• Kubrick’s dedication to perfection led him to shoot 148 takes of a scene in The Shining, setting a world record for most retakes for a dialogue scene.
  • The intense and unnerving scene between Danny and Dick Hallorann drove Kubrick to demand seamless delivery and relentless perfection from the actors.
  • Kubrick’s pursuit of perfection extended beyond retakes, with reports of him traumatizing Shelley Duvall and pushing the cast.

The Shining is one of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s most famous movies, and a behind-the-scenes story about a specific scene speaks to his legacy. Kubrick was seemingly on a mission to make the best possible movie of every genre, as he nailed the war category with Dr. Strangelove and the science-fiction genre with the ambitious 2001: A Space Odyssey. Then, in 1980, the iconic director made his only horror movie, which happened to become a classic. The Shining is an adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name — only Kubrick’s rendition is very different from the source material.

The 1980 classic follows Jack Torrance, who becomes the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel during its off-season. That’s about where the movie’s similarities to the book end. King famously hated The Shining due to how many changes Kubrick made. That only speaks to the specific vision the director had for all of his films. Unfortunately, that vision and work ethic took their toll on other people. When it came to The Shining, that included the cast and crew. One scene in The Shining set a world record, but it proved exhausting for everyone involved.

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining Holds The Record For The Most Retakes For A Dialogue Scene

Dick Halloran looking into the camera in The Shining.

Kubrick shot the scene between Danny (Danny Lloyd) and Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers), during which Dick describes the Shining to him, a whopping 148 times. It’s not clear how long it took to get the finished product. Regardless, that scene earned the record for the most takes for a single scene during a movie production (via Guinness World Records). Kubrick isn’t the only filmmaker who shoots a seemingly endless number of takes, as David Fincher shot the opening scene of The Social Network a total of 99 times (via MTV). Still, that doesn’t even come close to Kubrick’s record with The Shining.

RELATED: How Stanley Kubrick Shot The Shining’s Famous Elevator Scene

Why Kubrick Needed 148 Takes For The Shining’s Danny & Dick Hallorann Scene

Shelley Duvall screaming in The Shining

Kubrick reportedly shot 148 takes of the same Shining scene because he wanted a seamless delivery and demanded perfection from the actors. The scene is one of the most intense and unnerving moments of the film, especially when Crothers delivers the line, “You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?” It’s interesting to realize that the final take might have been the 148th time he said those words. However, while Kubrick shot the scene 148 times, there’s no telling which take he eventually went with. It’s just as likely the filmmaker decided to use the first take as it is that he chose the final one.

This isn’t the first time Kubrick went to extreme lengths for the sake of perfection on the set of The Shining, either. There were tons of reports about Kubrick traumatizing Shelley Duvall during the production of the film, suggesting he treated her differently than rest of the cast and tried to break her down so that she could relate to her The Shining character. There’s archival behind-the-scenes footage of several times the director and actor locked horns. Based on how many takes of one scene Lloyd and Crothers were subjected to, they seemingly witnessed Kubrick’s unrelenting desire for perfection, too.

Source: Guinness World Records, MTV

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