Among the thousand memories related to 4 July, Independence Day in the United States, there is one to which we are particularly attached. It was a very special occasion, dating back to over 90 years ago.
We refer to the gala ball on July 4, 1921 at the Overlook Hotel.
We really participated in it. Or maybe not?
A very special 4th of July at the Overlook Hotel
Before starting our journey, we invite passengers who have ever seen Shining to leave the carriage. In fact, we are fully entering the finale of this film that has become a cult. So if you are not prepared on the subject, you can get off at this station, run up streaming services (like Infinity TV or Rakuten TV) and come running back here. For everyone else, we are ready to go.
"Overlook Hotel, ball of July 4th 1921". It is on this writing that Kubrick's film ends, imprinted on a black and white photograph in the halls of the disquieting hotel. A conclusion that has entered history, slow, in contrast with what one can expect from the world of horror. Yet that's exactly where The Shining leaves its mark on you, with that change of pace and above all that exceptional ambiguity.
Many have wondered what that ending meant. Who is Jack Torrance? Why is it in a photo from 1921? Is it really him? Is he alive, is he dead, is he a ghost or what else? That sequence, that slow advance towards a sequence of shots until reaching the most mysterious one, contains in a nutshell the whole movie. Specifically, his being clear and ambiguous at the same time.
Because the story of The Shining on the surface is pretty straightforward: a man goes crazy for isolation and tries to kill his wife and son, who escape in time. The point, however, is that it does not stop there, but takes a step forward and invites us to dig deeper and deeper.
“What do you say, can you do it, Lloyd? Aren't you too busy? "
Before we said that this film has "become" a cult and it is not a term chosen at random. Although the commercial result had been good from the start, the criticism was not equally benevolent. What is now considered one of the best horror films ever was contested by some at the release, so much so that it got two nominations for the Razzie Awards (a sort of Oscar in reverse) including one directed by Kubrick. Unthinkable to see him today.
This is because The Shining reveals his disruptive force especially in the long run. It is in the moments when you stop to think, to wonder what is hidden inside this story, that you understand. Or rather, you don't understand and that's why you stay with open mouth.
For example, you can struggle for hours in search of a meaning behind the Ghosts that populate the Overlook Hotel. We could take them as true mysterious presences from beyond, or consider them projections of Jack's mind, one metaphor of his walk in madness. After all, the appearances increase in number and strength over time, parallel to the exhaustion of the protagonist.
And what does this really come from? It could be the certain isolation, or the frustration for her writer's block. Or again, it is something that has always harbored within itself or that in any case was born already before arrival at the Overlook Hotel. Maybe it's a combination of all this or maybe there are still many other interpretations. Because Stanley Kubrick's Shining narratively is this: a story that we can read in a thousand different ways, but which does not renounce a superficial clarity. Arrived at the ending of the film we have an idea of what happened and only then will we begin to question it.
July 4th, Overlook Hotel, a key that opens 237 doors
That ball at the Overlook Hotel, that of July 4, 1921 becomes the perfect metaphor of all this. From that photo, all the possible ramifications of The Shining's analysis can be developed. Just look at it to ask yourself many questions and find out how broad the panorama of interpretations.
What's Jack doing in a 1921 photo? But then, is it really him? Has he been a regular at the Overlook Hotel since that 4th of July? Or it has become after these events? He died frozen in the maze after all, maybe he became a ghost, as happened to Delbert Grady, the previous keeper. Or does that image simply tell us that he has found peace? Who is in a big party, finally smiling? Unless… We are sure Does that photo really exist? What if we're just metaphorically exploring Jack's dying thoughts? And then, how does all this fit in with the Indian cemetery, the glitter, Halloran, the tennis ball and…?
Explore all the streets, follow the flow of thought that arises from focusing on The Shining is fascinating and disorienting. You are faced with countless options, all in turn with multiple bifurcations, all to be followed to have fun getting lost in them for hours and hours, like in a maze. And it's probably not a coincidence.
But now the game of interpretation must end. It's time to pull out the tuxedo from the closet, freshen up your hi-hat skills and get ready for tonight's party. July 4th, 1921, Overlook Hotel. We see them.
Ah, two suggestions: avoid room 237. And if you hear a knock, don't answer.
Wendy, honey? Do you wanna open this fucking door?
Discount Shining Ext.Edit. (4K + Br)
- Nicholson, Duvall, Lloyd, Crothers, Nelson, Stone (Actor)