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Lost Ending To Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' Revealed

by Kevin Jagernauth
January 24, 2013 11:23 AM
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The Shining Closing Shot

Fun fact for the day: "Toy Story" director Lee Unkrich is a huge fan of "The Shining," so much so that he runs a fansite dedicated to the movie called The Overlook Hotel. And while it's always pretty awesome to see filmmakers share in the same obsessions as the rest of us cinephiles, Unkrich has gone a step beyond and done some digging which seems to have yielded a holy grail of sorts around Stanley Kubrick's film.

But first, a quick history lesson. When "The Shining" was first released into theaters it ran 146 minutes long, but after about a week, Kubrick decided to snip the last two minutes of the movie, and projectionists were ordered to cut it and ship it back to Warner Bros. (so don't hold you breath that it will ever be uncovered). What was in the segment? Well, it was a scene set inside a hospital after the events at Overlook, in which Mr. Ullman tells Wendy that Jack Torrance's body was never found. He then gives Danny a tennis ball, which is of course what lured the child to the infamous Room 237 earlier in the film.  

This much is known to anyone who is fan of the movie, but Unkrich got his hands on the actual script so you can now read the full scene right here, and it is pretty remarkable stuff. But additionally there's an epilogue in there that audiences have never seen, which is also eerie, if perhaps over the top:

The Shining Epilogue skip

All of this is to say that it's a testament to Kubrick's puzzle-box horror movie that it continues to fascinate to this day, when even a seemingly innocuous deleted scene adds more to the conversation. And there will be more to pore over as well with Rodney Ascher's rather remarkable documentary "Room 237" -- which explores the many, many theories about the "real" meaning of the movie -- hopefully on its way to theaters this year (and fingers crossed it's not running into any legal issues given how much it relies on using footage from the film).

So tell us -- was Kubrick right to cut the hospital scene and closing coda? Does this change anything about "The Shining" for you? Weigh in below. [via Slate]

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More: Lee Unkrich, The Shining, Stanley Kubrick

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  • Devin Lucas | May 26, 2013 2:58 PMReply

    After all is said and done, even The Shining's critics can't deny that they are still talking about it for over 30 years. Good filmmakers entertain you for 2 hours. Great one's keep you thinking of their work for decades. The Shining will always be one of the most important horror films ever made. The fact that intelligent people still try to uncover its mysteries despite knowing there is likely no one true answer to the questions is the proof of its "haunting" power on audiences. Critics who call its imagery confusing are underestimating the power of disorientation in fear. If you saw a room full of corpses, would you need a full explanation of how they got there before you turned to run? The hotel's mysteries, much like the film's, did not need to explain themselves to its victims.

  • Stephen Volk | February 1, 2013 4:36 AMReply

    "Meaning is a very over-rated commodity" - Harold Pinter

  • Helgi | January 29, 2013 8:12 PMReply

    I love the fact that a titanic actor like Jack Nicholson, still shining from the 1975 glory, was willing to let go into the hands of a master (1980). Just watch the docu made by Stanley´s daughter. It is such a beautiful revelation. By the way, The Shining by Stanley Kubrick is more of a calculated horror-story, highly overrated, whereas Stephen King was a verbal lazy boy with emotion, highly overrated. Get it?

  • sidney falco | January 24, 2013 10:04 PMReply

    Does nothing to save Kubrick's weak film...don't understand the love for this film. I love Kubrick, and the film is beautifully made, but he clearly didn't understand the horror genre and missed the boat with this one. Take the scene where Duvall runs into the room full of corpses. Showing a room full of corpses isn't scary if you haven't set up the horror properly. It's confusing. The only scene that totallyworks for me is the final maze scene, because it was properly set up.

    Give me EYES WIDE SHUT anyday.

  • Ben Trecroci | January 26, 2013 2:26 AM

    You might be the only person who ever wanted Eyes Wide Shut over The ShiningM I respect your opinion but think you fell overboard from that boat.

  • The RAF | January 25, 2013 6:21 AM

    So the director of what is widely recognized as one of the biggest horror classics of all time "missed the boat on this one" because he "didn't understand the horror genre"? Film history must be rewritten!

    You are entitled to your own controversial opinion, but I would be a bit more humble about it. You sound like you are lecturing the ghost of Kubrick about how to make a proper horror movie.

  • shashibiya | January 24, 2013 6:28 PMReply

    I saw this scene, at the Los Angeles premiere. It was jarring. It didn't fit with the rest of the film. It felt like an "explanation scene" that didn't explain anything. When I went back two days later to see the movie again, it was gone, with only a very audible pop on the soundtrack to indicate where it had been cut.

  • bohmer | January 24, 2013 12:08 PMReply

    I'm sorry but as a film, Room 237 is shit. And the interpretations of the movies you ear is from lunatics.

  • Chris | January 24, 2013 12:44 PM

    Isn't that part of the fun? The filmmakers themselves never vouch for any of the theories - and whether you believe any of them has any relevance is beside the point.

  • rtas | January 24, 2013 12:01 PMReply

    Nicholson frozen in the snow is one of the greatest images in horror, and film, history.

  • Arch | January 24, 2013 11:54 AMReply

    Nothing new indeed... last year the Dryder Theatre in Rochester, NY even created some kind of turmoil by announcing that they would play an unseen version of the movie... turned out the alternate ending wasn't included.
    Here's a website with info concerning said ending, including a few pictures (thx forgottensilver) :

  • Christian | January 24, 2013 11:36 AMReply

    As fascinating as it is, this it not news. Check out the YouTube interview "THE SHINING: Bill Blakemore Interview" with the man who started the whole school of thought that the film is about the Indian genocide. In the interview he unveils the concept of the lost ending. He goes on to connect its meaning with his own interpretation of the film, claiming the rolling ball to be a metaphor for evil continuing forever and history repeating itself again and again.

  • Chris | January 24, 2013 11:32 AMReply

    "Hopefully on its way to theaters this year"? Kevin, "Room 237" already played in theaters in 2012.

  • Edward Davis | January 24, 2013 1:14 PM

    "For a full week" Yes, films that receive oscar qualifying runs always screen for about a week. That's pretty normal. The theatrical release is a 2013 one.

  • Chris | January 24, 2013 12:42 PM

    That may be true, but a lot of official releases for one year don't get "proper" releases until the following year. "Room 237" still played in many theatres - for a full week, not just individual screenings - last year. I saw it at a theatre where it played regularly for at least a week, not at a festival.

  • Edward Davis | January 24, 2013 11:47 AM

    Chris, this is not exactly correct. From the PR working the film, "Opens March 22, 2013." It screened at festivals and some advance places for Oscar consideration in 202, but it did not technically get a proper release yet, fyi. It's an an IFC Midnight release.

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