When THE SHINING was released on May 23,1980 audiences witnessed a somewhat different cut of the infamous Jack Nicholson film. That's because the overly obsessed Stanley Kubrick re-cut the film a week after it premiered, removing about two minutes from its ending. Those frames are now lost in space, but thanks to Lee Unkrich (TOY STORY 3) who runs The Overlook Hotel, a truly great SHINING fan site, we are now closer than ever to seeing what Kubrick cut out from the flick.
The screenplay for the deleted scenes reveals "the hospital ending" that happened in the original cut just after the shot of the framed photo from 1921 in the hotel lobby. The only couple of things that remain from the “hospital ending” are some continuity Polaroids (below). We also know that there are two actors listed on the end credits that don't appear on the finished film, Burnell Tucker as “Policeman” and Robin Pappas as “Nurse”, so we know for sure that this scene was actually real.
Kubrick’s co-screenwriter on THE SHINING, Diane Johnson said that: “Kubrick had filmed a final scene that was cut, where Wendy and Danny are recovering from the shock in a hospital and where Ullman visits them. Kubrick felt that we should see them in the hospital so we would know that they were all right. He had a soft spot for Wendy and Danny and thought that, at the end of a horror film, the audience should be reassured that everything was back to normal.” I guess the A CLOCKWORK ORANGE director changed his mind about the whole scenario at the last minute.
I think THE SHINING'S ambiguous ending is really powerful and captures the bleak spirit of the whole film.
Do you think Kubrick's decision to delete this scene was the proper one?