The Shining: Dick Hallorann

Dick Hallorann,
the Overlook Hotel cook, makes a very special connection with Danny.   He shares Danny’s gift of the Shining and is an essential supporting character. Kubrick’s version is similar to the mini-series, but they have their differences too.

When Mr. Hallorann, in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, introduces himself to the Torrance family, he doesn’t mingle too long.  He does not share a room with Ullman or Watson longer than necessary.  Ullman and Watson acknowledge Hallorann, greeting him enough of a welcome to act cordial.  The three of them spend very little time together before Ullman sends Hallorann away.   When Dick escorts Wendy and Danny through the kitchen, he strikes a conversation with Wendy questioning her identity while giving a tour riddled with subliminal messages.    Hallorann is an isolated character.  After asked to take Wendy and Danny aside, he later has an intimate conversation with Danny alone.  We see an abridged story of “And There was None”.   It’s just Hallorann and Danny.

Kubrick’s Dick Hallorann is a solitary man and appears to be misanthrope.   He lives alone and speaks to no one.  His erotic art proudly displayed in his bedroom borders between audacious and tacky.  It is not expected from someone as reserved as Hallorann.  What is his true identity?

The mini-series portrays Dick Hallorann more jovial.  He has a long and close relationship with Pete Watson.  Both of them show disdain for Ullman.  He shows the family a tour, father included.  He insists the family show caution living in the Overlook.   The mini-series portrays him much more sociable.  He’s even seen dancing in a diner, unlike Kubrick, he is bathed in glows of sunlight.   While Kubrick exhibits Danny’s distress call as a trance, the mini-series strikes Dick physically like a punch to the nose.   It goes so far to literally echo Danny’s call for help just in case you didn’t understand.


Both versions are parallel to each other until Dick returns to the Overlook.  Each serve their purpose providing the sno-cat to escape the Overlook in.  While Kubrick decided to sacrifice Hallorann in order to live up to expectations of murder in a horror film, the mini-series was faithful to the book, having Dick survive and escape with Wendy and Danny.

Each character served the story well in the context in was intended for.   Kubrick’s Hallorann may be a little more mysterious and suspicious.  He saw how superficial Dick was and had him contribute no more than he needed.  He takes Danny on a tour of the hotel, learns of his Shining powers, and returns giving the mother and son a means to leave the Overlook.  The mini-series offered a little more dialog between he and the Torrances.  Listen how he talks with Watson.  They imply a long past with the hotel.  It is a difficult place to work but they are survivors.   They are part of the history at the Overlook.  Just like most everything and everyone else there.

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining
Stephen King’s The Shining TV mini-series


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