Sunday, December 25, 2011

where is Stanley Kubrick's Overlook located?

From the dialogue we’re not able to tell in exactly what state the film’s Overlook is located. All Mr. Ullmann says is that, “the problem is the enormous cost it'd be to keep the road to Sidewinder open”. But Sidewinder is a fictitious town. Stanley Kubrick tells us, "it's a 25 mile stretch of road" but doesn’t tell us where his “Sidewinder” is located. Stephen King has Sidewinder appear in two of his novels, The Shining and Misery, and his Overlook is located, "forty miles" west of Sidewinder in the state of Colorado. Jack does say, "I made the trip in three and a half hours." at the beginning in his interview, but we don’t know where he was coming from. In the beginning of the film we see a shot of the parking lot of their apartment, but no license plates are shown on the cars so we don’t know exactly where they live. The only place Stanley Kubrick shows us for sure is The Timberline Lodge on Mt Hood in Oregon and we see this specific site several times.

In the film Denver, Colorado is mentioned several times (the “people in Denver” that hired Jack, Wendy watches a Denver TV station, and Dick listens to a Denver Radio station as he drives to The Overlook) but this does not mean Stanley Kubrick's Overlook is in Denver or even in Colorado. While Dick Hallorann sits in bed in sunny Florida newscaster Glen Rinnker of News Watch 10 Miami states, “travel in the Rockies is almost impossible. Airports are shut down stranding thousands of passengers.” Dick calls and says to his friend Larry Durkin, “I'm calling from Stapleton Airport.” and Larry replies, “what the hell are you doing [down there]? Dick flies into Stapleton Airport, Denver because it’s the closest airport that’s open, and for no other reason. Larry asks him when he will arrive and Dick says, “oh about five hours”. This puts Larry five hours [up] from Denver. We know that Dick arrives at Stapleton at 8:20AM and probably gets the Sno-cat at around 12:00 or 1:00PM at Larry's undisclosed location. When Jack is locked in the storeroom Stanley Kubrick’s black frame tells us that it’s 4PM and we know that Dick Hallorann arrives sometime in the middle of the night before sunrise. By car it takes about 18 hours to go from Denver to Mt Hood in Oregon which could put his arrival window at between 4AM and 7AM in the morning. The fact that Dick uses the Sno-Cat could even get him there faster not having to take the main roads, we just don’t know for sure.

So according to what Stanley Kubrick shows us Mt Hood, the place we see in the beginning of the film and every time we see a long shot of 'his' Overlook, is in the state of Oregon. If you think it may have taken Dick Hallorann longer to get to them, just remember he has a supernatural ability that may have helped. In the shot when we see Jack frozen solid we presume it's several hours later the next day but we really don't know how long he's been sitting there. The location of Stanley Kubrick's Overlook has, like so much else, been changed form the novel's Colorado to Mt. Hood in the state of Oregon. And there's nothing in the film that can be used to contradict this.

Also. The road we see the yellow VW traveling on in the beginning of the film, the Going to the Sun Road in Montana's Glacier National Park, is not very far (10 hours) from Mt Hood, Oregon. Coming from the east the Torrances could very well have taken this route to get to The Overlook.