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Quelle horreur! 'The Shining' was not only snubbed, it was Razzed!

February 1, 2008 |  7:40 pm

Now I'm really ticked off — we're talking Jack Nicholson kind of irked — that a classic like "The Shining" was not only snubbed in the Oscar best-picture race, but it was nominated for two 1980 Razzie Awards: worst actress (Shelley Duvall) and worst director (Stanley Kubrick!). Luckily, they "lost" to Brooke Shields ("The Blue Lagoon") and Robert Greenwald ("Xanadu"). Do you think that "Shining" deserved even to be considered for such a hatchet job?

Shining

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Comments

Good catch, Daniel! Fixed now.

Tom,

1) I like the title of your post but the word "horreur" is feminine in French and therefore, it should have read "Quelle horreur !".

2) There was certainly one aspect of “The Shining” that set it apart from most other films and that is the choice of music. The soundtrack included music from truly great 20th century composers Béla Bartók, György Ligeti and Krzysztof Penderecki. It is a proof of the high level of quality and artistic conscience in Kubrick's works.

Shelly Duvall deserved to win the Razzie. While I felt that Kubrick did a great job, I though the problem actually was in the casting. While Jack Nicholson was effective...the character wasn't developed enough for us to understand how his mind transformed from a father to a psychopath. Kubrick likes his films main character to be NOT a person, but a thing. Be it...The Vietnam War, a Winter Hotel, The Human Mind, Technology, or an Era, with the exception of Eyes Wide Shut. This film differed from the book in that the Hotel was the main character instead of the boy. We all should know that the centerpiece of any Stephen King novel is always centered around a person, not a thing. Cujo was about a rabid dog, but the book dealt mainly with a mother defending her child while thinking about her own safety at the same time. That story process was expertly carried over despite a film that could have been more stylized to compete with Wolfen. Anyhow, Kubrick filmed the Shining centering on the hotel, and not ONE stationary character. The length only defeated the true terror of the film which was supposed to be the human mind gone wrong when we are secluded and become anxious with no outside communication other than a family. Kubrick took his visually stylistic directing here and used the skill against himself and against the story. Duvall was overacting and for those who disagree in making a case for mental stability against a psychopath (Jack Nicholson) she didn't exactly act normal even in the era when wives were different than they are today. The visual aquity that Kubrick has and has pioneered (2001 Space Odyssey) was not fit for this story, Had he dropped his filming tradidtion of making the character a "thing" or "feeling" instead of making a character, and infact a stationary or focused character the center of the story, he ruined The Shining. I won't go as to far as the movie as a whole deserved the Razzies....but I will say that Duvall deserved to win...and for a director who had a seamless reputation....the Shining was anticipated and came out in a year where cinema really shined. LAST POINT!! The other exception to the "character" track was "A Clockwork Orange", you cannot direct that adaptation without adressing the main character,,,although I could argue that the character was Malcom McDowell's mind, his brain. Especially in certain scenes that identify the "reality, and the exile from reality". Those who say "Full Metal Jacket" is about a stationary character....BS. The film focused on several characters and their problems which amount to the object or thing "Conflict Within A War". That was a great film even so....The scene in the bathroom is so expertly filmed and the suspense in just the limited color in the picture just adds a sense of clarity to the truly heinous and wrong being depicted in the scene. On the subject of greatness...Barry Lyndon is actually my fav Kubrick film. It's not just the Academy Award Winning cinematography, it is the human side of an era often gone unexplored.


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