Go to Table of Contents of the analysis (which has also a statement on purpose and manner of analysis and a disclaimer as to caveat emptor and my knowing anything authoritatively, which I do not, but I do try to not know earnestly, with some discretion, and considerable thought).
The most important thing which must be kept in mind with Kubrick's films is there is the surface or principle story and then the internal or sub-story. In many of his films, if we're really paying attention, set elements pretty much immediately destroy the surface naturalism. One may not notice this destruction the first, second or third time one watches the film. Through constructive disorientation and disconnectedness, and sleight of hand as to where our eye focuses, Kubrick, the magician, intentionally obfuscates these elements that destroy the overt and naturalistic story line. The surface story lines are the principle ones, and this is maintained and supported by the intentional obfuscation of the deconstructive elements which keep them sub rosa. At the same time, these deconstructive elements are plainly there, alongside his tremendous effort to make things look real and believable, and once we bypass the disorientation and his purposeful refocusing they become a puzzle, annihilating the sense of reality. This destruction of the film's naturalistic story line is difficult enough to conceive of and accept that most people stop at this point and decide these puzzling aspects of Kubrick's films are errors when they are not. They are part of the art of a director cleverly designing the overt story line to be unimpeded by an internal story that tears it apart. Indeed, the sub rosa elements of the internal story may be discreet but they are enough in evidence to complicate the surface story with an aura of attractive, indefinable mystery, which is one of the reasons viewers return to Kubrick again and again. To work with the "reason" and "why of the internal story line is to try to settle into Kubrick's sensibility, examining how these internal stories form a dialogue in his oeuvre with repeating themes and ideas, elaborated upon from film to film. The internal stories haven't a "plot"; they aren't that kind of story. Instead, you have to be willing to deal with comprehending the themes and ideas represented in them as instead ultimately forming a different terrain for the setting of the surface story, guiding and interacting with the overt story and giving it a new form.
THE SAN REMO
San Remo - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut" - Google Maps Redux
Bill and Alice live at the San Remo building at 145/146 Central Park West, though the exterior of the building doesn't fit at all with the layout of the apartment but who cares. We're twice given this anchor, between the scenes of Alice and Bill in the dressing room at film's beginning, and later when Bill returns home from his second trip to Somerton.
The below image above is a side view of the building, from 74th Street.
A Back Fence - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut" - Google Maps Redux
San Remo Entrance - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut" - Google Maps Redux
Above is the front of the San Remo.
After the first shot of the San Remo in the film, Kubrick cuts to Bill at the dressing room window, Bill searching for something but also looking out the window. What he's looking at out the window, if anything, or out what side of the building out of which he might be looking we don't know.
The Benches - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut" - Google Maps Redux
In the shot of the building just preceding Bill in his dressing room, a man is seated on the far left of these benches across the street from the San Remo in front of Central park. Is Bill looking out at this man? I play with this idea in the analysis, looking at how sight lines are arranged.
Below are a couple of bonus shots, just because I like them. One is a corner view of the building neighboring the San Remo, between it and the Dakota, and the other shows a view of the benches before that building and a worker looking up at it. A much better bench shot than the above, but not the right building.
Looking up on Central Park West - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut" - Google Maps Redux
The Building Between the San Remo and the Dakota - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut" - Google Maps Redux
And then the shot of the building from the film.
A KIND OF 237 COINCIDENCE WITH THE SAN REMO
237 appears several times in the film. One reality instance is the facade used for Victor's mansion neighbors 237 Madison Avenue, a hotel directly behind it. On set, 237 is the address of the Verona Restaurant and 236 is the address directly across the hospital, which implies the hospital is 237.
Another 237 coincidence is that there is an old hotel in San Francisco called the San Remo, been there since 1906, and it is on 2237 Mason Street. Pure coincidence that Kubrick has Bill and Alice in a building that has a (sort of) 237 twin in San Fran? It very well may be. (And of course it's not exactly 237.) But during Bill's later encounter with the frat ruffians they tell him he should go back to San Fran where he belongs.
As noted above, we view the exterior of the San Remo twice. In shot 7, just before we see Bill in the dressing room, and then in shot 437 when he returns home from his second trip to Somerton and finds Alice helping Helena with her math homework. Both shots are essentially the same but in shot 7 we see a person crossing a street and in shot 437 the same person is observed finishing crossing the street. It has taken 430 shots and a couple of days for that person to finish crossing the street. Quite a trek. I have wondered if 2237 (our west coast, San Fran San Remo) doesn't in Kubrickian logic equal 437. Probably not, but I've entertained the idea.
The San Francisco Remo is in Long Beach, which was an Italian and then Beatnik area. We find nearby Columbus Street and Greenwich Street and a Washington Park, the Greenwich and Washington Park reminding of the NY Greenwich village ramblings. There used to be a San Remo Cafe, frequented by beatniks etc., at 93 MacDougal in Greenwich, which is in the area of street shots where we find Bill rambling. A Greenwich anchor Kubrick gives us is a street corner that can be identified by the club The Back Fence which is on Bleeker street, a couple of blocks from 93 MacDougal. This live street shot is between the scene in which Bill has his altercation with the frat boys, and the scene in which he meets Domino. Take these notes as casual jottings.
Anyway, why possibly have a reference to the San Fran San Remo, if such does exist here? In his films, Kubrick plays with an imaginary center point continually, and if we take our clues from "2001" the monolith is what lies between the opposites. We see this with his numerous flip horizontals and nearly symmetrical POV of shots (the latter especially in "2001" and "The Shining"). He positions the Overlook on an artificial meridian, which I discuss in "The Shining" analysis, and I think he uses Greenwich in the same way to refer to the Greenwich Prime Meridian. These various San Remos play into again the idea of opposites. What strikes me with the San Remo in NY is that it is opposite Central Park (another "center"). He does the pivoting around a center also, most pointedly, in "Eyes Wide Shut", with the shots from either side of a bowling alley, as described in Part Six of the analysis, shots 380 and 386. We have it also with his approaching Somerton from one side on his first trip, then from the opposite side on his second trip out.