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Everyone knows about the legendary director Stanley Kubrick and how meticulous he was in taking his shots to perfection. This is the opening scene from the movie The Shining (1980). We see a shadow of the helicopter used for this continual shot during the opening credits. Was this mistake intentional on Kubrick's part? Because in the very same movie, he appointed an actual type writer to type the letters "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" and then recorded that typing sound to be used as background score. This background score was used during the zooming in scene of Jack Nicholson at his type writer.

  • 3
    What does the second part of the question, about the typewriter, have to do with the first part?
    – Darren
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 22:58
  • 1
    Are you interested in commentary without a definitive conclusion as an answer? (i.e. I can't tell you conclusively if it was intentional, but can explain why it is unlikely.)
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Feb 25, 2017 at 23:39
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    @Darren I suspect the typewriter bit was just meant to show how meticulous Kubrick was about the tiniest details. How, then, could he seemingly ignore the helicopter's shadow?
    – Steve-O
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 1:09
  • 2
    He's meticulous, not infallible. It's a goof.
    – cde
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 4:35
  • It’s not necessarily a mistake. After all, helicopters exist for real.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 9:33

1 Answer 1


It's a goof due to different aspect ratios of different media. The Helicopter shadow was not in the original theater release, only showing up when packaged for other media.

According to the pilot:

Due to Blyth's impaired sight lines, the camera operator concludes Kubrick “just liked those particular shots and didn't worry about the shadows.” He then added, “I have to say I was personally horrified to see the shadows on the first video release, since they'd never showed in the theatrical release, as we'd intended.”

This is similar to what people who watch Malcom in the Middle on Netflix experience, as the original aired in 4:3 televisión while being filmed in widescreen aspect ratios. When the HD release hit Netflix, you got to see more of the scene, including missing people, actor stand ins and other goofs.

Malcolm in the Middle example shot

  • That is an interesting tidbit indeed. Answers it pretty conclusively.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 5:06
  • Thanks a ton!! yes this indeed resolves this doubt I had. Thanks guys! Commented Feb 26, 2017 at 7:23

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