See The Posters Stanley Kubrick Rejected For 'The Shining,' Designed By Saul Bass


Photo: The Fox Is Black

Movie fans know well the classic poster for Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”It shows Jack Nicholson’s grinning face through a jagged hole in a door, as a terrified Shelley Duvall screams on the other side. Some variations feature the ax as well, others do not. The whole movie is encapsulated in that scene.

But that was not the Kubrick’s original plan for the movie. Kubrick wanted a poster by graphic designer Saul Bass, who eventually drew a not-so-famous pointillist impression of a terrified child’s face inside a big ‘T,’ which forms the first letter of the name of the movie in big, black type. That poster gives almost nothing away about the film.

And even that poster wasn’t Bass and Kubrick’s first idea. An exhibition about Kubrick at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art features several rejected Bass prototypes for the movie poster — and they are beautiful.

In each one, Bass depicts a small detail from the movie in silhouettes made of dots. And each one was rejected. The images were collected by The Fox Is Black, an art and design blog. Writer Bobby Solomon notes that Bass proposed as many as 300 different designs before one was chosen.

Here's Bass's letter to Kubrick, explaining his choices.

Another image that gives little away. Although the tricycle is a big part of the movie, it's not at all clear that the hand is being buried by snow.

This poster featured the spooky Overlook Hotel building (The Timberline lodge in Mount Hood, Ore., in real life).

This was the final, approved version by Bass.

And here's what the studio went with. Nothing of Bass's original vision survived.

Here are some other ideas that should have been rejected ...

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