The Shining (miniseries)
|Stephen King's The Shining|
|Written by||Stephen King|
|Directed by||Mick Garris|
|Starring||Rebecca De Mornay|
Melvin Van Peebles
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||3|
|Running time||273 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Lakeside Productions|
Warner Bros. Television
|Original release||April 27 –|
May 1, 1997
Jack Torrance's alcoholism and explosive temper have cost him his teaching job at Stovington, a respectable prep school. He is also on the verge of losing his family, after assaulting his young son Danny in a drunken rage just a year earlier. Horrified by what he has become, Jack tells his wife Wendy that should he ever start drinking again, he will leave them one way or another, implying that he would rather commit suicide than continue living as an alcoholic.
Now, nursing a life of sobriety and pulling in work as a writer, Jack takes on the job of looking after the Overlook Hotel, a large colonial building in a picturesque valley in the Colorado Rockies. Jack believes that the job will provide desperately needed funds and give him the time to complete his first play.
Upon entering the Overlook and meeting its head cook, Dick Hallorann, Danny discovers that his psychic powers grant him a form of telepathy. Danny has an adult mentor named Tony who talks to him in his visions and shows him the future. Hallorann tells Danny that he too "shines", and that Danny can contact him telepathically anytime he needs assistance. The Torrances are given a tour of the Overlook before being left alone in the hotel for the winter.
It gradually becomes evident that there is a malevolent force within the hotel that seems determined to use Danny for an unknown, possibly sinister purpose. This force manifests itself with flickering lamps and spectral voices and eventually a full-on masked ball from the Overlook's past. Danny is the first to fully notice the darker character of the hotel, having experienced visions and warnings that foreshadow what he and his parents will encounter over the winter.
The ghosts also appear to Jack, led by Delbert Grady, the Overlook's former steward who murdered his entire family and killed himself at the hotel's command. Grady and the other spirits tell Jack that Wendy and Danny are turning against him, and that his only option is to kill them. They also supply him with an open bar, and he begins drinking again. As Jack's sanity deteriorates, Wendy begins to fear for her and Danny's safety.
Hallorann, whom Danny had contacted telepathically, travels from Florida to Colorado, only to be assaulted by Jack with a croquet mallet and left for dead. Danny telepathically communicates with his father, who finally breaks free of the ghosts' grip, then realizes the boiler has been neglected. Danny, Wendy, and Hallorann (who had only been stunned by the attack) escape to safety. Jack sacrifices himself by allowing the boiler to explode and destroy the Overlook.
Ten years later, Danny graduates from high school - and we see Tony was Danny's adult incarnate self. (His full name is revealed to be Daniel Anthony Torrance.) Wendy and Halloran present at the ceremony. Jack's spirit is also present, looking on Danny with pride.
Back in Colorado, the Overlook is being rebuilt as a resort for the summer, as the ghosts of the original hotel start to wait for more potential victims.
- Steven Weber as Jack Torrance
- Rebecca De Mornay as Wendy Torrance
- Courtland Mead as Danny Torrance
- Wil Horneff as Tony/Adult Danny
- Melvin Van Peebles as Dick Hallorann
- Pat Hingle as Pete Watson
- Elliott Gould as Stuart Ullman
- John Durbin as Horace Derwent
- Stanley Anderson as Delbert Grady
- Cynthia Garris as Lorraine Massey (Woman in Room 217)
- Lisa Thornhill as Rita Hayworth Look-alike
- Michael O'Neill as Doctor Daniel Edwards
- Jan Van Sickle as Al Shockley
- Stephen King as Gage Creed, the orchestra conductor
The creation of this miniseries is attributed to Stephen King's dissatisfaction with director Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film of the same name. In order to receive Kubrick's approval to re-adapt The Shining into a program closer to the original story, King had to agree in writing to eschew his frequent public criticism of Kubrick's film, save for the sole commentary that he was disappointed with Jack Nicholson's portrayal of Jack Torrance as though he had been insane before his arrival at the Overlook Hotel.
Aside from the motive behind the creation of the miniseries, the 1997 rendition featured an important set piece that helped to inspire the original story: The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. King used the hotel that inspired him to write the book as the main exterior and the design of the interior sets. Scenes were also shot using the real interior; however, specific pieces of set dressing were used to enhance the old-fashioned feel of the building.
Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly reviewed the miniseries, saying, "There's a deep, rich creepiness suffusing Stephen King's The Shining that makes this miniseries the most frightening TV movie ever made." Ray Richmond of Variety stated, "At six hours, its slowness is carefully calculated; the edge-of-your-seat creepiness unfolds with a languid believability that will rope in viewers early and hold them. This mini earns its massive length, using every minute to paint a picture of surprising emotional complexity and depth."
However, Tucker and Richmond were outliers in their glowing approval. A majority of critics considered the miniseries inferior to the Kubrick adaptation and often citing the latter as a classic of cinema and masterpiece of the horror-genre.
Drew Grant of Observer ranked the miniseries as the worst made-for-TV King adaptation of all time, going so far as to describe it as a "crap-fest." Tom Shales of The Washington Post, in his review titled "'The Shining': Recycled Trash," advised his readers to "avoid [the miniseries] like the plague, because it is the plague."
The Shining won two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Makeup and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries or a Special. It was also nominated for Outstanding Miniseries but lost to Prime Suspect 5: Errors of Judgement in the category. It also won two Saturn Awards for Best Single Genre Television Presentation and Best Genre TV Actor (Steven Weber). Courtland Mead was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Movie / Pilot / Mini-Series: Young Actor Age 10 or Under.
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