Brow Beat

Calling All Writers: Jack Torrance’s Jacket From The Shining Is for Sale!

Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in The Shining.
Jack Torrance contemplates the literary life. Warner Bros.

Whether you’re a struggling writer looking to banish writer’s block forever or the long-suffering parent, sibling, spouse, or casual acquaintance of someone who’s chosen to wring a living from the written word, you’ll want to pay attention to Lot 24 at Italian auction house Aste Bolaffi’s upcoming sale of Stanley Kubrick memorabilia. Here’s how their catalog describes it:

Burgundy corduroy jacket with brown woolen elasticated waistband, shirt collar, 7 buttons, buttoned pockets on the front, L size, inside the label of Margaret Howell.

To most people, that sounds like an unremarkable old coat, but to your local would-be novelist, playwright, or blogger, it spells one thing: inspiration. That’s right: the “burgundy corduroy jacket” on offer is none other than the one worn by Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick’s masterful ode to the literary life, The Shining. The film, which chronicles novelist Jack Torrance’s heroic efforts to obtain the peace and quiet he needs to finish his book, has long been a touchstone for writers and readers alike, and now you can take home a piece of it. Just think how much easier it will be to bang out sentence after sentence when you’re wearing the very jacket the author of “Concerning the Black Holes” wore while wrestling his manuscript for The Little School into shape!

The jacket is just one of 55 lots of Stanley Kubrick-related memorabilia up for sale from Kubrick’s assistant Emilio D’Alessandro, who worked for the director between 1971 and 1999. A lot of it is just ephemera: Lot 49 is a handwritten note from 1989 in which Kubrick requests that D’Alessandro pick up prints of The Black Stallion and Hot Stuff for the weekend, then changes his mind and tells him to just hang on to The Exorcist instead. Still, there are some real treasures there besides Torrance’s jacket: keychains from the Overlook Hotel, carpets from the Colorado Lounge, an oil painting Leelee Sobieski made for Kubrick during the filming of Eyes Wide Shut, and, for the aspiring doctor or orgy-infiltrator in your family, Tom Cruise’s coat from the same film, slightly motheaten. But for anyone who dreams of having their name up in book store lights, there’s only one item worth bidding on. What will you write when you’re wearing it?

The auction will take place on March 27 at the Sala Bolaffi in Turin. To pass the time until then, here’s Jack Torrance hard at work in the Italian version of The Shining, wearing a very familiar jacket:

It’s the scene that launched a million literary careers.