Sample Film Studies Paper on Adaptations Of Books into Films: Assessing The Shining

Directed by the great Stanley Kubrick and starring the terrifying Jack Nicholson, the movie The Shining is very different from the Stephen King-penned book it is adapted from. Many of the movie’s most famous elements either do not exist in the novel or are portrayed in a totally different way from the book. The query that strikes the audience’s mind is whether the movie produced from a novel preserves the original material that was jotted down by the author of the book. It is also not clear whether a film can do the same without omitting any essential information that the author of the book stressed some points to build anxiety and suspense that the authorship of the main theme the author had concentrated on reaching the reader.

The movie The Shining, directed by the great Stanley Kubrick and starring the terrifying Jack Nicholson, is VERY different from the Stephen King-penned novel from which it is adapted. Many of the movie’s most famous elements either do not exist in the novel or are portrayed in a totally different way from the book. For movies, it’s not uncommon to be very different from the books from which they are adapted. There could be a plethora of explanations why. Often it is difficult to film scenes in books, although sometimes it is due to time restrictions, since books are generally much longer than films. It’s literally a director’s decision often.

The Shining is a perfect example of Stanley Kubrick twisting the storey of Stephen King in order to match his vision of a man going mad in the dead of winter in an isolated mountain hotel. He made the changes for a number of reasons, but mainly, it seems, he made the changes so that the simple storey was moulded into his unique vision, as only Kubrick could have done. There are some very minor changes that do nothing to alter the overall storey, such as changing the name of the main character from John to Jack, to some very substantial changes that change the events entirely and why they occur. More famously, room 217 is the supernatural room in the novel, but the Stanley Hotel, where the movie was filmed, asked them to use a non-existent room number so that if they were assigned to 217, potential customers would be freaked out. The movie instead uses 237.

The movie The Shining, directed by the great Stanley Kubrick and starring the terrifying Jack Nicholson, is VERY different from the Stephen King-penned novel from which it is adapted. Many of the movie’s most famous elements either do not exist in the novel or are portrayed in a totally different way from the book. For movies, it’s not uncommon to be very different from the books from which they are adapted. There could be a plethora of explanations why. Often it is difficult to film scenes in books, although sometimes it is due to time restrictions, since books are generally much longer than films. It’s literally a director’s decision often. It is quite clear, in true Stephen King fashion, in the book The Shining, that the Overlook Hotel is haunted. In the novel, there are ghosts, things that bump in the night and even topiaries in the garden come alive. In this version of the storey, the supernatural is very evident and very true. These ghosts and ghouls are the ones that make John crazy.

The essence of the respectable Jack’s madness in the film is even more mysterious and seems to take place entirely in his head. It’s his own mental wellbeing that falls apart without the influence of ghosts or spirits, rather than supernatural powers driving him crazy. Instead of real ghosts, the movie presents the supernatural as everything in the head of the character because of the isolation and block of writers he experiences. The main character is a writer struggling with the block of the writer in both the book and the movie. That is pretty much where in that sense, the similarities end.

John is a playwright in the book who abandons his original play and begins to write a storey based on the history of the spooky hotel, The Overlook, that the family cares about the winter. Again what Jack is trying to write is unclear in the film, other than being a novel of some kind. In the novel, the inspiration for John to write a book based on The Overlook comes from a scrapbook he discovers. A key subplot of the novel is the effect of the scrapbook on John’s psyche. In the hotel and in the scrapbook, the ghosts are the ones making him nuts, so he can’t stop them; they totally inundate him.

In the movie, while a big surprise is the iconic picture from the 1920s, the rest of the scrapbook is largely left out of the storey. Since the movie is all about Jack losing his mind from the inside, a motivator like the scrapbook is less relevant. The movie by Stanley Kubrick flips out what kind guy the main character is. Jack Nicholson’s character is actually already crazy, instead of a sane man forced into insanity as Stephen King wrote him, and he is desperately trying to remain sane while stuck in the hotel for the winter.

A variety of The Shining’s most famous scenes do not appear in the novel. The odds are that the first thing that pops into your head when you hear “The Shining,” is the picture of twin girls in the hallway as Danny races around on his tricycle. It has become a classic scene that in the years since, has been satirised and parodied many many times. But in the novel, it doesn’t appear. The murders of the Grady family are mentioned in the novel, of course, but the girls are not twins and they are not seen in a vision by Danny like they are in the film.

When you think of The Shining, if it’s not the twins that first pop into your brain, it’s probably the scene in the elevator when the blood pours out and splashes like a tidal wave across the corridor. Like the twins, it’s been an iconic moment in film history. It was also a scene created by Stanley Kubrick’s brilliance, not by Stephen King. It’s a scene that works wonderfully on screen, but had it been written, it probably wouldn’t have had the same visceral impact.

With technology rising, more and more books are being adapted. There are so many parallels between both the novels, the shining ones, and the little women, in how the original material does not seem to compare entirely with that of the original author. With the opportunity to visualise and generate more engaging ideas from the text, books retain the original meaning and support the reader. A lot of detail is filtered out by most film makers, denying the viewer the opportunity to see and know the exact contents of the novel. Despite the advantages of books over films, since they enjoy interacting directly with the book through images and sounds, so many people prefer to select movies more. In this view, an inclusive adaptation is inevitable and a further milestone should be taken by the film writers to examine the book in detail to avoid disconnecting the original book work and the film.

 

Work Cited

King, Stephen. The Shining. New York: DoubleDay Publishers, 1977. Print.https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults

Kubrick, Stanley, dir. The Shining. Warner Brothers, 1980. Film.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://en.m.wikipediaorg/wiki/The_Shining.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://m.imdb.com