The Shining: The doctor


The doctor,
pays Danny a visit in both Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and Stephen King’s The Shining TV mini-series.  Both share a common purpose but their approaches and contributions to the story are very much different.

In the novel, the pediatrician who sees Danny is in Sidewinder, and named Dr. “Just call me Bill” Edmonds.  However, both Kubrick’s film and the television mini-series deviate from it.  In Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the doctor is an unnamed woman in an otherwise carefully crafted scene.  The examination happens in Boulder before the Torrances move to The Overlook.  Danny’s oversized teddy bear pillow is as much as an attention-grabber as Wendy’s outfit or the ghostly Goofy figure hanging from the window shelf.


The doctor and Wendy take their discussion to the living room.  Wendy is assured there was nothing physically wrong with Danny.  But the doctor begins examining Wendy, with uncanny sense of the abnormal.  Her questions pin Wendy as an outsider cornering her as a family uncomfortable or dangerous to themselves outside their haven in Vermont.  When Wendy tries to explain Danny’s separated shoulder, the look on the doctor’s face borders between disbelief and disdain.  There is no graceful exit for Kubrick’s doctor.  She exits the scene as she was introduced, abruptly.


In a rare example of omitting something from the original source, the mini-series skips the examination altogether.   True to the novel, it does occur in Sidewinder after Danny’s incident.    Doctor Edwards, in his comfortable office, shows emphatic approval of Danny’s health.  The scene itself is unremarkable, visibly.  It employs a rough, unpolished shot reverse shot that unintentionally bathes the doctor and Wendy with suspicion by obscuring much of the frame.  Nevertheless, the doctor begins questioning Wendy as if scripted by the Child Welfare office.  As much we begin noticing subtle differences between doctors, the Wendys couldn’t be more different.  The mini-series Wendy was more forthright about Danny’s injury and Jack’s alcoholism.  The doctor, more sympathetic, tries to secure an honest assessment of Wendy’s home life.   In contrast, we never knew what Kubrick’s doctor may have thought.  She didn’t even have a name.

 

Kubrick’s doctor was played by Anne Jackson.
The mini series’ Dr. Daniel Edwards was played by Michael O’Neill.

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


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