The Shining was full of iconic scenes: 'All Work, No Play, Makes Jack A Dull Boy', the ghost barman, REDRUM, and of course, "Here's Johnny!" But one of the lasting images is the penultimate shot, which shows a frozen on the grounds of the Overlook Hotel. It's a pretty grim ending, which ultimately leaves the fates of Wendy and Danny unknown.
This wasn't always the case. Originally director Stanley Kubrick had shot an alternative ending which showed Wendy and Danny recuperating in a hospital. It allowed audiences to know they'd made it to safety, and that things would get better for them. However, Kubrick decided to cut the ending very shortly after the US opening, sending assistants to remove the scene from theaters showing The Shining. Diane Johnson, who co-wrote the screenplay, explained Kurbrick's intention for the original ending:
Kubrick had filmed a final scene that was cut, where Wendy and Danny are recovering from the shock in a hospital and where Ullman visits them. Kubrick felt that we should see them in the hospital so we would know that they were all right. He had a soft spot for Wendy and Danny and thought that, at the end of a horror film, the audience should be reassured that everything was back to normal.
Following its cutting, all known copies of the original ending were destroyed — although, one copy is rumored to have survived. Nonetheless. some goodies have emerged which allows us to piece together Kubrick's original ending. The Overlook Hotel Fan Site has got hold of the 4 page script for the final scene and some production photos. Check them out below:
Personally, I think I prefer the ending without this additional scene. I like the suddenness of the cut to Nicholson's frozen body, followed by the simply dolly-shot down to the photo in the lobby of the Hotel. I had always assumed Wendy and Danny had made it to safety, to explicitly show this simply makes the ending more convoluted.
What do you think? Do you prefer this original ending? Let us know below.