At the end of the film The Shining, when Jack Torrance has frozen to death, was this shot accomplished by putting make-up on Jack Nicholson or by using a prop body with a face cast in his likeness?

I realize it's most likely the former, but knowing Kubrick's attention to detail, he might have used a prop to remove any hint of movement from a live body. Plus, it would have meant less time shooting with Nicholson, which might have been advantageous in scheduling.


2 Answers 2


This was shot inside a set and Jack Nicholson himself posed for the scene.

Jack Nicholson posing for the scene Jack Nicholson posing for his final moment frozen in the snow. This side angle reveals the crude bracing system of wood and Styrofoam that was built to hold Nicholson as still as possible for the lengthy shot. Here we can see that Nicholson has his mouth closed.

Nicholson posing for the shot with an open mouth.

And in the above pic we can see him with an open mouth. Nicholson had his mouth closed when the first picture was taken and open when the scene was filmed.

Frozen Set

Frozen Set

Credits: borrowingtape.com - Behind the scenes: The Shining

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    The first picture does seem to confirm it's Nicholson and not a dummy. This is because whatever is in the first picture has a closed mouth, while the final shot in the movie has frozen Jack Torrance with an open mouth. It seems very unlikely they would have made two dummies or built a dummy with an articulated mouth. A more likely explanation is that Nicholson had his mouth closed when the first picture was taken and open when the scene was filmed. Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 23:02
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    Thanks for the edit! - Although the pictures just have the PropStore watermark cropped out now. - There is a comment from a Reddit user that claims the Blu-ray audio commentary says it's a dummy. I'd be interested to know if that's true.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 9:39
  • Well, if it is a dummy then Kubricks famed attention to detail is even more off: Nicholson's lips and face generally is way too pink to indicate death has occurred. Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 14:12
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    Although this answer is not without controversy, according to the comments, I'm accepting this answer as it doesn't seem we'll get any better. Not a dummy. :-) Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 10:21

The shot of frozen Jack is in fact a wax figure. It is confirmed on the bluray producer commentary. I am a sculptor and figure maker myself and although the head is very realistic, there was always something odd and unreal about it to me. When I listened to the commentary my question was answered.

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