Kubrick’s Assistant Calls Room 237 Gibberish

Jason McDonald

Meow.  Time to let the cat claws out! Now, to be fair, it doesn’t sound like Stanley Kubrick’s former assistant is being overly harsh in his criticism of the upcoming documentary Room 237, but he does bring a unique perspective to the story behind The Shinning. 

Leon Vitali first met Stanley Kubrick when he appeared in an acting role on Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon.  Shortly after that, Vitali became Kubrick’s personal assistant and aided him in the filming of Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut and The Shinning.  After Leon received an advanced copy of the upcoming documentary Room 237, a film that explores the hidden secrets of The Shinning, the New York Times reached out to him to see what he thought of the film.

I was falling about laughing most of the time. There are ideas espoused in the movie that I know to be total balderdash.

Damn, when the word “balderdash” gets dropped, shit gets real.

Essentially Leon reveals that people are probably over thinking a lot of things about The Shinning and reading too far into things that were never meant to be analyzed so deeply.  For example, the scene where Danny wears an Apollo 11 sweater somehow gets connected to the fake moon landing theory in the Room 237 documentary.

That was knitted by a friend of Milena Canonero.  Stanley wanted something that looked handmade, and Milena arrived on the set one day and said, ‘How about this?’ It was just the sort of thing that a kid that age would have liked.

So no hidden subtext about the moon landing, just a random sweater that happened to be on set that day.  Leon goes on to say that he never had deep discussions about The Shinning with Kubrick and that Kubrick would have been perfectly happy with everyone having so many different theories about the movie.  However, he also believes that Kubrick probably would’ve passed on seeing this documentary “Because it’s pure gibberish.”


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