Revealed: The Alternate Ending of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining
The version of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining that most of us have seen ends with two iconic images: Jack Torrance frozen in the snow, and a long shot through the lobby of the Overlook Hotel to a photo dated July 4, 1921, in which the doomed caretaker somehow cavorts with party guests from that era. But that’s not how Kubrick initially planned for The Shining to end.
Most fans of the film know that there was another scene Kubrick decided to remove just after The Shining opened in the United States. Placed between the shot of Jack frozen in the snow and the eventual photo reveal was a scene that has Overlook manager Stuart Ullman visiting Torrance's wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny, who are recovering in the hospital. According to The Playlist, cutting the scene took two minutes off the finished film's runtime.
Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich—who loves The Shining so much that he runs a website dedicated to it—recently dug up pages of the original script of that scene. Kubrick’s co-screenwriter, Diane Johnson, said that the director wanted to show Wendy and Danny 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."
This original cut of The Shining ended with a fade to black and an epilogue:
According to a video interview posted on the Unkrich's website, Kubrick reportedly decided to recut the film based on feedback from Warner Bros. publicist Julian Senior. The director sent out assistants to remove the scene from dozens of prints that were showing in New York and Los Angeles; all copies were sent back to Warner Bros. and destroyed.