Before one even gets to the movie, one has to mention what I’m certain is the finest trailer ever made for any film. Two elevator doors in a hotel lobby. Clunky furniture. Credits roll for one minute. Then … one of the doors opens and an ocean of blood flows out in super-slow-motion. Well, the audience I was with was totally stunned. I think a hit was assured from that moment on. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
Which is not to say it is one of Kubrick’s masterpieces. Stephen King was so upset with it that he had it re-made (badly, I’m sorry to say). And I agree with King on some points. The worst of all was having Scatman Crothers travel all the way back to the Overlook Hotel only to be killed the minute he walks in the door. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
On the other hand, there were the usual amazing cinematic touches that Kubrick does so well, and King can’t really equal in a book. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. The scenes in the giant ballroom with the people from the Roaring Twenties, for instance. The horrifying beautiful woman in the bathtub. Or the scenes of Danny riding his big wheel over the floor and then the carpet, the floor and the carpet, with the sound turning on and off. The Steadicam was still new, and this was the best use of it so far. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. The whole damn thing, the cavernous interiors of the hotel, and even the outdoors and the maze, was shot in studios in England. All that snow was salt. The development was so damn good, it’s too bad the ending was a let-down. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.