Stanley Kubrick is, & among other things, a quality-control freak, and in the interest of precisely preserving these films’ color designs and picture clarity, the director has personally supervised new video transfers for cassette and disc reissues. The tape versions look great, but they don’t have the discs’ hallucinatory vividness — or show as clearly how Kubrick’s obsession with photographic verisimilitude can sometimes suck the life out of his movies.

The Shining plays better, thanks to Jack Nicholson’s all-stops-out turn as a hotel caretaker compelled to attack his wife and son, Kubrick seems less interested in the family’s anguish than in sending his camera down corridors to linger on decor. The laser format certainly captures the hotel’s immaculate, mirrorlike sheen, but you’ll long to find more engaging human reflections within the bric-a-brac. B-

The Shining
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