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Secret Symbols in ‘The Shining’: What Was Stanley Kubrick On About?

A photo of a kitchen shelf in 'The Shining' with a can of Calumet baking soda

When Bill Blakemore… noticed cans of Calumet baking powder emblazoned with an Indian chief logo in “The Shining,” he knew immediately what Kubrick had in mind. “I told my friends, ‘That movie was about the genocide of the American Indians.'”

The NY Times looks at Room 237, a new documentary about the “mind-boggling array of theories” surrounding Stanley Kubrick‘s confounding 1980 thriller The Shining.

Maybe the film is about the Holocaust:

To [Kubrick scholar] Geoffrey Cocks… the film is full of references, some subtle, some less so, to the Final Solution. There are the film’s many references to 1942, the year the Nazis began their extermination of Jews at Auschwitz: a 42 appears on a shirt worn by Danny; “Summer of ’42” is playing on the Torrances’ television; Wendy takes 42 swings with a bat at Jack. 

Unless, of course, it’s really about the great phony Apollo 11 moon landing of 1969. Kubrick helped fake the landing footage and then used The Shining to admit it, says Jay Weidner:

“The entire substory of ‘The Shining’… is the story of Kubrick making the Apollo footage and then trying to hide it from his wife, and then her finding out about it.”

Would that it were so! 

It all reminds me of a story told by screenwriter Ernest Lehman in the 1981 book The Craft of the Screenwriter:

“When I was at the Cannes Film Festival with Family Plot, Karen Black, Bruce Dern and I attended a press conference, and some French journalist had the symbolism of the license plate in the picture all worked out: 885 DJU. He had some elaborate explanation for those numbers.  

When he got though explaining it, I said, ‘I hate to tell you this, but the reason I used that license plate number was that it used to be my own, and I felt it would be legally safe to use.’ So much for symbolism.”

{ Article: Cracking the Code in ‘Heeere’s Johnny‘. }

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