(BTW: that line was a Nicholson improv’!)
It’s amazing how great movies don’t age. This was done in 1980, and it really didn’t feel like it was nearly 30 years old. Everything was fantastic, this is one of the greats. Everyone probably knows how fantastic this movie is, so instead of gushing about every shot, I’ll talk about something new I found out this time around.
When I looked at the special features, I was disappointed (but not surprised) to see that there wasn’t a Kubrik commentary, but there is a little video done by Kubrik’s 17-year old daughter that is pretty hilarious. It’s about 30 minutes long, and you get to see the stars in their idiosyncracies, she follows Jack Nicholson into the bathroom while he brushes his teeth, which he says he does everytime before returning to the set, out of consideration. When she asks him why, this is his response:
“It’s grueling enough without a face full of lamb cutlets!”
LOL! The image is genius.
Shelley Duvall stressed out during the production, but the featurette shows how that may have been a little overblown. Wikipedia says she lost her hair during the shoot, and there is a scene where she hands her “chunks” of hair falling out to Kubrik who then turns to the camera, and repeats “chunks” with a raised eyebrow, showing us what she handed him, which was basically one strand of hair.
You can tell the featurette was done a long time ago because Shelley Duvall open admits being jealous of Nicholson’s fame and the attention he gets. Back to back with that comment is a totally made up statistic that Nicholson puts out, seemingly working it out as he says it:
“The average celebrity meets in one year ten times the people that the average person meets in his entire life.”
I loved hearing Nicholson talk about how it was important to him to work on projects where he vastly differed from the director because he felt it was important for him, as an actor, to be out of control, so the result wouldn’t be predictable.
You also get to see some fantastic scenes of Nicholson preparing to play the insane bloodthirsty husband in the beating down the bathroom door scene, and that is some impressive work…I also really enjoyed seeing how they filmed the kid on his big-wheel riding down the hallways, since that is such a big part of the experience of the movie, and the building up of the stress. You get to see the famous maze scene, and it’s fantastic to see how everything was filmed in a studio, including the river of blood pouring from the elevators.
I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!!