Room 237

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Donald Binks

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Room 237

PostSun Feb 11, 2018 3:27 pm

Last night I watched a documentary under the above title and was thoroughly amazed. I must be one of that small group of people who look at a picture and just worry about whether or not it entertains me. There are, however, a number of people who see a lot more in pictures than I would ever have dreamed about.

Did you know then that Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" (1980) was full of hidden meanings? That there were symbols placed everywhere - all meaning something or other? What really got me though was that Mr. Kubrick also planned the film so it could also run backwards and then when superimposed on itself going forwards - another whole lot of symbolism evolved? Now, this is clever stuff.

Apparently Mr. Kubrick was alluding to the Nazi holocaust in some parts of the film, particularly by the appearance of the number 42. Now, as anyone would be able to work out, this refers to 1942, the year that the Jewish genocide was planned. Somehow I missed this completely. Then, there was a lot that would suggest Mr. Kubrick's involvement in faking the Lunar landing footage. Well, I have heard that the United States Government conspired to fool everyone about that - but I must admit that when watching a thriller/horror picture set in a hotel in the mountains, I didn't for one moment think I was supposed to be wondering about trips to the moon?

I suppose the answer to all this is, I never went to a film appreciation school or enrolled in any University courses that would take me through everything I would need to know about filming. Not that I have anything against such scholarly learning. I just look at 'em. (The pictures) - and thought I could get by. But, after seeing this documentary I think I will have to look a bit harder. It seems people make pictures not just to entertain. Not many people know that.
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Re: Room 237

PostSun Feb 11, 2018 3:39 pm

You also have not listened to enough records played backwards while stoned. I don't know how you got them to play backwards, but there you go.

Bob
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Re: Room 237

PostSun Feb 11, 2018 3:48 pm

boblipton wrote:You also have not listened to enough records played backwards while stoned. I don't know how you got them to play backwards, but there you go.

Bob

First, though,
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Everybody must get stoned"...
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Re: Room 237

PostSun Feb 11, 2018 3:50 pm

But I thought 42 was the answer to life, the universe, and everything???
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Re: Room 237

PostSun Feb 11, 2018 3:53 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:But I thought 42 was the answer to life, the universe, and everything???

It is! When - - - - - - -"I'm ba-a-a-a-a-ack!"
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Re: Room 237

PostSun Feb 11, 2018 3:58 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:But I thought 42 was the answer to life, the universe, and everything???


No, it's the answer to "What is Six times Eight."

Bob
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Re: Room 237

PostSun Feb 11, 2018 4:15 pm

boblipton wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:But I thought 42 was the answer to life, the universe, and everything???


No, it's the answer to "What is Six times Eight."

Bob

When a universe is off by 6 it means it is not universal but refers to earthly matters, and you can find naturally occurring instances of 6 in magnified photos of water crystals and snowflakes and probably psilocybe, too. Slice open a tomato or bell pepper and you often find six chambers - and psilocybe, too. Now play your record backwards and see if you get a parallel answer. If not, you'd better recalculate.
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 7:52 am

There's a new interview with SHINING co-writer Diane Johnson. Go to website scrapsfromtheloft.com. Maybe better to google that and add "Diane Johnson." Article is dated 1/8/18.
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 12:11 pm

westegg wrote:There's a new interview with SHINING co-writer Diane Johnson. Go to website scrapsfromtheloft.com. Maybe better to google that and add "Diane Johnson." Article is dated 1/8/18.
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 1:40 pm

Part of the point of Room 237, of course, is that too much thinking about this (there's a can of Calumet baking powder, therefore it's all about the genocide of the Native Americans!) is nutty.

But there are certainly recurring themes and deliberate allusions in Kubrick's work. There are so many references to birth in 2001, a movie in which mankind has a baby, and I don't think those are accidents.

Someone observed of Kubrick that all of his films are about the Holocaust, which is to say, all are about how we apes, under a veneer of civilization, find it all too easy to go savage and murderous. Hence so often we see officers, aristocrats, etc. coming up with refined and civilized ways to justify slaughter, or just to lie endlessly to each other.

In The Shining, the veneer of civilization is the family. The notion I find most compelling is that child abuse is the primary subject of the film, which obviously it is from the perspective of Jack being a threat to Danny.

But one theory is that Jack, too, is an abused child turned abuser, perhaps as a result of his own "shining" powers which he repressed (had beaten out of him?) and never understood and accepted as Danny does, and the hotel is a sort of representation of that cycle within the family; the impossible to reconcile timeline of when Jack, or Grady, might have previously been at the hotel and committed murder is a representation of Jack's own screwed up damaged child, abusive adult psyche.

Can I prove that was the intent? No. But it casts many parts of the film in an interesting light to think of Jack that way.

Another thing I find intriguing about the film are the allusions to Hollywood cartoons, which of course were the earliest way cinema embedded itself in our psyches at the time the film was made. There are explicit references to Warner Bros. cartoons, but more interesting are the half-hidden reflections of Disney characters throughout the film... not least this one noticed by one Rob Ager, in which Shelley Duvall is seen to be dressed the same as a figurine of Goofy in the background:

http://www.collativelearning.com/the%20 ... p%203.html

What does it mean? I'm not sure, but as A.I.'s Pinocchio fixation would show, total filmmaker Kubrick definitely was fascinated by total filmmaker Disney.

I guess call me a moderate Shining conspiracy theorist. Many things are intentional allusions; many others are allusive enough that they can be interpreted in multiple ways.
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 1:45 pm

Donald Binks wrote:Last night I watched a documentary under the above title and was thoroughly amazed. I must be one of that small group of people who look at a picture and just worry about whether or not it entertains me. There are, however, a number of people who see a lot more in pictures than I would ever have dreamed about.

Did you know then that Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" (1980) was full of hidden meanings? That there were symbols placed everywhere - all meaning something or other? What really got me though was that Mr. Kubrick also planned the film so it could also run backwards and then when superimposed on itself going forwards - another whole lot of symbolism evolved? Now, this is clever stuff.

Apparently Mr. Kubrick was alluding to the Nazi holocaust in some parts of the film, particularly by the appearance of the number 42. Now, as anyone would be able to work out, this refers to 1942, the year that the Jewish genocide was planned. Somehow I missed this completely. Then, there was a lot that would suggest Mr. Kubrick's involvement in faking the Lunar landing footage. Well, I have heard that the United States Government conspired to fool everyone about that - but I must admit that when watching a thriller/horror picture set in a hotel in the mountains, I didn't for one moment think I was supposed to be wondering about trips to the moon?

I suppose the answer to all this is, I never went to a film appreciation school or enrolled in any University courses that would take me through everything I would need to know about filming. Not that I have anything against such scholarly learning. I just look at 'em. (The pictures) - and thought I could get by. But, after seeing this documentary I think I will have to look a bit harder. It seems people make pictures not just to entertain. Not many people know that.


I went to a few film (evening) courses during the 1970s when one watched the movies on 16mm. In addition I saw THE SHINING when it came out and wasn't too keen on it then. The last time, aside from one or two striking scenes and shots I decided that the film was not for me and would not watch it again (not even backwards) without good reason. Even Mr King disliked the bloody thing, so Donald, you are not alone!
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 1:51 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Part of the point of Room 237, of course, is that too much thinking about this (there's a can of Calumet baking powder, therefore it's all about the genocide of the Native Americans!) is nutty.

But there are certainly recurring themes and deliberate allusions in Kubrick's work. There are so many references to birth in 2001, a movie in which mankind has a baby, and I don't think those are accidents.

Someone observed of Kubrick that all of his films are about the Holocaust, which is to say, all are about how us apes, under a veneer of civilization, find it all too easy to go savage and murderous. Hence so often we see officers, aristocrats, etc. coming up with refined and civilized ways to justify slaughter, or just to lie endlessly to each other.

In The Shining, the veneer of civilization is the family. The notion I find most compelling is that child abuse is the primary subject of the film, which obviously it is from the perspective of Jack being a threat to Danny.

But one theory is that Jack, too, is an abused child turned abuser, perhaps as a result of his own "shining" powers which he repressed (had beaten out of him?) and never understood and accepted as Danny does, and the hotel is a sort of representation of that cycle within the family; the impossible to reconcile timeline of when Jack, or Grady, might have previously been at the hotel and committed murder is a representation of Jack's own screwed up damaged child, abusive adult psyche.

Can I prove that was the intent? No. But it casts many parts of the film in an interesting light to think of Jack that way.

Another thing I find intriguing about the film are the allusions to Hollywood cartoons, which of course were the earliest way cinema embedded itself in our psyches at the time the film was made. There are explicit references to Warner Bros. cartoons, but more interesting are the half-hidden reflections of Disney characters throughout the film... not least this one noticed by one Rob Ager, in which Shelley Duvall is seen to be dressed the same as a figurine of Goofy in the background:

http://www.collativelearning.com/the%20 ... p%203.html" target="_blank

What does it mean? I'm not sure, but as A.I.'s Pinocchio fixation would show, total filmmaker Kubrick definitely was fascinated by total filmmaker Disney.

I guess call me a moderate Shining conspiracy theorist. Many things are intentional allusions; many others are allusive enough that they can be interpreted in multiple ways.


I did that sort of thing when I was an English lit major in college, Mike. Now I’m a “Buster sure fell down funny in that one” guy.

Bob
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 1:54 pm

Making people laugh is the lowest form of comedy.
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 1:58 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Making people laugh is the lowest form of comedy.



So say the people who can’t figure out how to do it.

Bob
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 2:03 pm

Michael O'Donoghue said it, so the jury is out.
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 2:12 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:Michael O'Donoghue said it, so the jury is out.


I know. Like I said.

Bob
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 3:37 pm

We used to have a fellah on the T.V. of a Saturday night who used to introduce classic films of Hollywood. Usually those films that the network had to purchase in order to show a Blockbuster. I used to watch him because I found it amusing firstly by how enthusiastic he was and secondly by his infinite knowledge of so much inconsequential detail from each film. As an example he could say something like, "Now, have a look at the vase on the pedestal at the bottom of the stairs as Humphrey Bogart descends them. Isn't this the same vase in the room with Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh in "Gone With the Wind"?" Naturally, when the film came on and one started looking at it, the action and drama took one's interest and one didn't have time to study vases laying about.

It seems obvious to me that some of the people who read all types of allusions or symbolism in films must watch them in minute depth - and in the documentary that was clearly the case, as to see some of these things, one had to view the film frame by frame. Who has time for this and what purpose does it serve?

I have also been to film lectures where a speaker has got up and said something along the lines of "Now, what the director was actually saying here was.....". My basic retort to a statement such as this is "Well, really? Why didn't the director actually say what he meant to say in the film in the first place!"

Q.E.D.
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 3:49 pm

The director may well have said it with images... and people used to everything being spelled out in dialogue couldn't follow it.
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 4:22 pm

A director who uses a movie meant to be seen by millions of people to send secret messages to half a dozen would be better off using Western Union.

Bob
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 5:04 pm

A director who uses a movie meant to be seen by millions of people to send secret messages to half a dozen would be better off using Western Union.


But enough about Phantom Thread.

It's not a matter of secret messages, Bob, though there are genres where the idea of secrets beyond the narrative is part of the genre. The Overlook Hotel has a mystery, and puzzling it out is part of the entertainment. But look at something like this:



The main plot is being communicated through dialogue. But there's also a game of oneupmanship between the characters, and the constantly shifting compositions are reflecting the power dynamics as they change with each new revelation. The person with the upper hand dominates the frame. Bogart is shown by himself, observing from the outside in some shots, conniving as part of the group in others. And so on.

Are viewers conscious of that? Not exactly. But they're aware that things are unsettled because it's not a simple back and forth. They're aware of who's dominant and who's under the gun at any moment. The camera is telling the story as much as dialogue and acting is.

Yet I think there are many people who can't follow a story told visually at all, or indeed a story at all if someone isn't telling them what to think about it and the characters throughout. There are blog reviews of 2001 where the person writing it expresses their frustration that they had no idea what the part with monkeys had to do with spacemen later. Many of the reviews of Dunkirk were upset that we didn't know "who the characters were"— as if knowing their names and home towns would make the immediacy of desperately searching for a way off that beach suddenly matter. You don't have to like either of those movies, you can find them cold, but the idea that they were incapable of communicating what they chose to communicate is crazy—their intentions seem clear as can be to me, expressed in visuals which a modern moviegoer should be able to decode perfectly well.
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 5:17 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:It's not a matter of secret messages, Bob, though there are genres where the idea of secrets beyond the narrative is part of the genre. The Overlook Hotel has a mystery, and puzzling it out is part of the entertainment. But look at something like this:

The main plot is being communicated through dialogue. But there's also a game of oneupmanship between the characters, and the constantly shifting compositions are reflecting the power dynamics as they change with each new revelation. The person with the upper hand dominates the frame. Bogart is shown by himself, observing from the outside in some shots, conniving as part of the group in others. And so on.
....


Is this the Humphrey Bogart picture I should be noticing the vase in?

No, seriously. I know what you mean Mike. People who don't like silent pictures, don't like them for the very reason that they can't follow a story relying only on the visual.

I wonder though, how many directors go out of their way to make pictures with multi-faceted subliminal messaging?
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Re: Room 237

PostMon Feb 12, 2018 5:32 pm

Mike, understanding the subtleties of a a subtle film maker, or, indeed, of any artist, requires thought. Appreciation is another matter, a visceral matter. When I showed a friend Dunkirk recently, I made a point of pointing out to him, even as the titles made it clear, that it proceeded in three time frames simultaneously, yielding, in my opinion, a sense of dream time. That seemed to escape a lot of reasonable people. Then I left him to it. There are some things that are meant to be grokked as a gestalt, to operate as the atmosphere, not analyzed.

The point you make, about the references to cartoons in The Shining as revelatory to hidden themes of child abuse are valid, but they're not there as signposts for some one to point out. They're there as cultural markers for an audience who should recognize them as "safe" and "protecting", when in the movie they are neither, and so become tremendously unsettling. Unfamiliarity robs them of their strength, but to those of us who grew up with them, so does analysis.

Like so much academic criticism, the object becomes less to involve those unfamiliar with these works with the work, and more to show off how smart the person who is making these analyses are. You've looked at many films and enjoyed them. So have I. We've both figured out how they did a lot of these things, but understanding how has rarely affected the sheer visceral pleasure. Watching Buster take a pratfall is still a thing to make me exult, and watching Bogart's triumphant despair as he takes the elevator to Hell with the stuff dreams are made of makes me weep. That's what the film makers wanted. Can we be smart enough to say "They did a good job" and not try to bludgeon some poor schmuck who says "Yeah" with how smart we are?

Bob
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Re: Room 237

PostTue Feb 13, 2018 6:31 am

boblipton wrote:...watching Bogart's triumphant despair as he takes the elevator to Hell with the stuff dreams are made of makes me weep.

=====

A slight correction: at the end of THE MALTESE FALCON, Mary Astor takes the elevator, Bogie takes the stairs. Not only is this not the ending in the book, it’s not the ending originally shot. It was a new scene, written and photographed a couple of weeks after the initial shoot had wrapped on 18 July 1941. [Source: BEHIND THE SCENES by Rudy Behlmer.]
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Re: Room 237

PostTue Feb 13, 2018 9:24 am

daveboz wrote:
boblipton wrote:...watching Bogart's triumphant despair as he takes the elevator to Hell with the stuff dreams are made of makes me weep.

=====

A slight correction: at the end of THE MALTESE FALCON, Mary Astor takes the elevator, Bogie takes the stairs. Not only is this not the ending in the book, it’s not the ending originally shot. It was a new scene, written and photographed a couple of weeks after the initial shoot had wrapped on 18 July 1941. [Source: BEHIND THE SCENES by Rudy Behlmer.]


Thanks, Dave. Always glad to accept a correction. Do you happen to know what lens Mike Joyce had on the camera?

Bob
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Re: Room 237

PostTue Feb 13, 2018 9:53 am

boblipton wrote:
daveboz wrote:
boblipton wrote:...watching Bogart's triumphant despair as he takes the elevator to Hell with the stuff dreams are made of makes me weep.

=====

A slight correction: at the end of THE MALTESE FALCON, Mary Astor takes the elevator, Bogie takes the stairs. Not only is this not the ending in the book, it’s not the ending originally shot. It was a new scene, written and photographed a couple of weeks after the initial shoot had wrapped on 18 July 1941. [Source: BEHIND THE SCENES by Rudy Behlmer.]


Thanks, Dave. Always glad to accept a correction. Do you happen to know what lens Mike Joyce had on the camera?

Bob

======

Don’t know what lens was employed, but pretty sure that the combination of focal length, aperture, film speed, and the shoe size of Barton MacLane adds up to 237.
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Re: Room 237

PostTue Feb 13, 2018 6:48 pm

I recommend tracking down THE 'S' FROM HELL, also directed by Rodney Ascher. As a point of comparison, you'll see the tone of satire they were going for in ROOM 237—to wit, they're not really siding with any of the people who have these theories, but they're conforming THE SHINING through editing and manipulation to contour with the statements made by each of these theorists. It's a sort of documentarian contempt that once you're in on the joke, is quite funny.
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Re: Room 237

PostWed Feb 14, 2018 2:43 pm

"Room 237" is nothing remotely like film analysis that it seems to try to be. Film criticism is about visual styles, atmosphere, storytelling, themes, that sort of thing. It is not about whether a missing Seven Dwarf sticker has any significance. It is not about all these silly and inconsequential "guessing games" on what Kubrick's intentions were. That's what "Room 237" seems like, isn't it? Just a series of guessing games -- oh, maybe Kubrick did that or maybe he did this. This pseudo-intellectual "documentary" is the perfect example of someone reading too much into things, to the point of trivializing many of Kubrick's REAL achievements in the movie.

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