Two decades after they worked on Spartacus together, Stanley Kubrick asked Saul Bass to design the poster for his now-classic adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Shining. Bass sought to capture the intensity of emotions aroused in the viewer without giving too much away. In bold letters that form "THE", a haunting face mysteriously emerges from the blackness, seemingly lit from below and "shining" in the dark. Set against a blood red background, the disturbing face peers out, and thus the sense of strangeness that underlies every aspect of the film is integrated directly into the text. In addition, the letters that spell out the word "SHINING", which appear to shimmer up and down the page, are uneven and mix upper and lower case, indicating something of the mixed messages, apparitions and layers within the film.
Bass' collaboration with the notoriously demanding Kubrick survived a lengthy process during which hundreds of possible images were said to have been submitted for the director's approval. Although this final image was indeed used on most advertisements during the film's U.S release, Kubrick - for whatever reasons - ultimately and unfortunately chose a canary color, much to the chagrin of Bass. Fortunately for us, as a result of this switch Bass chose to commission a small print run of the original, much more effective red design to be silkscreened by the Art Krebs Studio in Los Angeles. This was the only print run commissioned for the poster, and due to the enduring, ever-increasing popularity of Saul Bass, Stanley Kubrick and THE SHINING, it is without doubt one of the most desirable of the silkscreens in The Saul Bass Archive and one of the most collectable vintage movie posters of all time.
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