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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 June 2008
We all know it's a great film so instead of me going on about that or how average the cover looks(!), I'll talk about what you're spending the extra £'s on, the Blu Ray conversion.... There have been a number of older films that have been put on to Blu Ray which, simply, have been very poor (see my review on Bullitt (another Warner title FYI)). The point of Blu Ray should be to showcase the very best in picture and audio quality that is currently available. Thankfully, this title has converted very well. The picture quality is exceptional, it makes a 28yr old film look very recent. Jack has never looked so maniacal! And again, the audio quality just brings a whole new experience to the film, adding an even darker edge than you were previously aware of.

I'd fully recommend the Blu Ray version of the film, top marks.
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After thirty two years, finally, I get to see my favourite film of all time on the silver screen. And, for the first time in Britain, it's the original 'Directors Cut' of "The Shining" that he released in the US. : To say that Kubrick was hampered is a fallacy, he repaced the film for a shorter running time and took 32 brutal minutes out for the European release, which only now has officially been seen in the UK.

Not that I haven't seen it. The Kubrick fan would have been stunned in 1993, when Central Television in the Midlands - where I was living at the time - broadcast, unannounced, the full 144 minute version of the film in the middle of the night. I was sat there at the time, goofing off in my summer holidays, jaw aghast at the new scenes I'd never seen before, that I never knew existed, that quickly became part of the fabric of my world.: no longer did the conversation end when Wendy entered the Ballroom, it carried on long past. No longer did the momentary confusion at the climax seem so brief, but became longer and more intricate. The whole film was richer and stronger and more luxariant, and it was only in 2001, with the advent of DVD, I managed to own a non-grainy, non off-air broadcast. The first DVD I bought was an unrated US import - and I bought a special hacked DVD player to watch it : a poorly transferred 4:3 DVD with the barest of transfer, and visible, noticable hairs, pops, and crackles on the print. And it still looked amazing.

Looking at the European version now, Kubricks cuts seem arbitrary, graceless, and obvious. Scenes where transitions, fades, and rich dialogue were paced are castrated. The dialogue cuts mid sentence. Introductions are removed, the discussion of Jack's alcoholism, Danny's invisible friend, dislocated shoulders, and small pieces of dialogue that removed plotholes are excised. The European version seems abrupt, rude even, and the hotel doesn't have quite so much menace : the luxurious toying the Hotel takes with the Torrances (it has all the time in the world, after all), is telescoped, and instead of a slow, vicious torture the Hotel seems to spend much less time getting to business.

Seeing it on the big screen allows me to see the film in a way I haven't seen it in twenty years. I was able to absorb the details, watch the backgrounds, see the film, and not just follow the plot and dialogue. I was following the movement between shots of ties, appearing and reappearing chairs, subtle visual clues ("EXIT" signs at incongruous places), paper refilling itself in the typewriter and changing colour, the bizarre, impossible geography, the reflections in the mirrors (and the absence of them), the way that parts of the building move in relation to each other ; for example the garden maze appears, reappears, the entrance moves nearer the building, the maze changes shape, and so forth. Despite protestations of the crew, I am fairly sure that Kubrick meant at least most of this.

"The Shining" is a blank canvas to some : to others a rich tapestry of complex, interweaving signals and meanings. To me, it a luxurious, epic horror film that presents a tale of, as Kubrick put it "One family going insane together", but also, and more than that, it is one of the finest horror films of all time, because it respects itself. It takes the genre, and turns it inside out, making the "Monster" so much more than a physical beast, exploring the darkness of the psyche with psychological disembowelment instead of mere physical dismemberment. It treats a horror film as a tale as worthy of being told, and as epic and carefully constructed as any obvious Oscarbait. The Characters are well sketched (albeit, not always well rounded), and the acting somewhat lacking in obvious hamming up : aside from Jack's possessed character, who is ham on toast with cheese, as he unravels. Even the obvious jump scares - the visions of murdered people, skeletons, and so on and so forth - are designed more to make the participants collapse than to scare the audience, as the hotel itself is terrorising and playing with the Torrences, in the same way that Kubrick is playing with the audience. Ultimately, it is, to me at least, the finest film I have seen ; one that pits ordinary people in an mundane environment against a foe that may not even exist and is so far beyond their comprehension that they only perceive it in the way that most people perceive a black hole ; by inference and guesswork. The true monster in the dark is all around them, utterly normal on the surface, and hidden within the walls, which is both themselves and to an extent within their own minds. The Hotel is never seen 'attacking' anyone explictly - even the shower room sequence is portrayed ambigiously as a dream vision which may, like Lloyd, like Grady, like the packed Gold Room and the unlocked door, be a projection inside Jack's mind. Pictures in a book, that's all it is. Pictures in a book. Or on a screen.
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on 23 August 2004
'The Shining' on DVD is essential viewing, not only because the film itself is one of the most beautifully shot horror classics of all time, but also because it comes accompanied by a wonderful documentary. 'The Making of The Shining' provides a rare insight into director Stanley Kubrick ('A Clockwork Orange') and also features actors Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall at work on set, both in and out of character. From this invaluable footage, you will learn to admire those who do the business behind the scenes and gain a good appreciation for what it takes to create a masterpiece.
As a movie, The Shining is thoroughly watchable from start to finish. Jack Nicholson steals the show as the ex-alcoholic, ex-teacher who is looking for solitude for a 'writing project', and the Overlook Hotel appears to be just what he is looking for as he pitches in as caretaker during the snowbound winter months. Joining him at the Overlook are his wife Wendy (Duvall) and his talented son Danny (Lloyd), whose special ability to 'shine' causes him to fear (and rightly so) the dark secrets of the hotels past.
With The Shining, director Stanley Kubrick has thankfully created an intellectual horror movie rather than merely played it for shocks. His superb pacing builds the tension up gradually, and with so many memorable scenes here, there is enough to make you return time and again, where you will always find something new.
I cannot recommend this film enough; if you haven't seen it, what are you waiting for?
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on 31 December 2001
A note for the curious. Ever since the film was first released, THE SHINING has existed in multiple versions. The film originally ran for a little over 2h25 but a single scene in the epilogue to the film was cut by Kubrick after the opening week-end (never to be seen again). Thereafter, the film has existed in TWO distinct editions. The first is just under 2h25. It is available on R1 DVD and Video but has not (to my knowledge) ever been available in the UK on either video or DVD. The second edition is approx 1h50. It is the version released outside the US in cinemas in 1980 and is available on video and now on DVD.
The differences between the two versions are principally scenes deleted from the first half of the film although there appear to be some occasions when some shots in some scenes appear to have been re-edited using different camera angles. The majority of the deleted material either sets up in greater detail the situation or the characters or both. [This will explain why ANNE JACKSON appears on the opening credits of the 1h50 version whilst her character (a doctor who treats Danny after his first "shining" of the Overlook Hotel) does not appear at all. Her role was deleted in its entirety from the 2h25 version].
Why Kubrick made the changes (and it was Kubrick who made them), I do not know. Why there are two different versions available commercially (albeit in different marketplaces), I don't know. Should you want the 2h25 version, see Amazon.com in either their video or DVD sections.
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on 6 July 2009
Assuming people are familiar with this classic film, this Blu ray transfer looks amazingly clean and fresh. Great to see older films look as good as if they were released yesterday.I much prefer this shorter directors cut (which was the original theatrical cut actually) rather than the much longer USA version that comes in at 144 minutes. I have owned the longer version but found it bloated and slow, with much reduced tension and momentum. The additional scenes would be interesting as bonus features but do not help the film at all.

This UK release of The Shining on Blu ray is the one to get.... and this shorter version was the director Stanley Kubrick's prefered version. If you've got an old dvd of this I think you'd be pleasently surprised at the difference on Blu ray. The bonus features are excellent too.
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on 9 May 2009
1 - the UK cut is Kubrick's preferred cut, the longer US cut contained scenes SK inserted to make the story more understandable for the US audience - although any fan would own both.

2- this blu ray has not been reframed, in-fact this the first time that we are receiving it in its correct ratio. SK composed this film in 1.85:1, within the compositions there is a safety net protected 1.33:1 area which was intended for TV broadcasts this is the version that was on the previous DVD - so that is actually the cropped butchered print.
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on 29 June 2001
I have seen many of the adaptations of Stephen King's books but "The Shining" takes the biscuit, and this biscuit is chocolate covered! I read the book first and it had me quivering in my pants, and the film displays the same eerie carisma thanks to the amazing Stanley Kubrick and the talents of Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. The beautiful but somewhat freaky setting in the Rockies brings true character to this orignal horror film, bringing light to the awe inspiring description of Stephen King. The ending of the film is truely brilliant thanks to the almighty freakiness of Jack Nicholson's insane Jack Torrance. Best bit - bathroom scene. Worst bit - before they enter the hotel (goes on for ages). Basically the film is............out of this world.
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on 8 November 2015
Ok so this film now may be 35 going on 36yrs old but it's as good today as when it was released in 1980 (i still remember seeing it on the big screen on its release).
Ok so if it's tons n oodles of blood guts n gore you want then maybe this won't be up your avenue, but if you like chilling atmospheric movies then this is a must.
Jack Nicholson delivers one of his best roles as the chilling Jack Torrence aided by Shelley Duvall his wife.
The film was actually filmed at the Overlook hotel as in the movie.
The camerawork is full on and gives the eeriness to the story of the movie. The flashback scenes of the little girl twins used to give me shivers when i was younger though now I'm somewhat older still has the eeriness of when i first saw it.
The ballroom scene of when Jack meets Lloyd is eerie too.
The story and the hotel are just the perfect receipe for an absorbing film and the acting is excellent from all.
Being a Stephen King story you wouldn't wish any less and it certainly delivers.
There is a remake of this film buy it is nowhere near as good as the original. I've seen the remake and it's rubbish!
Thanks to Amazon for the speedy delivery.....well impressed
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on 5 August 2016
What an excellent movie that was nearly completely spoiled by Shelley Duvall (Wendy). She steels every scene by drawing the viewers gaze to her horrendous over the top acting and by contorting her all ready haunting face which leave the audience queasy and disoriented. Jack Nicolson puts in a stellar performance along with the young boy who plays Danny. This however was not enough to take attention away from the erratic, eye bulging, amateur performance by Shelley Duvall. I cant understand how this hideous actress made it through the casting to get such a lead role. Her harrowing voice and gargoyle features gave me chills more than Jack's performance ever could.
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on 28 May 2016
Classic horror / psychological thriller, looks surprisingly good in blu-ray considering it's age and darker visuals. I was glad to find this the extended US version, which adds some extra, interesting scenes here and there to flesh out the story more. Great cinematography, use of modern / contemporary classical music to enrich the disturbing, unpredictable nature of the film and of course a thrillingly, uninhibited performance by Jack Nicholson.
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