emma Stone Titled ‘Irrational Man,’  Sony Pictures Classics Nab Rights Woody Allen’s Next Movie With Joaquin Phoenix & Emma Stone Titled ‘Irrational Man,’ Sony Pictures Classics Nab Rights Paul Thomas Anderson Says 'Edge Of Tomorrow' Is "F*cking Great," Also Loves 'Grand Budapest Hotel'  Paul Thomas Anderson Says 'Edge Of Tomorrow' Is "F*cking Great," Also Loves 'Grand Budapest Hotel' 10 Unaired TV Pilots By A-List Directors That We Want To See 10 Unaired TV Pilots By A-List Directors That We Want To See The 10 Best Films Of 2007 The 10 Best Films Of 2007 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners Watch: Tom Hardy & Gary Oldman Face Off In The First Trailer For Thriller ‘Child 44’ Watch: Tom Hardy & Gary Oldman Face Off In The First Trailer For Thriller ‘Child 44’ Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

Camera Operator for 'The Shining' Explains Helicopter Shadows in Opening Credits, Discusses Hallorann Crash Sequence

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist February 4, 2013 at 9:43AM

“Room 237,” Rodney Ascher's quixotic look at Stanley Kubrick's “The Shining” and the elaborate theories surrounding it, is set to hit theatres and VOD later this year, but while the documentary packs in a enormous amount of supposed “answers,” the latest one up for review concerns the film's ominous opening credits, and perhaps comes from a slightly more credible source as well.
2
The Shining Helicopter Shadow

Room 237,” Rodney Ascher's quixotic look at Stanley Kubrick's “The Shining” and the elaborate theories surrounding it, is set to hit theatres and VOD later this year, but while the documentary packs in a enormous amount of supposed “answers,” the latest one up for review concerns the film's ominous opening credits, and perhaps comes from a slightly more credible source as well.

“The Shining” opens with a series of sweeping helicopter shots slowly tracking Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) and his family's car through the snow-capped hills of Glacier National Park. Contacted by Kubrick then to shoot this second unit footage, camera operator Jeff Blyth recently recalled his experiences of the shoot, but more importantly lent his thoughts on the credits' most disputed shot: A glimpse of the helicopter itself splashed up against the mountains. Was it an accident or Kubrick's intent?

“At the time we started shooting, we had been told we could do anything we wanted,” Blyth recounts. “It was with great amusement that I have read online reports that Kubrick somehow accomplished these shots by some sort of radio remote control while still in England. We'd talked with him by phone before setting out and I can assure you there were no specifics needed other than a yellow VW with Colorado plates.”

Addled with stress over lack of traffic control, Blyth and his team were attempting to maintain a fluid shot while filming in full aperture, with mixed results. “I had my hands full guiding the helicopter pilot in closer and closer based on the little black and white monitor (which the pilot could not see). I can assure you, shadows were the least of our concerns, even if they could have been visible on that [1:1.85-cropped] monitor (which they weren't).”

Due to Blyth's impaired sight lines, the camera operator concludes Kubrick “just liked those particular shots and didn't worry about the shadows.” He then added, “I have to say I was personally horrified to see the shadows on the first video release, since they'd never showed in the theatrical release, as we'd intended.”

Entertaining and insightful, you can read Blyth's full account over at Visual Memory, where he also talks about risking injury to film a deleted scene with Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers) “receiving” Danny's telepathic S.O.S. by nearly swerving into oncoming traffic along the Pacific Coast Highway. Needless to say, Blyth and his team were “a little disappointed that the final cut of the film eliminated all of that and it was replaced with a very simple shot of Halloran responding to the message in his apartment.”

“Scatman did a nice job of the moment, though,” he says. Check out the opening sequence from the horror classic below. [via Movie City News]

This article is related to: The Shining


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates