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David Poland

By David Poland

Best NYT Correction Ever?

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 29, 2012

An earlier version of this article incorrectly described imagery from “The Shining.” The gentleman seen with the weird guy in the bear suit is wearing a tuxedo, but not a top hat.

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46 Responses to “Best NYT Correction Ever?”

  1. Edward Wilson says:

    No, the best will be when a real plushie takes offense at being called a ‘weird guy,’ and demands a correction…

  2. The Pope says:

    Or when The Grey Lady corrects the claims made by History Professor, Geoffrey Cocks that The Shining is about the Holocaust. Has anyone read his book, “The Wolf at the Door”? A prime example of an academic needing to print something in order to get tenure. But he has nothing valid to say. And he says it anyway. But you know, what does it matter. In academia, you publish or perish… and students are then misled. Wonderful.

  3. arisp says:

    This whole thing with The Shining having all these hidden themes is ludicrous. If you have enough time and creativity you can come up with anything about any work of art.

  4. Don R. Lewis says:

    Agree but also disagree. There’s some things in ROOM 237 that are extremely odd and compelling. It’s a perfect conspiracy as you can never prove or disprove anything. But on that same token, isn’t reading deeply into ANY film an exercise in pointlessness? Unless the director confirms your deep thoughts about analogies and hidden meanings, isn’t every film goer or critic seeking deeper meaning playing a fools game?

  5. arisp says:

    Deep thoughts about analogies is one thing. We all try to see some meaning into certain scenes, or lines uttered in our favorite films. Stringing those thoughts together for 90 minutes is obsession-city. I would actually love to see Room 237 as I am a huge fan of the film (I actually watched it this weekend again), to see what the hoopla is about. I read somewhere that Danny wearing the Apollo shirt was somehow implying that NASA faked the moon landing. Is that whole subject one of the compelling points you mention?

  6. christian says:

    That silly teddy bear scene is just one of Kubrick’s Anglo-Victorian British fancies, like the silly orgy in EWS. There is no there there. But I approve of the doc filmmaker’s obssessions.

  7. Tom says:

    Best Correction Ever:

    Sex and gender at work, in bed, and on the street


    This blog post originally stated that one in three black men who have sex with me is HIV positive. In fact, the statistic applies to black men who have sex with men.

  8. Mike says:

    Well, the guy in the suit (I believe it was a dog) was in the Stephen King novel.

  9. christian says:

    Oddly, I don’t recall that at alll from King’s book, the first one I ever read and was frightened into submission by. But to me it’s always going to be Room 217.

  10. Mike says:

    It’s right here:

    “…this mysterious scene is explained in the novel, but not in the film. At one point in the novel, Jack is dancing with a woman at a masque ball during the 1920s, and he notices a young man wearing a dog mask and behaving like a dog for the amusement of a tall, bald man. This bald man is the man in the tuxedo later seen by Wendy. The woman explains to Jack that his name is Horace Derwent, a former owner of the hotel, and an eccentric Howard Hughes type figure who poured over three million into restoring it after WWII. The young man acting like a dog is Roger, a former lover of the bisexual Derwent, with whom he is still in love. According to the woman, Derwent told Roger that “if he came to the masked ball as a doggy, a cute little doggy, he might reconsider;” that is, he might have sex with Roger. Although no actual sex scene between Roger and Derwent is described in the book, such a scene does seem to take place in Kubrick’s film, albeit obliquely.”

  11. Joey says:

    “The silly orgy in EWS” is not a silly orgy.

    That film is a very comlpex and fascinating film about some very complex and fascinating initiations that… well… take place.

  12. christian says:

    One man’s silly orgy is another’s complex and fascinating initiations. Based on that one orgy I attended;]

  13. Don R. Lewis says:

    There’s a 60 minute doc called “Kubrick’s Odyssey” which I bought off Amazon over the summer so I knew about that angle on what Kubrick’s “meaning” was. It’s a really fun and compelling doc that wavers between batshit conspiracy stuff and intriguing ideas about what his meaning is.

    As Christian mentioned- why change the room number from 217 to 237 when 217 plays such a big role in the book? There’s alot of overt changes from the book that didn’t “have” to be made. Ie; they weren’t changes that were due to adaptation reasons. And I don’t think Kubrick faked the moon landing and THE SHINING is his mea culpa….but it’s pretty interesting stuff anyway.

  14. christian says:

    I could never figure out why 217 was replaced – it comes off as a filmmaker needing to stamp his own vision onto something to merely make it his own. Harlan Elllison sez it better in an essay I think about King and that very issue.

  15. The Big Perm says:

    Nope…the room number was changed because the hotel they shot at had a room 217 and they were afraid no one would want to stay in it and asked Kubrick to change it, so he did while keeping the number as close to the book as possible. They didn’t have a 237.

  16. christian says:

    You’d think a haunted hotel with blood gushing from the elevators and giant oral sex teddy bears would scare off hotel-goers. But it was the room number!

    Today Room 237 costs an extra hundred bucks a night and there’s a plaque on the door that says, “Jack Torrance and Scary Old Naked Lady Suite”…

  17. torpid bunny says:

    THey didn’t shoot at a hotel. Massive set built in england. But there is some explanation like that for the number.

  18. christian says:

    So what hotel has been protecting Room 217?

  19. leahnz says:

    did you know kubrick used ‘summer of 42’ – the film wendy and danny watch on tv in ‘the shining’ – as a metaphor for wendy’s own feeling of abject loneliness and disconnection in her marriage, ‘waiting’ for her husband who she once knew to return to her from his internal conflict as dorothy waited for her betrothed to return from war — only to lose him forever, as both women did.

    (nah i just made that up)

  20. movieman says:

    Did somebody pick this up at Sundance?
    It seems as though virtually every film that premiered this year landed some kind of distribution deal.

  21. Don R. Lewis says:

    They address the fact that the hotel thought no one would want to stay in the room in the movie….the fact is, they have no Room 217. Which makes no sense because they have a Room 237 but, yeah.

    SEE…TOLDJA this movie will get people talking. I think it did get picked up but how they’re going to get clearances since the ENTIRE movie is clips of Kubrick films and other films (ala Errol Morris) will be interesting to watch. They’re apparently going after fair use and the “education” angle.

  22. Edward Wilson says:

    Here’s a conspiracy for you all: There are 2 different official cuts of The Shining. There’s the US 142-min. cut, and the European 119-min.

    Why is it that one version is standard in the US while the other is in the UK, but they’re not available in the opposing countries? You can buy each version from the other’s store at Amazon, however.

    Anyhow, the 119 is a better cut. So suck it US!

  23. torpid bunny says:

    Oh no, there are at least 3 cuts I think.

  24. christian says:

    Don’t even get me started on all those cuts. I have hardcore Kubrick friends who still claim there was never any release of the original sittin’ on a dock ending.

    And Kubrick famously burned the Room 237 Teddy Bear Pie Fight scene.

  25. cadavra says:

    I’m sure a 67-min. cut would be even better!

  26. GexL says:

    The movie, for all its considerable merits, has always suffered the most from not realizing King’s vision of the hedge animals coming to life. At the time, as a big fan of the book I felt that the hedge maze chase wasn’t nearly as kinetic and exciting as what I’d read and imagined.

  27. arisp says:

    I have never seen the 119 minute version but I know, without a doubt and unequivocally, that it not better than the 142 version. More Shining is better than less Shining, fact. What could they have possibly taken out?

  28. christian says:

    King said in a great Heavy Metal interview from 1980 that Kubrick actually did shoot stop-motion tests with the topiary animals but thought it looked like stop-motion. King also said Kubrick shot an over-sized Dick Smith Nicholson head with his head splitting open and worms coming out. Where’s that footage, Leon?

  29. leahnz says:

    for my money the 20mins longer cut is far superior to the lean-and-mean euro version — lots of cool little things are missing from the short cut, but perhaps the most bizarre cut sequence is the pediatrician’s visit after danny’s initial ‘spell’ in the bathroom, wherein it’s revealed that jack broke danny’s arm ‘by accident’ after boozing and that he’s given up the sauce in favour of teetotledom, which imho provides necessary context for character development, theme and plot (a later brief scene in the gold room is also cut in which jack states ‘we don’t drink’). why kubrick thought excising jack’s crucial abusive alcoholism for the short-story version was a good idea is a mystery for the ages. enigma

    (eta i don’t think the ‘summer of 42’ scene i goofed on above is in the short cut either, but not positive about that)

  30. The Big Perm says:

    I guess The hotel that wanted to protect the room number was Timberline Lodge, which they used for some wide shots and exteriors. The interiors were sets and so were some of the facades of the building, but the wides were this hotel. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ADDED a 237 later on because who wouldn’t want to stay in it?

    They best thing that happened to that flick is no topiary hedge animals. That sounds so horrible, typical cheese that King usually ends his novels with. No hedge maze animal in a movie will ever, ever be scary. The maze is a much better idea, visually and thematically.

  31. leahnz says:

    the topiary animals that menace danny in the novel are freaky as hell and scare the shit out of him for good reason, not cheesy at all; if kubrick could have found a way to make them work in a psychological horror context it could have been epic. the maze served a decent substitute

  32. Edward Wilson says:

    I think the 119 works much better. The pacing is more concise. The narrative is more focused. Much more successful as a horror film.

    On the other hand, the 142 is more “interesting.”

  33. Edward Wilson says:

    I should say, I grew up with the 142. And I never thought it fully worked. But I got the 119 last year, and I watch it all the time.

  34. torpid bunny says:

    I’m fairly certain there is a tv version that is a couple minutes shorter or longer than the DVD. 144 minutes is sticking in my mind. I don’t know if that’s credit funny business or what, need to check.

  35. Don R. Lewis says:

    Having recently reread the book I cannot imagine how the topiary animals coming to life could have been cool in the early 80’s. Nowadays, with CGI, maybe. Maaaaybe. It’s something that reads better than can be pulled off onscreen. Like everything in DREAMCATCHER.

  36. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, I think maybe it reads well, but the reality onscreen is people would be menaced by walking bushes.

  37. christian says:

    The topiary animals were scary in the novel but the maze is to me the only inspired cinematic plot revision. But I think a Val Lewton’esque approach of shadows, sound effects and quick cuts for the topiary animals could work for the book’s more para-psychological tone.

  38. leahnz says:

    yeah in the dark ages of the early 80’s making moving topiary convincing would have been a tough sell for anybody, something very inventive would have been required…perhaps something akin to the way the terrifying angel statues in the dr who episode of ‘blink’ (w/carey mulligan) were handled could have been effective in portraying the cumulative anxiety and panic effect the looming, creeping animal figures have on danny’s psyche w/out even having to incorporate motion.

    (but of course kubrick’s ‘shining’ is ultimately far more concerned with jack’s psyche than danny’s, and structured accordingly — the maze as a both a metaphor for jack’s increasingly muddled, twisted mind and as the physical instrument causing his death/reincarnation/re-integration/re-absorption to his rightful place in the inner ‘life’ of the overlook means the maze is indispensable to the kubrickian version, so i guess in that respect the topiary vs maze debate is rather moot)

  39. torpid bunny says:

    I would guess Kubrick discarded the topiary because he liked the labyrinth better. The business about the tests not working out was probably true but SK wasn’t someone to back down from an fx problem. It’s obvious the labyrinth became pretty key to his whole visual structure.

  40. Don R. Lewis says:

    Waiiiit…SK= Stephen King and SK= Stanley Kubrick!!! Holy shit!! I think you’re onto something!!!!!

  41. yancyskancy says:

    Don: If only they’d gotten Sally Kellerman to play Wendy and DALLAS’s Steve Kanaly for Jack! With Sammy Kaye’s orchestra on the soundtrack!

  42. Don R. Lewis says:

    BOOM goes my mind.

  43. Chris says:

    They did topiary hedge animals in the Mick Garris-directed tv version of The Shining.

    Kubrick was right to leave that whack garbage out.

  44. storymark says:

    There is no stronger case for making changes in an adaptation than Garris’ version of The Shining.

  45. Don R. Lewis says:

    I’ve still yet to see the TV version of THE SHINING….with Netflix Instant would add it. They have THE STAND. Speaking of…cannot WAIT for the Ben Affleck version of THE STAND….hope he casts himself as Stu Redman. Although, I think Sinise could pull it off again as well.

  46. Mike says:

    I have a soft spot in my heart for The Stand. It was the first time I had seen the whole end of the world thing by way of illness, where they just went ahead and wiped out all of civilization. On network tv, no less.

    I never cared for Stu or the main girl storyline, but a lot of the supporting characters were where the really interesting stuff was gong on.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
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