Stanley Kubrick was, without doubt, one of the greatest directors of all time. He was also one of the most particular and precise filmmakers/human beings ever to walk the Earth. He knew what he wanted and knew what he didn’t want. Perhaps nowhere was this more evident, or more documented, than in his 1980 horror classic The Shining. His own daughter Vivian made a documentary where her father’s penchant for doing a billion takes start to get to the actors and there are plenty of shots of Stanley screaming at his lead actress Shelley Duvall and bringing her to near hysterics. There’s a very good chance he did all this in order to achieve the right fever-pitch for everyone involved, but it probably didn’t make him any friends.
Kubrick’s compulsion for things to be perfect extended to every part of his film, including the poster design. He contacted legendary art director and graphic designer Saul Bass about making a stark and memorable poster for the film. Bass was easily the best in the business, but even he couldn’t escape the eye of Kubrick. In a series of memos and designs for The Shining‘s poster, we can see Bass and his team came up with five distinct yet similar ideas and Kubrick pretty much hates all of them, or at least has some choice words for them, calling certain images irrelevant and worries that people won’t be able to see the title properly.
They did eventually come up with one of the most iconic and troubling posters of all time for one of the scariest movies of all time, so I guess it was all worth the Kubrick-fueled frustration.
Which of the rejected posters is your favorite? Are any of them better than the chosen one? Let us know below!