Delia Malia Konzett
“In this photo, I’m doing research in our film screening room in Hamilton Smith Hall. While film scholarship is informed by archival work and resources such as critical essays and book studies, a considerable part of research also involves analyzing films closely and repeatedly.
“Here, I analyze a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ (1980), namely the unusual, red bathroom scene. During a recent archival visit to the Kubrick Archives in London, I had the opportunity to look through the production notes of this film. The bathroom scene was included very late in the production, requiring extensive and costly research by the set designer who visited several U.S. hotels for set ideas. With regards to its architectural style, the bathroom contrasts strongly with the classically styled 1920s golden ballroom associated with elitism and legacy.
“In the red bathroom scene, the former caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, Delbert Grady, talks with the current caretaker Jack Torrance, an angry aspiring writer developing cabin fever. Grady prompts him to discipline his wife and child violently and encourages Jack’s racism. This scene ushers in the ensuing hateful revolt of Jack directed against perceived lesser minorities challenging his status as head of the family, namely women (his wife) and African Americans (embodied by Dick Hallorann, the hotel’s chef).
“In my research, I especially analyze the specific production design of this scene, namely its low ceiling creating a claustrophobic atmosphere, its harsh, bright lighting and excess of mirrors. Why the bright red color for this bathroom? Why is a scene in which racism surfaces set in a bathroom, a taboo location for cinema? Why is the architecture so strikingly different and more contemporary than that of the adjoining ballroom? How does the set design of the bathroom fit in with the overall design of the hotel and its use of Native American design?”
—Delia Malia Konzett, Professor of English