Polymorphia was originally composed in 1961 by the avant-garde Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. It was also later used, in addition to several other Penderecki compositions, in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
At the end of The Shining, the character of Jack Torrance appears in a 1921 photograph. Actor Jack Nicholson was composited into an existing vintage photograph, his head, collar and bow tie replacing that of an anonymous man.
Of the two images seen here, the blurrier one is from the very end of the long tracking shot which glides down the hall toward the framed photo. The second, sharper image is from the subsequent close-up to which Kubrick dissolves.
Nicholson’s head was composited into photographic prints enlarged to different sizes. This presumably afforded Kubrick the ability to film an extreme close-up of the photo from a much larger print than the framed image, thus ensuring maximum sharpness with minimum film grain
This animation reveals the fact that two different photographs were used: Nicholson’s head rotates counter-clockwise from one image to the other, and his screen-right shoulder has had much more retouching done in one photo than in the other, partially obscuring the woman’s hand holding the cigarette.
‘There’s something inherently wrong with the human personality. There’s an evil side to it. One of the things that horror stories can do is to show us the archetypes of the unconscious: we can see the dark side without having to confront it directly.’
Stanley Kubrick, discussing his attraction to The Shining with Jack Kroll of Newsweek magazine in 1980.
During a closing montage in Vivian Kubrick’s documentary on the making of The Shining, Stanley Kubrick can be seen filming some sort of test in the kitchen hallway, using a wound-ridden prosthetic head of a woman with her hair pulled back in a bun.
I have never found information about this test, or the presumably deleted scene for which it was ultimately intended.
UPDATE: Gordon Stainforth, editor of Vivian Kubrick’s documentary, confirmed that this was an early make-up test for the woman in Room 237, created by make-up artist Tom Smith. Kubrick was filming the test to see how the prosthetic would read on 35mm film.
In February of 1979, late in the production of The Shining, as the crew filmed on the Lobby set, a small fire broke out on an adjacent sound stage. The fire quickly grew into an eleven-alarm inferno, and by morning, the sound stages containing some of The Shining’s most massive sets: The Colorado Lounge, the Lobby, and the hotel’s iconic hallways, were all but destroyed.
The next morning Stanley Kubrick surveyed the damage, and photographer Murray Close captured this image of Kubrick laughing in the face of disaster – surrounded by twisted girders and the smoldering wreckage of his sets.
Camera Operator Kelvin Pike prepares to shoot a shot in the Pantry set of The Shining. He’s about to film the low angle shot of Jack toying with Wendy at the door. The lightbulb fixture on his chest was used to provide a fill light under Jack Nicholson’s face.
Stanley Kubrick lines up a shot on The Shining’s walk-in pantry set.
Krzysztof Penderecki, b. Nov. 23, 1933 – Polish composer who is regarded as a ‘difficult’ or ‘demanding’ composer in the grand formats (8 symphonies, numerous concerti for orchestra and solo instruments, 25 choral works, covering all the Latin standard forms: Requiem, Te Deum, Magnificat, Passion etc.) – all the while also having his scores used for film soundtracks (including The Shining and The Exorcist)…
Photo: Krzysztof Penderecki, Studio Elektroniczne Polskiego Radia, Warszawa, 1964 r.