hypertext, words and more

The Shining’s iconic Overlook Hotel July 4th Ball photo was created using unconventional means

The infamous photo from the film, "The Shining." Depicted is a 1920's party/ballroom scene in black-and-white. On the center-bottom of the photo, text is overlaid in front of Jack Torrence's visage. It reads: "Overlook Hotel July 4th Ball 1921"

According to an interview between the Kubrick and Michel Ciment, Kubrick attempted to create this photograph initially using extras. But was unhappy with the result. The photo we now know, was ultimately shopped together. Kubrick literally photographed Jack Nicholson from an approximate high angle shot peering down. Then airbrushed Nicholson into the “picture library” photo Kubrick found. Incredible.

Did you have all those extras pose for the last shot?

“No, they were in a photograph taken in 1921 which we found in a picture library. I originally planned to use extras, but it proved impossible to make them look as good as the people in the photograph. So I very carefully photographed Jack, matching the angle and the lighting of the 1921 photograph, and shooting him from different distances too, so that his face would be larger and smaller on the negative. This allowed the choice of an image size which when enlarged would match the grain structure in the original photograph. The photograph of Jack’s face was then airbrushed into the main photograph, and I think the result looked perfect. Every face around Jack is an archetype of the period.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.