∆ After turning the corner past the green diamond rug, Jack looks down the length of the Lobby to the entrance of the Gold Room. Balloons and streamers litter the floor, while the strains of Jack Hylton’s The Masquerade echo faintly. The lyrics heard in the film are as follows:
Wild eyes soon will say
I’ll meet you at the masquerade.
While our hearts were swinging
To violins singing ‘til dawn.
Ladies dressed in jade
Hold me tight at the masquerade.
If the music hops dear
Then my heart will waltz dear right on.
Twelve o’clock is chiming on the clock …
The final line of the song is abruptly cut in two as the scene switches to Hallorann in Florida. Similarly, the message board on the right of the screen is cut in two, telling as it resembles a grandfather clock and bears a schedule of events. The times listed are hard to read, but at least are marked as half past the hour.
∆ Time is being cut in half here, slowing down, stopping and reversing.
∆ Notice the balloons have all fallen. The party is over.
But when Jack enters the Gold Room, the party is in full swing. The “fish and goose” is yet to be served. So as Jack moves across The Lobby, he is moving backward in time.
∆ In the previous shot, we see Jack passing a rug on the wall — horizontal switched to vertical, lower switched to upper. We also see a piece of driftwood — something found on the beach now incongruously on a mountaintop, another reversal. Both suggest that Jack is not walking across the Lobby, but falling.
∆ Ladies dressed in jade … Like in the green rug, a pattern of seven diamonds also figure in the above image from the Stargate sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Note that blue occupies the upper, vertical region and red occupies the lower, horizontal region.
∆ As in the color spectrum, green occupies the crossover between the extremes of red and blue.
∆ Before being seen in the Lobby level, Jack is storming away from the camera, through the blue hallways outside the family apartment upstairs. Note the verticality of their suite with its odd, seemingly pointless stairs.
∆ After the Lobby sequence, we next see Jack moving towards the camera in the red toned Gold Room hallway. Here, the horizontal is emphasized as the scale extended with Jack centered in the frame.
As Jack moves away from Wendy, he moves from blue to red and from up to down.
Jack is falling from Heaven to Hell.
∆ Verticality is also emphasized in the format of this blog, with its continuously scrolling pages. The reversal of time is also present in the movement from “newer” to “older” posts. Even the name “tumblr” signifies The Fall …
Jack fell down and broke his crown.
∆ But what to make of the pattern of balloons? No order is immediately apparent, but as our eyes scan to the right, symbols emerge.
∆ Misattributing Freud, the proverbial ‘they’ say that “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” perhaps without realizing the inverse implication of “most of the time a cigar is not just a cigar.” And above, we have a clear case of an ashtray and three balloons not being a cigar.
∆ To the left of our phallic ashtray is its feminine counterpart, a bushy potted tree with an inverted balloon triangle.
∆ Our male and female symbols flank the left-hand elevator door, out of which the apocalyptic blood flows in both Danny and Wendy’s ‘shining’ visions.
∆ the use of triangles to signify male and female is found in alchemical symbolism, with the female downward triangle signifying the elemental water and the male upward triangle signifying elemental fire. Together these opposing forces are combined in the middle pillar, the ‘Seal of Solomon’, a doorway to ‘The House of God’, the birthplace of the androgynous deity.
∆ And if we overlay the potted plant and the ashtray … look! It’s a baby boy!
With large, wheel-like legs, this is Danny, known for both his tricycle and running ability. His right arm is larger than his left, signifying the primacy that right-hand/left-brained logic will serve Danny in his trial to escape the Overlook. His right arm is green, aligning it in the Kubrick color code with pivotal transformation.
[For more information on Danny and his right hand see KDK12 essays The Games Room and Tony Speaks and Every Shot of the Twins in the Hallway.]
∆ Alchemical symbology uses color-coded triangles to continue the story of The Fall as father fire and mother water give birth to the son, air and daughter, earth. You can see analog into almost any quaternity, like the Tarot suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, Disks) or the Jungian psyche (Thinking, Feeling, Intuition, Sensation).
[Volumes exist elsewhere on the subject for further research.]
∆ Kubrick offers a different order of the elements in this perspective tableau:
∆ From left to right, we have (A) elemental water represented by the hexagonal fountain, (B) elemental air represented by the balloon resting in a suspended cube, (C) elemental earth represented by the potted tree, and (D) elemental fire represented by a conic ashtray.
∆ The symbolic viewpoint of water on the left , fire on the right is a reversal of the alchemical viewpoint of the Masonic First Degree Tracing Board, pictured below, which usually features fire on the left as the Sun and water on the left as the Moon.
∆ Notice the compass directions of the First Degree Board. If we overlay eastern views of The Lobby and The Lounge, notice the similarity to the First Degree Board:
∆ In this superimposition, we have the ‘Lewis’ tripod and suspended block on the left and the stairway to the ‘stargate’ in the center, flanked by two columns. Remember Wendy makes her entrance to the Lounge from the right ‘Moon’ side, while Jack directs his energies to the left ‘Sun’ side in his ‘play’ of ball throwing.
∆ The balloon hallway scene has the opposite arrangement with masculine on the right and feminine on the left as here we are facing in the opposite direction, facing west. From the perspective of the First Degree Tracing Board, we are looking out from the ‘stargate’ down onto the earth below. Jack has already been initiated, he has already been inside the ‘holiest of holies’ the bathroom of Room 237, located up the stairs and to the left of the Lobby facing east. Again we are faced with The Fall. Jack fell backward from the Green Room of 237, Jack descended from Wendy in the apartment. Now Jack heads west to the Gold Room to find his destiny in the Red Room with Grady.
∆ We can see The Fall in color spectrum order with elemental water in the foreground, signified by the hexagonal fountain; followed by elemental earth, signified by the potted plant and green balloons; followed by elemental air, signified by the yellow balloons and gold curtains; terminating in elemental fire, signified by the red couch at center frame.
∆ Consider the Masonic Third Degree Tracing Board, and its similarity to the balloon hallway scene. Both face west. Both feature a double doorway at the end of a hallway with the left side closed and the right side open.
∆ The Green Room of 237 also featured an obscured left side, significantly hiding a female figure. In this scene we are also facing west. Room 237 is to the north of the Lounge and the suite takes a left turn from the front door.
∆ NB: Hallorann is the only character in The Shining we ever actually see entering the Overlook.
∆ The dreaming occupant of the exact center of The Shining, with his psychic ability to sense the past and the future, Hallorann’s eastern view down the Lobby is naturally the symmetrical equivalent of Jack western viewpoint.
∆ Let’s go back and consider the left-right elemental arrangement, which equates water with the hexagon and air with the square. As explored in KDK12 essay Mystery of Parking Lot Hexagon, we find the initial Overlook Hotel exteriors show a hexagon shaped building, however with interiors exclusively square with 90º corners. Later, studio-shot Overlook exteriors show a building missing the hexagonal pyramid, but with a hexagonal parking lot between the square Hotel and the square Maze. The most iconic hexagons of The Shining, the patterned carpet, of course, surround the central cube of Room 237.
∆ We see the cube in the hexagon again in Apt. 3 upstairs in the scene immediately preceding Jack’s stare across the Lobby. Jack’s return to this hexagonal-arched room will of course flush Wendy and Danny into the cube of the bathroom.
∆ The next time we see Jack after the balloon hallway scene, he crosses the hexagonal-roofed Gold Room before entering the cube-like men’s room, where the suggestion of murdering his family is pressed upon him.
∆ A superimposition of the two hexagonal arcs of Apt. 3 and the Gold Room reveals interesting syncs: The fridge on the left now houses champagne a women in white. Center, Jack now seems to stare at Wendy, doubly obscured behind curtained wall and giant plant. In between them, is Stanley Kubirck’s own daughter Vivian, haloed by the bathroom light. To the right, a heater combines with the bar.
∆ Jack is last seen alive sitting in an inverted blue hexagon, with a white square enclosed. Time slowing down.
∆ Stopping. Reversing. After freezing to death, Jack is later seen in a hexagon shaped crowd framed in a black square.
∆ Looking down the Lobby again, thinking about elemental water and the general lack of the color blue. What is Jack’s main motivation for going to the Gold Room?
∆ The opposite end of the color spectrum meet in deep purple.
∆ Jack has left liquids behind walking past towers of bottles, rows of glasses, a coffee urn, a water cooler, blue pipes, etc.
∆ Down a twisting stairwell reminiscent of the Masonic Second Degree Tracing Board.
∆ We see the cup in the shape of the flattened perspective hallway. Do we also see the hourglass? Are the balloons like grains of sand falling? There are 24 balloons, 10 on the left side of the hall and 14 on the right. One balloon, near the center, rocks back and forth as if it’s about to move over to the other side. Could this arrangement represent the 24 hour day, with wintertime 10 hours of daylight and 14 hours of night, with the rocking balloon representing that half hour of change during the solstice? The hexagon and the square on the left = 6 + 4 = 10 = Ten balloons on the left. The floor numbers on the elevator 1 and 4 = 14 = Fourteen balloons on the right.
∆ The entire shot of the balloon hallway is 12 seconds long. Five seconds with the camera still, then seven seconds with the camera moving. 5 x 2 = 10, 7 x 2 = 14. What other 5:7 ratios are in the film? The contractual duration of Jack’s stay at the Overlook, five months out of the 12 month year.
Listen carefully, at the five second mark you will hear the mechanical click of a clock minute hand advancing one spot. The camera moves forward, then you hear a series of three footsteps. The camera moves before Jack walks. Jack is being lead by a unseen hand.
The ideas above are based on a series of late night communications between John Fell Ryan and Joe Brintnell. In the exchange of viewpoints, a bigger picture comes into focus.