Lost ending of ’The Shining’ discovered

Kubrick famously cut two minutes from the original. The film is lost, but the screenplay has been found.

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, like many other cinefiles, is obsessed with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Since December, 2011, he has been “the caretaker” of the The Overlook Hotel, a website* devoted to ‘ephemera related to Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece of modern horror.”  And his latest finding–posted just after midnight on Jan. 22–is a whopper: Slate reported yesterday that Unkrich has managed to dig up the screenplay for the original ending of the film, which Kubrick removed shortly after the film had its U.S. release when he sent “out assistants to excise the [two-minute] scene from the dozens of prints showing in Los Angeles and New York City,” writes Unkrich.

Slate’s Forrest Wickman summarizes the newly discovered four-page scene (that you can see here) really nicely:

After we leave Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) frozen in the hedge maze, we cut to a hospital where Overlook manager Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) is visiting a recovering Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) along with her son Danny (Danny Lloyd). After some pleasantries that are oddly casual for those recovering from an axe murder, Ullman tells Wendy that investigators searching the hotel “didn’t find the slightest evidence of anything at all out of the ordinary,” and that, amid the trauma, she must have simply been hallucinating. After inviting Wendy and Danny to leave to come stay with him in Los Angeles, he begins to leave, but remembers that he forgot to give something to Danny, and throws him a yellow ball. After the shot of the portrait that usually ends the film, the screenplay has the film ending on this rather goofily ominous title:

Yes, the title is goofy. But the reappearance of the yellow ball (remember how Danny was first allured into Room 237? It was a yellow tennis ball that was mysteriously rolled out to him from the doorway) sure is creepy, in a wonderful, Stephen King-approving way.

That the names of the two actors who play the policeman and the nurse were never removed from the end credits is “evidence of just how late in the process the scene was removed,” writes Unkrich on his site.

But what about the actual two minutes of film? Considering that the “projectionists were ordered to cut it and ship it back to Warner Bros.” says Indiewire, chances are pretty slim that the film will ever see the light of day.

“Those two minutes,” says Wickman, “like so much at the film’s ghoulish hotel, are now lost to time.”

*Warning: If you’re a fan of The Shining–or if you ever wondered what happened to Danny’s amazing Apollo 11 sweater— The Overlook Hotel archives may devour several hours of your life.