It’s one of the most frightening moments in a movie full of frightening moments — Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) slowly walks into the Colorado Room, where her husband Jack (Jack Nicholson) has been feverishly working on his new book. Stacks and stacks of paper sit in boxes; he’s probably almost done. But, to Wendy’s utter shock and horror, every single line on every piece of paper in the typewriter or around the workstation simply says “All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy.” Reams and reams of paper. As the screeching strings on the soundtrack get ever-louder, Wendy is finally startled by Jack who calmly says “How do you like it?”
It still manages to send shivers down the collective spines of audiences everywhere, and even 35 years after its initial release, Stanley Kubrick‘s The Shining is still one of the scariest and most unsettling films ever made, despite what author Stephen King thinks. However, that phrase, “All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy,” is not what everybody saw when they watched the movie; in fact, depending on what country you lived in, the paper said very, very different things.
Famous for being the world’s biggest stickler for details, Kubrick thought it would take away the shock of the scene if foreign countries had to read the troubling phrase in subtitles instead of just on the page, so he had similar insert shots made of Wendy’s POV of the paper, but with phrases in different languages. And since “All Work” is not a common saying anywhere else, the phrases got a little weird.
According to the site The Overlook Hotel, a site devoted to The Shining run by superfan Lee Unkrich (yes, the Oscar-winning director of Toy Story 3), Kubrick had shots in Italian, German, French, and Spanish. They were:
Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca
(The morning has gold in its mouth)
Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen
(Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today)
No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano
(No matter how early you get up, you can’t make the sun rise any sooner)
Un Tiens vaut mieux que deux Tu l’auras
(What you have is worth much more than what you will have)
While none of them have anything to do with Jack, they are pretty weird and would be extra upsetting to see adorning every sheet of paper your husband’s been writing for the past two months. Especially “The morning has gold in its mouth.” What in the hell is that supposed to mean, Italy?
Which phrase do you think is the scariest? What other weird sayings from other cultures could they have used? Let us know in the comments below!