Making ‘The Shining’ (1980)

On the one hand, it’s really cool that this 35-minute behind-the-scenes documentary about one of cinema’s most famous horror movies – not to mention a rare on-set glimpse of Stanley Kubrick at work courtesy of daughter Vivian Kubrick – is available: Having directed some of the best movies ever, it’s impossible to ignore the mythos and gravitas that Kubrick carries. However, other than that solemnity, this is basically a crude assembly of B-roll that happens to catch some of cinema’s heavy hitters at work. Jack Nicholson comes off casually confident and obviously emboldened by his chummy relationship with Kubrick, which doesn’t extend to co-star Shelley Duvall: According to the on-set footage included and an interview with Duvall included here, Kubrick was barely able to contain his disdain for the actress while disrespecting her boundaries in order to achieve his cinematic aims. In retrospect, it’s the textbook definition of a hostile work environment that’s made all the more problematic by Duvall’s after-the-fact acquiescence that the finished product was worth the abuse. That being said, given its short running time and the cache of its subject matter, it’s something of an electrifying viewing experience for movie buffs, albeit one highlighting outdated professional ethics that can be jarring to a modern viewer.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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