Stanley Kubrick was a notorious perfectionist – just ask any actor who worked with him and had to do hundreds of takes of a scene just to appease the auteur. This fanatical devotion to perfectly capturing his distinctive cinematic visions also applied to editing. Kubrick wasn’t above releasing a film, deciding he wasn’t entirely happy with it, recutting it in those first few days after the premiere, and putting out a new version before the film had opened everywhere. He was able to do this because films used to open regionally and not on 3000 screens at once – but it was still quite the undertaking.
Kubrick employed this tactic at least twice in his career, with two of his most famous films. The first, 2001: A Space Odyssey, saw the director chop out a whopping 19 minutes after the film had premiered. Those scenes were thought lost forever until they turned up last December – but they haven’t been released in a way the general public can easily see them.
The director pulled a similar move with The Shining, excising over four minutes of footage in the first three or four days of release. That footage has now also been recovered – and if you live in New York City, the Dryden Theater will be showing a restored print of the film on October 22nd. Talk about once in a lifetime opportunities…
In The Shining’s case, Kubrick cut a coda from the end of the film. The sequences come right before the push-in to the photo of Jack Torrance in the Overlook Hotel. In the first scene, State Troopers look for Torrance’s corpse, but seem incapable of seeing it even though it’s right in front of them.
The film then shifts to a longer sequence, wherein Overlook boss Stuart Ullman visits Danny and Wendy in the hospital, trying to convince them that nothing supernatural actually occurred in the hotel. He then tells them that Jack’s body was never found and then gives Danny a tennis ball – not unlike the one that was used to lure him into Room 237.
It remains unclear why Kubrick decided to cut the footage, but audiences who’d like to see it firsthand will have to line up at the Dryden early – there will be no advance ticket sales for this screening. If you plan on attending, let us know – we’ll be expecting a full report on this recovered footage.
[via Bleeding Edge]