STANLEY KUBRICK'S EYES WIDE SHUT
Shot-by-Shot Analysis
Table of Contents

Introduction

For the real film buff, I've gone through and listed shots, images from each, and length of time of shots. Because I raised myself on the old Evergreen Black Cat cinema books which took pains to do the same and loved studying them. And because that is the only way I felt I could really begin to do a good, involved analysis of Kubrick's films, which are very complex internally, and also all the films being related to one another.

Kubrick's films elicit a lot of whys and wherefores, "What does this mean?", because he included so many seeming puzzles inviting review, mysteries that demanded second and third notice, editing quirks and both subtle and obvious shifts in staging. My analyses haven't much to do with the psychology, but look at Kubrick's choices of stories, music, places he filmed, staging, the differences between the literature and the script that made it onto celluloid and how he chose to edit it all together, carrying themes from film to film, and based on these elements I dip into a variety of possible influences.

Links Below to Sections on this Page:

Table of Contents for this Analysis
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9
Supplemental posts
The Maps
The Locations
Notes on the Analyses (Disclaimer)


An In-depth Shot-by-shot Analysis of Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut - The Sections

TOC and Supplemental Posts | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Films Home

Headings and some subjects covered:

Part One

The First Waltz Two, Shots 1 through 12
The first echelon. Differences between the first dressing room scene and the second. Foreshadowing the black cloaks. The mirrors. The different views out the dressing room window. The dance before the dance. The problem of not being seen. The painting of the grounds of Mentmore (Somerton) in the living room.
The Ziegler's Party, Shots 13 through 32
View of a hidden 237. The story of Helen of Troy. Cupid and Psyche. Linking the Ziegler mansion, Sharky's, and Rainbow costume rental. The festival of lights and the Christmas season. One woman replaces another. Alice's failed art gallery and Sandor's offer of help. Temperance and Gemini. The invitation to the end of the rainbow, Sagittarius, QShTh, and Fidelio. A possible for CRM-114. An initiation.
The Overdose, Shots 33 through 55
Painting of a pregnancy. The theme of the eye in Kubrick's work. The switch from the red phone and twisted lamp to the drug paraphernalia and another lamp. A lucky girl. An understanding.
The Mirror, Shots 56 through 57
The switch of paintings. Compared to the book.

Part Two

Day Two, Life at Home and the Office, Shots 58 through 70
What's beneath the wrapping. Reading between the lines. A day in the life of Bill at his office, and Alice with Helena. A comparison to the road to the Overlook. "The Fright before Christmas" and doubling. I can't believe it's not butter and doubles. Doubling Van Gogh. The shadow. Alice's winding walk and The Shining. On troubadours, the language of love, and the secret in Alice's bandaid box.
The Argument, Shots 71 through 139
The naval officer. The peculiar nature of Alice's argument with Bill. The difficulty of attempting to psychoanalyze a movie character. The laughter of Alice. The cradle song.
Marion Nathanson, Shots 140 through 164
Nephilim and the gibborim, the heros of old. The disappearing sculpture. Dr. Carl Thomas as a double of Bill. The magic lamp.

Part Three

Bill's First Pass Down the Hidden Rainbow Street, Shots 164 through 168
The Mexican restaurant. Vitruvian man. Nipped in the Bud. Flying Burrito. The Pink Pussycat.
Bill's Second Pass Down the Hidden Rainbow Street, Shots 169 through 174
Sevens. Sharky's. The Yale bullies accost bill, replaying earlier events. The lost pleiades.
Bill's Third Pass Through the Neighborhood, Shots 175 through 194
Domino. The lotto store and Domino's apartment. Blume in love and Alice's interruption of Bill's escapade.
Eyes Wide Shut and De Palma's Hi, Mom
Comparison of Hi, Mom with 2001. The two apartments. Comparison of the theater of "Be Black, Baby" with Bill's ordeal at Somerton.

Part Four

Bill's Fourth Pass Through the Neighborhood, Shots 195 through 231
The Sonata Jazz Cafe. Comparison with the happenings at the Sonata with the Duke of York in A Clockwork Orange. The marquee and possible references to Gayle and Nuala. Night train. All exits are final. Fidelio. St. Nick, Nike, or Old Nick? Shining eyes.
Bill's Fifth Pass through the Neighborhood, Shots 232 through 259
Rainbow Fashions as Victor's second floor gallery of bronze Renaissance statues. "Looks like live" mannequins. The two versions of the dressing room closet at the Harford apartment as expressed in the Rainbow office where is also the Harford's rug. The myth of the rainbow, the flood and the mighty men of old.
Black and White
And Inbetween
Milton Keynes

Part Five

Somerton, Shots 260 through 361
The 7M96 cab. The doorkeepers. Somerton as the fabled classical labyrinths of Troy and Jericho. Exterior and interior locations. The dressing room mirrors, the screen, and the donning of the mask. Masks as submerging ego so the deity represented may manifest. The mask and the carnival. The Dionysian aspect. Fish. The association of the labyrinth's Ariadne with Dionysus. Bill literally enters the spotlight. The Bauta figure. Movement of participants echoing the mannequins in their continually being out of their designated order. Relationship of the library to the private Rainbow office and dressing room. Switching. Abigail. Another look at Sandor. Freedom.
Alice's Dream, Shots 362 through 379
Another change of location of the paintings. Differences between Alice's dream in the screenplay and the film. An examination of Alice's dream in the screenplay and how it relates to the film. The Shekinah and the desire to unity. On the garden of Eden, Noah, Dionysus, and the naval officer. Carnival and the flood. The state of affairs as Bill begins the next phase of his journey.

Part Six

The Second Visit to Sonata Jazz Leads to Gillespie's Cafe, Shots 380 through 385
University Place. Ones and unity. Auto repair and the cab. The mysterious package. The doubled top hat. The doubled guitar. Visit to Gillespie's. To be perfectly honest.
The Hotel Jas(n) which will later be the Verona Restaurant at 237, Shots 385 through 398
110 University Place. The envelope. The missing N and 50, Ghe story of Nick's check out. To be perfectly honest. Chess.
The Second Visit to the Rainbow Costume Shop, Shots 399 through 410
The 7M96 cab and its dent. Bowman. Ace and 111. The mysterious package. The missing mask. Milich's daughter as one who is costumed.
Return to Somerton, Shots 411 through 436
Aleph. Bill's office. The paintings ofAugust Macke, Modigliani and Edgar Degas. The yellow chair. On shots 379 and 385, Universal Time and Greenwich Mean Time. The second visit to Somerton. Jericho Turnpike and Somerton. The Musica Ricercata, BQR, and inquiry. The two gates and the twisted and nontwisted gate pulls.

Part Seven

Math with Carlos, Shots 437 through 454
The watch dog. Joe's problem. Revisiting Marion Nathanson.
The Return to Domino's, Shots 455 through 464
The void beyond the block. The return of the mysterious package. Choosing between the two doors. The battered Christmas tree. The rainbow. To be perfectly honest.
Bill Followed, Shots 465 through 486
Nicon house on Worship Street just down from Tabernacle Street. Diamond House. Vitali. Abandoned by cab 7M96. The encounter. Verona Restaurant at 237 and its relationship to Nike and Ariadne. The bow in Sharky's/The Rainbow. Lucky to be alive. The OD of Amanda Curran, lover of fashion designer Leon Vitali. The Requiem and Dies Irae. Kubrick's use of the two train incidents with coincidental timing. The graffiti. Ophelia and the paintings.
The Morgue, Shots 487 through 498
236. Troy. The #20 locker.

Part Eight

Return to Ziegler's Mansion, Shots 499 through 555
The billiards/pool room and its relationship to the Lou Nathanson household. The problem of Victor's knowledge of the locked apartment.
Unmasked, Shots 556 through 567
The mask on the pillow and how it comes to be there through the spatial/psychic logic of the film. Bill and Alice's apartment and the shifting position of the bedroom.

Part Nine

Helena Expects to go Christmas Shopping, Shots 568 through 573
The Magic Circle, Shots 574 through 587
Eyes Wide Shut as a process of awakening through the initiatory, inward journey aspects of the maze
The Oracle
Helena's Exit

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Supplemental Posts

Discreet Connections Between the Nathanson Apartment and the Billiard Room Scene (and a Question of Filming Location)

The Impossible Relationship of the Harford Bedroom to the Apartment, and Why it Matters

The Film's Internal Logic for the Discovery of the Mask on the Pillow

The Relationship of The Yellow VW in "The Shining" to the "Traumnovelle" Novel. How the yellow VW is able to comically hold so much relates to a yellow bag Albertine dreams about and the credenza in which Bill hides the Rainbow Fashions bag.

On a Portrait in Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut That Appears Also in A Yank in Ermine

Possible Influence of the 1969 Traumnovelle film on The Shining

What Happened at the Masked Ball of the 1969 Traumnovelle vs. Eyes Wide Shut

Traumnovelle, Eyes Wide Shut and the Vehmic Judges

The Sonata Cafe, Madame Jojo's, Number 10, the Rainbow and Downing Street

Stanley Kubrick, Anamnesis, and His Use of Railroad Imagery

The Relationship Between Bill's Tearing the Hundred Dollar Bill in Half to the Torn News Article of the Beauty Queen

Nietzsche, The Shining, and The White Man's Burden, in which I discuss also the role of women in other films of Kubrick's.

Sharky's and Sharky's Machine

Examining "Eyes Wide Shut" in respect of the films "Open Your Eyes", "Vanilla Sky" and "The Devil's Advocate"

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Location and Inspiration for Set Posts

Locations. All the below posts are on my blog and show locations in the present as compared with the film. I don't think anyone ever looks at these and they were lots of fun to research and do.

San Remo - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

Victor's Mansion - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

The Flatiron Building - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

3rd and Sullivan - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

The Pink Pussycat - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

The Back Fence - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

The Sonata Cafe, Madame Jojo's, Number 10, the Rainbow and Downing Street

Inspiration for the facade of Rainbow Fashions and a Neighboring Building

The Road to Jericho and Oyster Bay - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

University Place and Beyond - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

Possible Inspiration for the Jason Hotel - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

Leaving Domino's the Second Time - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

Followed by the Bald Man - Revisiting "Eyes Wide Shut"

Notes on the Analyses

Are you one of the league who find Kubrick's cinema fascinating and wonderful but are also confused by seeming peculiarities? Are you certain those often under-the-radar-over-the-head weirdnesses must mean something? Or maybe you're just curious? Here's my request. That you, please, think in terms of art with intention, which isn't conspiracy and has nothing to do with conspiracy theories. Would you think of music composed of unspoken themes as being conspiracy? What's difficult is teasing out the artist's conscious intention as versus accidental as versus the viewer's role as an active pilgrim walking the road that art provides to accessing the unconscious and mythic, the vast knowledge that has been archived in your brain from birth forward of symbols and metaphors and archetypes through navigating the warehouse of such that is actively and passively feeding you in the cultures of everyday society. As an author and artist, I know what it is to hope for at least a few such pilgrims, confident they are the minority, that most think in terms of being only entertained, and to attempt to compose for both. Even with those who are just wanting a good story, or who want to dissect a film for practical good-cinema purposes, the majority would likely admit that it is the inherent mystery in Kubrick's films that functions as their primary gravity. It is that sense of something deeper, a subterranean coherence that provides the glue, that compels individuals to return and perhaps begin to move, without their even realizing it, from a passive state into a more active, participatory role where art becomes a transformative experience rather than just visual popcorn. For that matter, even a simple detective story can actively engage the viewer, and Kubrick's films have a touch of the detective genre to them. For instance, at the end of The Shining Kubrick zooms in on Jack seemingly appearing in an old photograph of The Overlook, and he is holding what looks like a little slip of paper, a little rectangle of white in the palm of his hand, as if displaying it for us, but what is it? One is compelled to try to solve the mystery of Jack in the photo, what could be in his hand, so one watches the movie again. That's the sleuthing, detective part of watching Kubrick's films.

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 deconstruction 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 and reveals these elements that betray the overt and naturalistic story line as being artifice, a studio fiction that rests upon something both more solid and also bizarre. The surface story lines are the principle ones, but they are maintained and supported by the sub rosa dialogue. These deconstructive elements are plainly there, alongside his tremendous effort to make things look real and believable, and play with a purposeful sense of disorientation that when locked into exposes a puzzle that annihilates the sense of reality. This destruction of the film's naturalistic story line is difficult enough to conceive of and accept, and it's easy enough to stop at this point and decide these puzzling aspects of Kubrick's films are errors. But 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 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 in the hands of the participant viewer who is engaged rather than a passive recipient.

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Link to the main TOC page for all the analyses

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