“Midnight, And The Stars And…Who?”

Here’s an interesting little piece of movie trivia from Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining“:

“The 1921 photograph at the end of the film was a genuine 1920’s photo, with Jack Nicholson’s head airbrushed onto the body of another man. Stanley Kubrick originally planned to use extras and shoot the photo himself, but he realized he couldn’t make it look any better than the real thing.”

I’ve always (ALWAYS) known that a real photo was used for the film and I’ve always been fascinated with it and the faces in it for that very reason. As a matter of fact, I even have a framed copy of it in my living room which is always good for creeping visitors out.

1

But who was removed from the photograph as Jack Nicholson was airbrushed in and what did he look like? Whose arm and body is that doubling for Ol’ Jacky Boy there?

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Well, so far as I can tell, history doesn’t seem to have recorded his name but here’s the elusive devil right here:

Shining

I’ve spent YEARS trying to track this photo down and it was only recently that I found it on a very informative website dedicated to all things SHINING…

Courtesy of  The Overlook Hotel

The original, unaltered period photo into which actor Jack Nicholson was composited to create the iconic photograph seen in the final shots of The Shining.

These images were found in a book entitled The Complete Airbrush and Photo-Retouching Manual, which was originally published in 1985. The book also identifies the retouching artist responsible for this work, Joan Honour Smith.

The original photographs of Jack Nicholson are located in the Stanley Kubrick Archive in London, and inspection of them reveals that only Nicholson’s head, collar, and bowtie were used; the rest of the figure is the anonymous man in the original 1923 photograph.

Interestingly, close examination of images from the film reveals that two different photo-composites were used: one for the long tracking shot which pushes down the hall towards the photo, and a different one for the extreme close-up. Nicholson’s composited head rotates from one photo to the next, and his shoulder shifts, partially obscuring the woman holding the cigarette behind him.

Retouching

You May Also Be Interested In…
* REDRUM
* The Doors Of “The Shining” Cake
* What You May (Or May Not) Have Seen Hidden In The Shining

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