The Shining is Stanley Kubrick’s most terrifying film and perfectly captures one man’s descent into madness.
One of the big questions asked by the film is; Was Jack Torrance always mad or was it The Overlook Hotel that drove him to turn on his own family with an axe?
There is a scene that provides some interesting backstory to Jack’s character and also the Overlook’s hold over him. Jack makes his first trip to The Gold Room after Wendy accuses him of hitting Danny, who has returned injured from room 237.
Frustrated and angry, he visits the deserted ballroom with its empty bar. Wearily declaring that he would sell his soul “for a goddamn glass of beer”. As he slowly pulls his hands from his face, he smiles at the camera and says “Hello Lloyd, little slow tonight isn’t it?” before Nicholson makes that trademark laugh of his.
Is he talking to himself? The audience? It turns out that Lloyd is there, ready to furnish Jack with a bottle of bourbon, a glass and some ice. Outside of The Grady girls, Lloyd is the first physical manifestation seen in The Overlook and the first to appear to Jack.
Joe Turkel (who also appeared as Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner) plays the role of the bartender perfectly. He supplies Jack with drink and listens to his troubles. Is he a familiar face designed to gain Jack’s trust with the Overlook?
Jack talks about his relationship with his family. Hinting at past troubles with alcoholism; a thinly disguised hatred of his wife and incident of abuse with Danny.
It is the opening that the Overlook needs to get into Jack’s head and use this information to twist his feelings for his family against him to serve the hotel. It is the point of no return in The Shining.
The scene also ends with a rather amusing response from Jack to Wendy, given his own fragile mental state.
Feast your eyes…
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Stanley Kubrick & Diane Johnson/Stanley Kubrick
STARS: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd
RUNTIME: 119 mins (UK) / 142 mins (USA)