Stanley Kubrick was a notorious perfectionist—Slim Pickens turned down the role of Dick Hallorann in The Shining, eventually played by Scatman Crothers, because Kubrick refused to promise to limit his number of takes on any of Pickens’ shots to under 100.
So it’s no surprise that Kubrick gave some thought to the foreign-language versions of his movies. One of the pivotal scenes in The Shining occurs when Wendy Torrance, played by Shelley Duvall, comes upon the thick, typewritten manuscript that her husband Jack has been working on for weeks, only to find that every single page is covered with thousands of iterations of the creepy phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
Kubrick understood that the power of the scene is considerably blunted if you can’t understand the text and therefore must rely on a bland, impersonal, possibly poorly translated subtitle at the bottom of the screen. So Kubrick took the time to shoot four other versions of the scene, for use in the Spanish, Italian, French, and German cuts of the movie. According to The Overlook Hotel, a website run by Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich that is dedicated to Shining ephemera and lore, “Kubrick filmed a number of different language versions of the ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ insert shot as Wendy leafs through Jack’s work. Many of these alternate language stacks of paper can be seen in the Stanley Kubrick Archive.”
Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca
(The morning has gold in its mouth)
Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen
(Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today)
No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano
(No matter how early you get up, you can’t make the sun rise any sooner)
Un Tiens vaut mieux que deux Tu l’auras
(What you have is worth much more than what you will have)
The link provided by The Overlook Hotel is 404, and my lengthy, feverish attempts to track down pictures of these “alternate stacks of paper,” alas, came to nothing. I would love to see these stacks of paper!
I was able to track down stills of the German and Italian versions on the Internet, but I can’t vouch for their authenticity. They do look legit, though.
Here’s the legendary “All work and no play” scene—in English: