EYES WIDE SHUT ANALYSIS - PART TWO
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.
58 MS Elevator door opening and Bill exiting into his medical practice office. (20:47)
A return of Shostakovich's Waltz 2 from The First Echelon, as if we are beginning the film again. We view an elevator door that opens (onto the second floor) not by sliding left and right from a center divide, but is in three tiers that slide to screen left. As the door opens we see Bill in a suit with a jazzy piece of art work brightening the rear of the elevator. He exits, directly entering the reception area of his shared practice, and approaches the front desk, the sinuous curved lines of which are echoed in the blue seating that lines the wall in the waiting room beyond. The serpentine curves of the desk and seating remind of the second shot in The Shining, in which we have, after the intro of the helicopter passing over St. Mary's island, an introduction to Jack's yellow beetle following an S-shaped curve of road.
The elevator sliding open also recalls 2001, when the elevator opens upon the stewardess in pink (Margaret London/Lyndon) and Floyd after his arrival at Space Station V. In both we have a situation concerning a receptionist.
It is Christmas time, so there are Christmas cards about and a small fake evergreen is sitting next to the S-curved counter, which makes this counter seem even more like an in-joke reference to The Shining, with its S-curved road winding its way through mountain top pines. What this does end up calling attention to is the later section where Bill travels to Somerton to attend the orgy. As he approaches Somerton, we have an abrupt break from a Long Island location to an environment populated by tall, full pine trees.
We will soon have another more obvious flashback to The Shining at the Harford household.
An employee greets Bill not by his name but, formally, by "Doctor". He asks for Jenelle to bring him his coffee, greets a nurse, Sarah, who also addresses him as simply "Doctor".
That's some distance there when your employees only refer to you as "doctor".
BILL: Hello, Liza.
LIZA: Morning, doctor. Mail?
BILL: Good. (Glances at the mail.) Please ask Janelle if she'll bring me my coffee.
BILL: Thank you.
Advancing through the waiting room, he speaks to a nurse straightening magazines.
BILL: Good morning, Sarah.
SARAH: Good morning, doctor.
We're provided a brief glimpse of a painting in Bill's front office of a figure in yellow and red looking down a street toward an arch in the distance under which are observed several mysterious figures in red beneath a section of the painting which looks like the number 7. One has the impression that the person in the foreground is surreptitiously watching and following the red figures. Kubrick will return to this painting later in the film, it showing prominently when Bill is in a state of anxiety and confusion subsequent his experience at Somerton.
Looking at the above image of Bill standing before the receptionist desk, we view through Bill's office windows a scene that in its vague confusion of architectural details, light and shadow, could be said to mimic the arch composition in the painting.
We also see some wall art next the Christmas tree in the waiting room.
One has the feeling that this is intended to be a flower--one can make out a stem with leaves. But where is the flower? Instead, above are undefined flourishes.
The bloom may be inferred with the light from the ceiling lamp striking the wall where the bloom should be. If the bloom is the light's reflection, one might look upon this as a sun or a moon flower, and in the next shot we have sunflowers in a painting behind Alice.
59 MS Helena and Alice at the breakfast table. (21:03)
Cut to Alice with their daughter in the kitchen, seated at the breakfast table over which hangs a Christiane Kubrick painting of yellow apples blushed with rose. A small picture of Vincent Van Gogh sun flowers is inset in the left of the painting, above the apples. This is Christiane's "Homage to Van Gogh".
Several of Helena's drawings are on the wall beside.
Just as in The Shining domestic dining scenes of mother and child were accompanied by television cartoons, so too we have Helena watching Bugs Bunny on the television, Speedy Gonzales (a mouse) on the screen. We hear "T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." Dressed in a white robe decorated with perhaps a cherry design, the daughter eats cereal. Alice, in a blue bathrobe, drinks coffee, reading the newspaper. Toast, a bottle of Welch's grape jam, a bear shaped container of honey, and a container of "I Can't Believe it's Not Butter" rest on the table.
The cartoon is suited because of the Christmas theme. One could stop there and think it has simply been included because it is around Christmas and so here is a Christmas cartoon. However, later in the movie Kubrick will have this cartoon reflecting and commenting on the action, the same as he did in The Shining.
Here we have the poem on Christmas referring to a mouse and Speedy Gonzales. He wears a red kerchief that Wikipedia notes is like those worn during the St. Fermin festival, its celebration in Pamplona involving the famous "Running of the Bulls" or Encierro, in which men race with the bulls to the bullring. It may be Speedy Gonzales connects to the labyrinth via the bull.
Looking up Speedy Gonzales, I find the cartoon being watched is "The Fright Before Christmas". A Tasmanian Devil, being flown over the North Pole, escapes and accidentally ends up dressed in Santa's clothing and delivering presents in his sleigh. Speedy Gonzales barely factors and only appears in this one shot. The story concerns Taz showing up at Bugs Bunny's house and Bugs getting rid of him. At first, when Taz is covered with soot from the chimney and black from head to toe, Bugs believes him to be Santa Claus, then Taz spins the dirt off and Bugs realizes who it actually is. Taz, covered in soot as the shadow, fits in with the "My Shadow" poem Helena will later read and shadow aspects throughout the film. The idea of the "fright" before Christmas suits Eyes Wide Shut with Bill getting a considerable fright. At one point in the cartoon, which we don't see here, Bugs feeds Taz the requisite cookies and milk that often await Santa on the hearth (he's asked if he wants Devil's Food cake), and this foreshadows Alice later seen eating Devil's food cookies while watching television, the "shadow" directly referenced in that scene via a book before the mirror in Domino's apartment.
"Speedy" also reminds of Amanda's ODing on the speedball. What had Victor said to Amanda? "That was really one hell of a scare you gave us, kiddo." "Fright" could easily be substituted.
The fright before Christmas.
So, the cartoon comments in multiple ways on the action and might be taken as dropping into the middle of this breakfast a little window on Bill's secret, confidential house call the night before. Just as when Bill is with Domino we'll see a movie that Alice is watching providing another window on Bill's actions.
Continuing on. What is authentic and what is not the real thing? What hasn't fidelity? Butter is not butter and what represents itself as a bear is instead honey. In the Looney Tunes cartoon, Santa proves to instead be the Tasmanian Devil when the soot is removed. And then there's Christiane's rendering of Van Gogh flowers in homage of him.
Alice, her eyes on the paper, places down her coffee cup to the right of the paper.
The night before, Alice didn't have on her glasses, was not directly looking at Sandor, the Hungarian, but clearly she was observing him out the corner of her eye prior their meeting at the bar, and so too the table behind her upon which she ably (if drunkenly) placed her champagne glass, and Sandor had noticed this. Here, Alice has on her glasses, reading the paper, and we have a replication of that scene, only this time she doesn't appear to be looking at what she's doing out the corner of her eye, instead she's judging by body memory when she places her coffee cup to the side of the paper. We see with the way her hand slightly drags on the cup that she is briefly uncertain and reassuring herself that it is placed securely on the table.
The sunflowers above the table, inset in the painting, perhaps revisit the switch of paintings above the dresser the night before. Where had initially been the painting of the partly defoliated tree, as Bill and Alice stood before the mirror we saw instead a scene with squash, sunflower and an arch. The defoliated tree being replaced with the sunflower perhaps connects with the bloomless flower in Bill's office, which by inference is the sunflower with the hot spot of the light striking where the bloom should be. The title of the partially defoliated tree had been "View from the Kitchen in Winter" and was replaced with a sunflower. Now we are in the kitchen and find in it a painting of sunflowers. We already are aware that we have two very different views from the dressing room window when Alice was in it and when Bill was finishing readying for the party. We may need to look upon these paintings also as windows that say something about the apartment's relationships in place and time.
One could say, of the painting above the breakfast table (an "Homage to Van Gogh" by Christiane Kubrick), that we have two things coexisting in one spot. One could say of this painting, "I can't believe it's not Van Gogh", as in "I can't believe it's not butter", Christiane's painting featuring a "faithful" duplication of Van Gogh's sunflowers alongside her own painting of sunflowers. We don't view Christiane's full painting here, but in it there are two such paintings of Van Gogh sunflowers as if pasted into the scene, alongside her own vision of sunflowers, and two boxes of apples.
The use of sunflowers is also notable, in relation to the doublings and twinning ideas, as Van Gogh painted multiple versions of sunflowers, not just different displays of them but repetitions of the same arrangement with multiple variations.
A neon pink straw in the middle of the table seems to carry on the S-curve of the counter and bench viewed in the previous scene.
60 MS Bill examining a woman, a nurse standing alongside. (21:10)
Cut to Bill with a model-beautiful woman, examining her, a nurse at their side. The patient is as voluptuous as Amanda and the women we will later see at the party at Somerton.
BILL: Okay. That's fine. You can put your gown back on.
A nurse assists the woman whose physical perfection, like the woman in Victor's bathroom, is such that it seems almost impossible. Bill looks on, smiling.
61 MS Alice does Helena's hair in her bedroom. (21:19)
Cut to Alice in her daughter's room, helping her dress, doing her hair. Helena wears a red mock turtleneck top and a red jumper with sequins on the bodice. The sun shines through the windows which have curtains in predominate bright red and orange bands of color decorated with stars and other designs. To screen left we see an illustration of a panda on the wall beneath another illustration. A Snoopy toy sits on a desk behind the pair. Snoopy also appears in The Shining.
Alice is not dressed yet in street clothes, still wearing her blue bathrobe.
ALICE (handing the blue hair brush to her daughter): Hold this, will you?
62 MCU Bill examines the neck glands of a boy, his mother observed beyond. (21:24)
Cut to Bill examining a little boy of about ten years of age, his mother standing to the rear of the room next to an eye chart. He asks the boy if he's looking forward to Christmas. The boy doesn't mention that his throat hurts when Bill touches certain glands, but Bill can apparently tell, asking the boy if it hurts, and the boy says yes. Bill is talking about one thing while at the same time reading the boy's neck and response for something else in a simultaneous nonverbal communication.
Behind and above the eye chart reminds of the ability to see and read visually in symbols. In the Hebrew alphabet, ayin corresponds with O and means eye so it's appropriate the chart opens with this at the top.
One is perhaps reminded of The Shining and Danny's injuries to his neck after being choked in room 237. As it happened there was a chart on choking in several places in the hotel in which a trapezoid or pyramid shape was topped with an 0 in which was an image of a choking child. The eye chart could be seen as a reference to this as well.
We may also see in the eye chart the eye of HAL which watched over most of 2001.
BILL: Looking forward to Christmas?
BILL: This hurt?
The pictures in the background are by the Michigan artist, Robert Thom, two of a number of works commissioned by the pharmaceutical company, Parke-Davis & Co. The top painting depicts Edward Jenner performing the first injection against smallpox on a young James Phillips. The second painting is of the chemist Louis Pasteur, in his laboratory. One of the vessels has a long swan-neck (again, the S-shape curve) and was specially crafted for his experiment that proved microbes didn't appear by spontaneous generation but were instead produced by other microbes (paraphrasing from the University of Michigan site).
Now. The eye chart which reads OAT at the top. And, believe it or not, this squirrelly thing will take us back to The Killing and boot us back to up to a defining moment in this film.
In shot 45 in The Killing, for narration we have,"At 7:00 p.m., that same day, Johnny Clay, perhaps the most important thread in the unfinished fabric...", as from beyond the 4th wall we see first, on the left, a container of Quaker Oat Meal, and then Johnny popping open a can of bear and moving through the apartment, the camera tracking as he passes behind not partitioning walls but bookcases, blinds, curtains.
Jump forward to shot 133 in The Killing. It's 5:00 a.m. We are looking at a horse in its stall. The narration states Red Lightning was fed only a half-portion of feed in preparation for the 7th race that afternoon. What is a horse's feed but oats?
Then in shot 134 we see a row of horse stalls. One will assume that shot 134 probably shows Red Lightning in the foreground, which is perhaps not the case. In shot 133 we see to the side of the stall door and that it is uncluttered. In shot 134, a broom and other things are to the side of the first stall. The 2nd stall is 44. The 3rd stall from the camera reads, I believe, 45. A horse with a blaze is in that stall. We can't tell much at all further down. With shot 133 we focus on the horse and the "star" on its head and the star on the barrier stretched across the stall door. If we look carefully at shot 134, the first stall next the camera has the star, but the star on the barrier for stall 45 is inverted.
Bear with me, though this seems screwy. Now back up in The Killing to when Johnny is meeting with Nikki, giving him the job of killing the race horse, Red Lightning. They are shooting targets.
In the top image, Nikki is shooting at the targets and we see farmland in the background. The targets are hung on a rope that runs along the back of them.
In the second image, Nikki and Johnny haven't moved and farm buildings are now in view rather than farmland. But what of the targets? They are still facing the camera. They have flipped in respect to Nikki and Johnny's positions. We see the rope connecting them in the back. Their elbows still point screen left. Reversals. Oppositions. This follows after a mirror reversal shot at the chess academy.
But, look, the number 504.
The address of Marvin's apt building is 504, which we first saw in shot 45.
At the chess academy, a chess hot shot named Maurice, who is also the film's guru, describes a missed chess play and both a 5 and 4 are mentioned. He says, "Oh, you patsan. You missed a move. Knight to knight five, pawn takes knight, rook takes rook, queen to rook four, check. King to bishop..." Then he is cut off by the man telling him to go away and bother someone else.
Now, jump to shot 540 in Eyes Wide Shut. This is the shot where Bill, in Victor's billiard/library room, removes from his pocket a torn newspaper article about the girl's death and unfolds it. As we will find later, this relates to shot 270 in which Bill has his exchange with the cab driver. He gives him half of the hundred dollar bill and promises him the other half when he gets back, which may be in ten minutes or an hour. This is a kind of half-way point in the film symbolized by the tearing in half of the bill. Jump forward to the scene at Victor's and the shot when Bill pulls the torn newspaper clipping out of his pocket? The shot number? 540.
63 MS Alice's bare buttocks from the rear as she dresses in her bedroom. (21:30)
Cut to a rear shot of Alice naked in her bedroom. She wears black knee socks. The camera slides up to show her bending over to fit her breasts in a black bra before open blinds.
This is nearly but not exactly the same dressing room scene as in the opening shot with Alice, the way the drapery hangs in its pulls is in the same manner in that shot, and the window sill is nearly bare. There is no floor lamp however, and we don't see any sports equipment. Kubrick is careful not to show the mirrored doors of the dressing room closet, the focus being only on Alice. It is a somewhat jarring shot as it arrives amongst scenes of Alice performing her domestic duties, caring for Helena, and is distinctly sexual in nature though Alice is only fitting on her bra in the correct way.
She wears pearl dangles and her glasses.
We've already covered how the two opening shots of Bill and Alice in the dressing room have not only a different arrangement of furnishings but entirely different city exteriors outside the window. The bra we next observe Alice wearing in the bathroom is not the same as the one we see in this dressing room shot and her hair will have not been done up yet though here it is.
64 MS Bill examining the leg of a man. (21:40)
Cut to Bill examining a man's leg in what appears to be the same room in which he examined the boy. The same nurse stands beside. The man wears a shirt, tie and boxers. We note the door is a bright blue, nearly the same shade as we will see with the light through many of the windows at night.
I've always thought it kind of funny how much the nurse assisting Bill resembles Mary Steenburgen, once a wife of Malcolm McDowell. I don't know who the actress is as she doesn't appear to be credited.
As Bill lifts the man's leg he observes the man tensing at a certain point in discomfort and asks him "Right there?" Yes. But Bill had already discovered the source of pain through nonverbal communication.
BILL (lifting the man's leg): Right there?
MALE PATIENT: Yeah.
65 MS Helena and Alice in the bathroom. (21:47)
Cut to Alice in the bathroom with her daughter who is brushing her teeth. Alice now wears a bra that seems to be dark purple rather than black, and the lace pattern in the side bands is different from the black bra which we'd earlier seen her fitting on. Her hair is also now down rather than up. She wears a black skirt. She applies deodorant then sniffs her armpits for body odor.
Kubrick has aligned this bathroom scene so that it occurs in the music at approximately the same time in the music that Bill joined Alice in the bathroom at the opening.
What other child in a Kubrick film had a bathroom toothbrushing scene? That's right, Danny in The Shining.
66 MS Alice with her daughter at the dining table, wrapping presents. (21:54)
Cut to Alice wrapping up a book on Van Gogh and her daughter wrapping up another present for a Bill.
ALICE: Daddy's going to like that. Very good choice.
Which it is. Sweater comes from an Old English word meaning "to perspire, work hard" and thus the gift of the sweater (sweat) works in with Gayle and Nuala noting how Bill, as a doctor, works very hard but thus misses a lot. But that's a minor incidental sync. What stands out is the several volume set of books on Van Gogh as it takes us back to the sunflowers in the painting above the breakfast table, the copies done by Christiane Kubrick, and the sunflower in the painting the night before.
Our first view of the kitchen, inside it, showed the "Homage to Van Gogh" painting. Now, our second view of the kitchen, from the dining room, we see now the kitchen window and are again reminded of Van Gogh with this publication.
I take note of our now seeing the kitchen window as several versions of Christiane's "View from Kitchen" are on display in this film.
As with his sunflowers, Van Gogh painted a number of self-portraits, many in a same year, the differences between which can be difficult to remember and note if one isn't intimately familiar with his work. So, one of the points with the sunflowers does simply seem to be the different versions and which one is the real deal, and is a repeating theme in Kubrick's work. But, there is also the story of Van Gogh's involvement with the prostitute to consider, and his cutting off of his ear (though there are other versions than the prostitute story as to why he cut off his ear). After all, Bill later becomes involved with the prostitute at Somerton who, as far as he can tell, appears to put herself in some kind of jeapordy for him, acting as a kind of Christ figure standing in for him. One of the myths concerning the arrest of Jesus is that in the Garden of Gethsemane. As Jesus prayed to not have to undergo, unless absolutely necessary, the events he knew to be predestined, the disciples with him fell asleep and he criticized them for this. After the Judas kiss, as Jesus was being arrested, one of the disciples cut off the ear of an officer and was reprimanded for this.
67 Alice and Bill listening to their daughter hesitatingly read in bed. (22:01)
Cut to Bill and Alice sitting on their daughter's bed listening to her read. She is learning the language of symbols, the alphabet.
HELENA: ...for me, when I jump into my bed...
Alice smiles approvingly, proudly. It's a big deal for parents, their child learning to recognize and read such symbols.
John Fell Ryan has caught that the poem being read is Robert Louis Stevenson's, "My Shadow".
I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.
The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow-
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.
He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!
One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
The shadow plays well into the idea of the doublings, and fits in with the later book we see before a mirror, "Shadows on the Mirror".
A toy Puffin bird rests prominently on a shelf above a paper stocking for Santa that is black rather than red. It seems the choice of the Puffin could fit in symbolically as the bird belongs to the genus Fratercula, which means "little brother" in Latin and (so notes Wikipedia) is "a reference to the black and white plumage, which resembles monastic robes." I'm not going to absolutely suppose this isn't accidental, but we do have Domino being later an obvious reference to the masks which were so named due their resemblance to "French priests' winter hoods" (again, Wikipedia).
68 LS Alice passing behind the dining table. (22:09)
Cut to Alice passing through the dining room, its long table stacked with gifts and books and wrapping papers. In the dining room we see what appear to be two wedding photos of Bill and Alice, one on the far left of the room, under a lamp, which shows them perhaps kissing, and then one on the right which is reduced to a slash of white on the left of the photo and black on the right, but because of the distinctive style of wedding dresses with their veils, and due our already having seen other wedding photos, we assume it to be a wedding photo, and it probably is. But it occurs to me that something a little more is going on here, because of the photo becoming blocks of white and black, for we have also had a prevalance of black and white toys--Snoopy, the Puffin, and there was also a Panda. The wedding photos are perhaps not just about Bill and Alice being married and needing to continually remind each other (apparently), but may be part of a very in the background black-and-white theme that has been going on. This was a critical theme in 2001 via the chess game between HAL and Frank Poole and was repeated in various ways throughout the film.
This is a bizarre shot. We are given a good pass of Christiane Kubrick's "Seedbox Theater" painting and we observe that on the left the flowers are blue while on the right they are all shades of red and pink, which couldn't be more Kubrickian. With Alice's passing the painting we're thus given a really good look at it. What makes this shot so bizarre is that to reach the living room, all she has to do at the beginning of the shot is not go to the right but walk straight toward the camera, on that left side of the table, and she will pass into the living room. We observed in shot 11 that the wide door between the living and dining room is facing this table from where the camera is now positioned. But we don't think about this because we don't know where Alice is going. We had seen when she was wrapping presents with Helena that to the right of the table the dining room leads into the kitchen, so we are acceping her going this direction because we know there is something over there, the kitchen. Alice walks past the painting, all the way from one end of the table to the other, then circles around it and enters the living room. This contradicts natural flow. She wasn't going to the kitchen so why walk this circuitous route to get to the living room?
One may be reminded of the circuitous path Wendy takes to the Colorado Lounge when she hears Jack having his nightmare. Danny is supposedly in room 237. In the boiler room, Wendy hears Jack yell. In shot 264 the camera tracks her from the rear running down a hall past the stairs that go up to the room 237 hall. At the end of the hall she enters the rear hall behind the Colorado Lounge, taking a right into it, then takes a right into the Colorado Lounge and runs its full length to Jack. The fact is that she didn't have to do this. At about the beginning of shot 264 all she had to do was take a right through a door and she would be in the Colorado Lounge just a few feet from Jack. So why does she run this long, circuitous route? And why does Kubrick mimic that with Alice taking a small circuitous route to the living room here? If there's any other similarity it would be that Wendy then gets in a fight with Jack, accusing him of having strangled Danny, while the circuitous route Alice takes is followed by her getting into an argument with Bill.
As she enters the living room she remarks to Bill that they should call the Zieglers and thank them for the party and yawns. Bill, sitting on a sofa watching a football game, says he's taken care of it.
It is about now that the waltz in the opening section ends, Bill cutting it off.
The fiery looking painting that Alice is passing is Christiane Kubrick's "Bonfire Night". The one in the background is "Presents from Tourists".
ALICE: We should call the Zieglers and thank them for the party last night. (She yawns.)
BILL: I've taken care of that.
ALICE (sitting on the sofa): So, how do you feel about wrapping the rest of the presents?
BILL: Ah, let's do that tomorrow.
SPORTSCASTER: And here's the hand off.
And, there is the hand off is more a comment on the action in the film than the ball game.
The waltz in this section carries on for a few moments longer than the one in the opening section. It stops at approximately when Bill and Alice exit the bedroom in the opening section.
We see yet more paintings of pastoral archways and hedged garden scenes on the walls. Later, when Bill visits the hospital where he learns Amanda has died, we will have cause to think on all these arches.
The two paintings in the living room are "Rose Hedge with Magpies and Molehill" and "Gate to the Rose Garden." We can see into the office and the painting there is "Thorns and a Little More Snow".
69 MCU Alice in the bathroom medicine cabinet mirror. (22:29)
Now to Alice facing her bathroom mirror, blandly returning her own stare, thinking, deciding, contemplating her twin reflection. We hear the football game in the background, a siren outside. She opens the cabinet and decisively lays a finger on a bandaid box.
If you look carefully, as Alice opens the mirror and shuts it you can see a white framed box, draped with the shower curtain, that holds the camera. Someone left a comment once pointing this out to me. I hadn't noticed it.
She takes out the box, opens it and removes a bag of pot from it.
In the screenplay she is given as suggesting they break the law.
So there is a little double duty for the box, it having a dual identity just as doubles are a constant throughout Kubrick's films. The band-aid box is both a band-aid box and conceals the secret medicinal weed.
Alice's choice of the weed in the band-aid box carries on the theme of healer (the osteopath, Bill the doctor), as if Alice's choice will have therapeutic value. It also may serve as a reference to Nick Nightingale, the musician, via the "band".
70 CU Alice rolling a joint. (22:51)
Close-up of king size "Smoking" papers and the Band-Aid box as Alice rolls a joint. We hear the crinkle of the paper.
This is a gateway sequence between the events of the prior evening and Alice's confession. We appear to have had just sundry scenes contrasting Alice's day with Bill's but instead they lead up to and comment on Alice and her bandaid box. We have Bill practicing with his patients the art of non-verbal communication, of reading them and their bodies, even while dialoguing on other subjects. We have the language of symbolism in painting. We have butter which isn't butter but which is actually something else disguised to seem as butter sitting on a table under a painting with duplications of Van Gogh sunflowers embedded next to the artist's personal rendition of sunflowers. We have Alice reading the symbols of the alphabet in the newspaper. We have the scene of two parents listening to their child learn also the language of those symbols and practice them, the parents proud of the child picking up this art. We have the presents being wrapped, which when looked at in conjunction with the bandaid box is but another example of there being more beneath the fold as it were, concealed, even disguised, and the recipient understanding one must look beyond the wrapper. No one gets a present and says "Thank you" and lets it stay wrapped forever as they've been taught the pretty paper and box is a vessel for the hidden gift.
In the case of the bandaid box we have intentional obfuscation.
At the party, all the songs which were played were love songs. This escapes notice because it's entirely ordinary, but one may also reflect on the art of the Troubadours who popularized love songs throughout Europe, it being believed by some that their art, at least at the beginning, was influenced by Sufi poetry and that the lyrics on love and sexual union were allegories on mystical experience and union with deity. Others believe the songs were done in the language of the birds, la langue des oiseaux, a secret language "connected with the Tarot, allegedly based on puns and symbolism drawn from homophony" (as quoted from Wikipedia). The same understanding of there being a secret language of the birds existed in alchemy and kabbalah, some expressing it as a language of symbols and others as a perfect language by which could be acquired perfect knowledge, as in gnosis. Another term for it was a green language, langue verte. A thing is not said outright. A path is suggested and it's up to the person to pursue it toward knowledge, or to recognize that path when it appears in their life and follow it.
As already noted in the prior section, while the love songs are being played, Sandor romances Alice both openly and discretely. He begins with speaking on Ovid's art of love, but later when he attempts to encourage her to go upstairs with him he gives the excuse as being to look at Victor's sculptures rather than openly speaking of sex, but Alice interprets his language as sexual and turns him down. I also pointed out in the previous section that I believe Kubrick likely brought Ovid into the mix due his authorship of the Metamorphoses, a catalogue of mythical transformations. You know all those substitutions that Kubrick makes in his films, an object bewilderingly replaced with another? Think upon this.
Here, we have the various professional and mundane ways that Alice and Bill practice the art of secret and double languages all day long, culminating in Alice taking from the medicine chest a box explicitly labeled as band-aids but instead she pulls out a bag of grass.
We finally have a scene which is based on the book. All before now is not in the book. Much of the movie, of course, is not in the book.
There are some differences between the bedroom in this scene and that of the prior day. The phone is now black and on the right side of the bed (as one faces the screen). In the shots of the bedroom before they went to the party, the phone was on the other side of the bed and was a white model of the same design. It is no longer observed. The black phone had not been there. The lamps too have now changed from the evening of the party and have black heavy set bases. This could be meaningless but 2001 has in it many examples of intentional horizontal flips and focuses on an inversion whereby HAL relates a chess move in such a way that he shows he is visualizing it from the "white" side, Poole's side, rather than his own side, which is the "black" side. Rather than it being an isolated incident, the inversion is played out multiple times in the film. The switch from white to black and the flip of placement of articles in the bedroom reminds of this, and I've already mentioned earlier, as per the black and white toys, and the photos of Alice and Bill in their white and black wedding attire, that I think Kubrick is purusing the same here as in 2001.
The pillowcases and sheets had been white the night before and now are a rose-rust pink shade.
71 CU of Alice reclining in lingerie on the bed, taking a drag on the joint. (22:54)
The sound of the crinkling paper becomes that of the weed and paper crackling while the joint is being smoked. Alice is in lingerie on the bed smoking, the camera zooming out to show Bill sitting alongside her on the edge of the mattress. She passes him the joint.
72 MCU Alice. (23:07)
Alice savoring the joint, breathing deep, we see clearly behind her the rose decoration on the headboard. She exhales and laughs a little.
ALICE: Mmmm, tell me something. Those two girls at the party last night? (She laughs.) Did you...by any chance...happen to fuck them?
73 MS Alice and Bill. (23:49)
74 MCU Bill, the bathroom in blue city night light behind. (23:55)
BILL (taken aback): What are you talking about?
75 MCU Alice. (23:58)
ALICE (exasperated): I'm talking about the two girls that you were so blatantly hitting on.
76 MCU Bill. (24:08).
BILL: I wasn't hitting on anybody.
77 MCU Alice with the joint. (24:14)
ALICE: Mmmm. Who were they?
78 MCU Bill. (24:20)
BILL: They were just a couple of...models.
79 MS Alice and Bill. (24:27)
ALICE (exhaling smoke): And where did you disappear to with them...
80 MCU Alice sitting up alongside Bill. (24:33)
ALICE: ...for so long?
BILL: Hmmm, wait a minute. Wait a minute. (He shifts to sit behind her, kissing her ear.) I didn't disappear with anybody. (He embraces her.) Ziegler wasn't feeling too well. I got called upstairs to see him. Anyway, who was the guy you were dancing with?
ALICE (laughing): A friend of the Zieglers.
BILL: What did he want?
ALICE: What did he want? Oh, what did he want? Sex. Upstairs. Then and there. (She laughs.)
BILL (laughing): Is that all?
ALICE: Yeah, yeah, that was all.
BILL: Just wanted to fuck my wife.
ALICE (giggles): That's right. (She takes another drag.)
BILL (placing a hand on her left breast): Well, I guess that's understandable.
ALICE (mood shifting): Understandable?
BILL (massaging her breasts): Because you are a very, very beautiful woman.
ALICE: Whoa! Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait. (She puts down the joint.) So...
A very long section of dialogue shots begins. About 15 minutes. It starts with Bill against the blue window and will switch so that Alice is instead always in frame with a blue window, Bill instead dialoguing from the left and Alice from the right.
81 MS Bill and Alice, Alice rising from the bed. (26:08)
ALICE (having risen, she backs toward the bathroom): ...because I'm a beautiful woman, the only reason any man ever wants to talk to me is because he wants to fuck me? Is that what you're saying?
The reaction is that of Alice, wife and mother, who hasn't likely felt intellectually appreciated or challenged lately.
82 MS Bill seated on the bed, viewed from its foot. (26:21)
We've seen that Bill's wallet is on the bed table closest the bathroom rather than the bed table closest the hall door, where it was the previous night. Now the black phone appears on the bed table alongside the wallet and other personal articles, including Tom's watch. Couples have a tendency to sleep on "their" side of the bed and this would indicate this is his side, and when he returns home from the "orgy" Alice is asleep on the left side of the bed and this side is free. However, at the film's end, when Bill returns home from Victor's, the situation will be reversed and and the mask will be on the pillow closest the hall door. This could have entirely to do with staging, what was going to work and look best, but as ever with Kubrick I wouldn't be surprised if there was more to it than that.
BILL: Well, I don't think it's quite that black and white, but...
Not quite that black and white. The choice of language highlights the change of the phone from white to black and its being moved.
83 MS Alice in the entrance to the bathroom. (26:32)
BIll: ...I think we both know what men are like.
ALICE: Ooooh, so on that basis, I should conclude that you wanted...
84 MS Bill from foot of bed. (26:44)
ALICE: ...to fuck those two models.
BILL: There are...exceptions.
85 MS Alice in the bathroom entry. (26:51)
ALICE: What makes you an exception?
86 MS Bill from foot of bed. (26:57)
BILL: What makes me an exception is that...I happen to be in love with you. And because we're married. And because I would never lie to you. Or hurt you.
With shot 81 the switch was made to the dialogue being with Bill on the left and Alice on the right. When the switch was made we had also the change so that she was instead the one always in frame with the blue light of a window.
87 MS Alice in the bathroom entry. (27:17)
ALICE (moving toward the window by the dresser, combative): Do you realize that what you're saying is that the only reason you wouldn't fuck those two models is out of consideration for me.
NOTE: Thanks to David, who sends the following information: "During the pot smoking scene is the book "Requiem" by Graham Joyce on the tall dresser. Also during the pot smoking scene there are some VHS tapes on the shelf that get replaced or change position and they are: Helen of Troy, Rapa Nui, The Olympiad Series. Later, when Alice drops to the floor laughing, The Olympiad Series tape moves to the bottom pile and on a middle shelf is a tape of Up The Down Staircase.
I've not read Requiem but the back of the jacket sounds relevant to Eyes Wide Shut due its mystical content and the walking the "thin line between the religious and the sexual". The description is: "After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Webster travels to Jerusalem in search of a friend from college days. This haunted city, divided by warring religious factions, offers him no refuge from his guilt and grief. As he is wandering through the streets and the archaeological sites, a mysterious old woman appears to Tom and delivers messages that seem beyond his comprehension. But a fragment of the Dead Sea scrolls that had been kept hidden by an old Jewish innkeeper appears to offer the key to understanding the apparition. Driven to the edge of insanity, Tom believes the spirit of Mary Magdalene is trying to reveal the hidden history of the Resurrection, and he struggles to reconcile the distant past with his own future before the threads of his identity unravel./Joyce explores the shape and the testure of truth, walks the thin line between the religious and the sexual, and makes readers marvel at the power of the spirit and the psyche...The book generates the suspence of a fine thriller; in its pursuit of religious themes, it is as piercing as any theological exploration; and as a haunting expression of magic realism, it evokes the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez."
UPDATE: So, I ordered and have read Requiem, in which there is a scene when Mozart's Requiem is played, as it is in this film. The book shares many similarities with Traumnovelle, though the plot is different. A man's wife has died in an accident and he quits his job teaching and goes to Jerusalem to visit with a friend who was also briefly a former lover. It's revealed that the man, Tom Webster, has left his job because a female student's boyfriend has accused him of having sex with her, writing accusations on the classroom chalkboard. Plus, already he believes himself to be haunted by his wife and is fleeing his home for the time being. In Jerusalem, he sees an old woman, a supernatural being, who writes a message for him on a wall. Tom also meets an old man who has come upon scraps of Dead Sea scrolls and leaves them for him upon his death. Through his friend, Sharon, who is Jewish, he meets an Arabic man who will interpret the writings for him to determine if they are of any worth. This man is also one who can see djinn, and informs Tom that he is carrying djinn with him. How the story is similar to Traumnovelle is that whether by virtue of these djinn (events suggest they are real) or psychological stress over the death of his wife, he eventually hallucinates having had an affair with the underage student who was about fifteen. All is written so that the reader will trust this to be a real confession accompanied by real reminiscences. But it never happened, the man has only been pursued with guilt over having been attracted to the girl after realizing she had a crush on him, a guilt which added to and compounded guilts he'd felt over his wife's death--that they had been drifting apart and she was trying to win him back, that she had begun suddenly going to church and begging him to go to church with her as she felt she would die soon but he refused etc. (As it turns out, Sharon, who becomes his lover in Jerusalem, had a relationship when she was fourteen with an older man and was abandoned--she hadn't realized he was only using her--and thus had subsequently never had been able to have a long term love relationship.) As for the scraps of the scroll, the writing on which is in the shape of a spiral (it's suggested this was perhaps intended to trap demons, operating as a maze), it's professed to have been written by Mary Magdalene, Jesus' lover, revealing that Jesus was only intended to appear to die on the cross and be resurrected, in fulfillment of prophecy, but that Saul/Paul had his legs broken and so he did die, but continued to live in spirit, much like a djinn. The revelation is that Saul/Paul is the "liar" and that he had usurped the church, converting it to his own misogynistic ends rather than himself having been converted. For some reason Mary Magdalene has been trying to communicate this to Tom. We never are sure what is happening as individuals change as Tom speaks to them, becoming djinn, becoming Mary Magdalene, becoming his dead wife. The Arabic man reveals to Tom that the djinn "inhabit an infinite number of personalities, each a different facet of you. You must search through your dreams for the good djinn, and ask the good jinn to make intercession for you." After this, Tom has a confrontation with a djinn in a church, switching perspectives with it, finally seeing on the djinn his own face. He collides with it...
There's no reason to further relate plot. The book is not only much like Traumnovelle with its dream as reality and reality as dream, it relates to Kubrick's films from Fear and Desire on, for even then he had djinn in the morphing Proteus, just as he referenced djinn in 2001 with its red seats that were called "Djinn". Everything morphs with Kubrick, and doubles are everywhere switching perspectives. By showing Requiem in the film, Kubrick comments on his technique and purpose.
At the beginning of Fear and Desire, it was openly stated these characters stood outside of history and were reflections of one the other, they were the same, and actors played dual roles. In 2001 HAL is able to adopt different perspectives in the chess game, and at the end Dave Bowman rapidly switches perspectives with himself at different ages, finally facing again and entering the monolith. In Lolita, at the film's beginning, Humbert guns down Quilty through a painting of a young woman. He is, in essence, killing Lolita. And himself. For Quilty is clearly an alter-ego of Humbert's, continually torturing him, confused as well with an uncle who possibly abused him, and not only is Lolita an echo of Humbert's first love, she also becomes as Quilty later, wearing glasses like him. She is Humbert.
88 MS Bill from foot of bed. (27:34)
ALICE: Not because you really wouldn't want to!
BILL: Relax, Alice. This pot is making you aggressive.
89 MS Alice before the dresser. (27:43)
ALICE: No! It's not the pot! It's you!
90 MCU Bill. (27:47)
ALICE: Why can't you ever give me a straight fucking answer?
BILL: I was under the impression that's what I was doing. I don't even know...
91 MS Alice before the dresser. (27:54)
BILL: ...what we're arguing about here.
ALICE: I'm not arguing. (She sits on the bench before the vanity.) I'm just trying to find out where...
92 MCU Bill. (28:03)
ALICE: ...you're coming from.
BILL: Where I'm coming from.
93 MS Alice seated on the bench. (28:05)
ALICE: Look, let's say, let's say (she slaps her thigh and rises) for example you have some gorgeous woman standing in your office naked and you're feeling her fucking tits. Now what I wanta know, I wanta know what are you really thinking about when you're squeezing them?
Kubrick has set up Alice's question by showing us earlier Bill treating a voluptuous patient, not to mention Amanda.
94 MS Bill from foot of bed. (28?29)
BILL: Listen. I happen to be a doctor.
95 MS Alice before the dresser. (28:34)
ALICE: Oh! (She sits on the bench again.)
BILL: It's all very impersonal...
96 MS Bill from the foot of the bed. (28:38)
BILL: And you know there's always a nurse present.
97 MS Alice seated on the bench. (28:40)
ALICE: So when you're feeling tits it's nothing more than just your professionalism, is that what you're saying?
98 MS Bill from the foot of the bed. (28:46)
BILL: Exactly. Sex is the last thing on my mind when I'm with a patient.
99 MS Alice on the bench. (28:52)
Alice's manner at this point in the conversation is indeed combative and even repulsive, though she denies being aggressive and insists it has all to do with Bill.
ALICE (in a childish, taunting voice): Now, when she is having her little titties squeezed, do you think she ever has any little fantasies about what handsome Doctor Bill's dickie might be like? Hum?
Having noted what I have above as to the troubadours and their lyrics on love and sexual union believed by some to be allegory for mystical union and even a form of the language of the birds, it's interesting that when Alice here speaks of sex the words she chooses are also those used for birds. A dicky is a little bird. Tit comes from teat but the tit there is also a Norwegian version, tita, which means a small bird, the word titmouse coming from it.
100 MS Bill from foot of bed. (29:05)
BILL (sighs in disgust): I can assure you sex is the last thing on this fucking hypothetical woman patient's mind!
101 MS Alice on the bench. (29:15)
ALICE: And what makes you so sure?
102 MS Bill from foot of bed. (29:16) A siren outside briefly is heard.
BILL: If for no better reason...because she's afraid of what I might find.
103 MS Alice seated on the bench. (29:27)
ALICE (accepting this): Okay, okay, so, so, so...after you tell her that everything's fine, what then?
104 MS Bill from foot of bed. (29:33)
BILL: What then? Ah! I don't know, Alice. I'm...(claps hands)...what then! Ah, look! Women don't...they basically just don't think like that.
105 MS Alice on the bench. (29:53)
ALICE (standing): Millions of years of evolution! Right? Right?! Men have to stick it in every place they can but for women, women it is just about security and commitment...
106 MCU Bill. (30:06)
ALICE: ...and agh whatever the fuck else!
BILL: A little oversimplified, Alice, but, yes. Something like that.
107 MS Alice before the entertainment center. (30:13)
ALICE: If you men only knew.
108 MCU Bill. (30:17)
BILL: I'll tell you want I do know is you got a little stoned tonight, you've been trying to pick a fight with me, and now you're trying to make me jealous!
109 MS Alice by the entertainment center. (30:26)
ALICE: But you're not the jealous type, are you?
110 MCU Bill. (30:28)
BILL: No! I'm not!
111 MS Alice by the entertainment center. (30:30)
ALICE: You've never been jealous about me, have you!
112 MCU Bill. (30:32)
BILL: No! I haven't!
113 MS Alice by the entertainment center. (30:33)
ALICE: And why haven't you ever been jealous about me?!
114 MCU Bill. (30:37)
BILL: Well, I don't know, Alice! Maybe because you're my wife! Maybe because you're the mother of my child! And I know you would never be unfaithful to me!
115 MS Alice between the dresser and entertainment center. (30:45)
ALICE: You are very, very sure of yourself...
116 MCU Bill. (30:50)
ALICE: ...aren't you?
BILL: No. I'm sure of you.
117 MS Alice before the dresser. (30:56)
Alice doubles over laughing.
118 MCU Bill, puzzled. (31:06)
BILL: Do you think that is funny?
Though Bill and Alice are in the same room, we see with the dialogue shots how consistently each their own space is kept separate from the other, and yet highly interconnected through physical reactions to each other, not just through speech.
119 MS Alice from below. (31:10)
Alice collapses on the ground, laughing, doubled over.
120 MCU Bill. (31:17)
BILL: Now we get the fucking laughing fit! Right?
121 MS Alice kneeling on the ground. (31:25)
ALICE (calming herself): Do you...do you remember last summer at Cape Cod?
122 MS Bill from foot of bed. (31:44)
Music begins in the background. Faint strings.
123 MS Alice seated on the floor. (31:49)
ALICE: Uhm, do you remember one night in the dining room there was this young naval officer, and he was sitting near our table with two other officers? (She clears her throat.) Hu-hum.
ALICE: The waiter brought him a message, at which point he left. Nothing rings a bell?
124 MCU Bill. (32:13)
125 MS Alice leaning against the wall. (32:15)
ALICE: Huh, well. I first saw him that morning in the lobby. He was...he was checking in to the hotel and he was following the bellboy with his luggage. To the elevator. He...he glanced at me as he walked past. Just a glance.
126 MCU Alice from the side. (32:47)
ALICE: Nothing more. But I could hardly move.
127 CU Bill. (33:03)
128 MS Alice leaning against the wall. (33:07)
ALICE: That afternoon, Helena went to the movies with her friend, and...you and I made love.
129 MCU Alice in profile against the wall. (33:31)
ALICE: And we made plans about our future, and we talked about Helena. And, yet, at no time was he...
130 MCU Bill. (33:48)
ALICE: ...ever out of my mind.
131 MCU Alice. (33:58)
ALICE: And I thought if he wanted me, even if it was only for one night, I was ready to give up everything.
132 MCU Bill. (34:19
ALICE: You, Helena, my whole fucking future.
133 MCU Alice. (34:36)
ALICE: Everything. And yet it was weird because at the same time you were dearer to me than ever. And, and at that moment my love for you was both tender and sad.
134 MCU Bill. (35:13)
135 MCU Alice. (35:19)
ALICE: I, I barely slept that night. And I woke up the next morning in a panic. I didn't know whether I was afraid that he had left or that he might still be there. But by dinner, I realized he was gone. And I was relieved.
136 MCU Bill. (36:10)
Bill stares at Alice in confusion and stunned amazement. At 36:14 the tension is broken by the phone ringing. The music has faded out.
137 MS Bill from about Alice's POV. (36:33)
BILL (picking up the phone): Hello. Yes, this is Dr. Harford. (Sighs.) When did it happen? No, no, I have the address. Thank you. (Hangs up the phone.) Lou Nathanson just died.
138 MCU Alice. (37:08)
139 MCU Bill. (37:15)
Bill: I'm going to have to go over there and show my face.
A very brief few notes of the music brought in, for a moment, the alternate theme for "Away in a Manger", which is the "Cradle Song". This would relate to the painting of the pregnant woman in Victor's bathroom and some later episodes concerning baby carriages, one in particular at the end of the film. Plus, it is Christmas, after all. Those few notes are between Alice's speaking of her love for Bill being both "tender and "sad", and that she barely slept that night.
One of the first published instances of "Away in a Manger" was November 1883 in "The Sailors' Magazine and Seamen's Friend", nearly duplicating another March 2 1882 publication in the anti-masonic journal "The Christian's Cynosure".
As the song spread across a growing America and people began to sing it at home, in churches, and at schools, they often envisioned legions of German mothers rocking their babies to sleep each night with the strains of “Away in a Manger.” As the song became more popular, some news reports even trumpeted the song’s Teutonic heritage and the powerful inspiration that obviously could come from only the great Luther himself. Source: Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, by Ace Collins
The anti-Semitic Luther hadn't written the song, which is believed to have an anonymous American origin. If I give the above information it's because of the aynchronicity of Kubrick slipping in a few notes of "Away in a Manger" into Alice's relating this story concerning the sailor and that one of the first published instances of the song was in a sailor and seamen's friend magazine.
We've had a long dialogue, back-and-forth sequence. Kubrick breaks it up with shots 125 and 126, going in for a closer view of Alice and from a different angle. When he returns to Bill in shot 127 we are closer in but we also have more a feeling of the internal with Bill rather than the exterior exchange. This is followed again by a repeat of the effect of shots 125 and 126 in shots 128 and 129, going from a medium shot of Alice up front to a close-up side view, rather than moving over to Bill. Kubrick then returns to the back-and-forth dialogue of shots.
The argument began with Alice's seeming concern that Bill may have ducked out to have sex with Nuala and Gayle. But Bill's later confusion, in the face of his encounters with Marion and Domino, also seems to make it clear that Bill isn't likely a philanderer, so her suspicions are unfounded, perhaps even insincere, but her mistrust is founded in that Bill is concealing from her the real events of the prior evening.
Her ego was likely injured at the party when Victor's comment on her beauty was annulled by his wife's jocular rejoinder that indeed he told all women they were stunning. So there's that to consider. And the fact Bill did disappear at the party. But trying to psychoanalyze a movie character's actions is problematic to the point of futile as one isn't dealing with a real person, one is working with a fiction so instead you're examining the director's intent (and not even that strictly as you've the actor's read on the character that adds to the mix, and even potential problems muddying the waters if an actor isn't up to the job) which means one has to stick to the director's story and what clues they provide on a character's motives. Alice has said "Why can't you ever give me a straight answer" so we may have a problem where she feels she has information withheld, and Bill's deceit with her about his missing time at the party supports this. Do Bill's later deceits also support this or are they uncharacteristic of him and due only his confusion over Alice's confession and the stresses of his adventure? I'm not sure we're given enough clues to know. We don't have a back story on Bill except for the white handkerchief and the model and the fact he was in school with Nick Nightingale. But I would hazard, considering Alice's confession, though she has argued he's never straight with her, she needs Bill to be a little less innocent, to be less knowledgeable and have more understanding (such as was said at the party), because she needs him to comprehend why she would have flung away her marriage and future for a one night stand with the naval officer. She needs him to experience the same dangerous intrusion of the mystical and a love that could separate him from all that he has held dear and important, which is fulfilled in the black feather woman.
We are in the realm of the mystical. Of forces of nature and Eros and Psyche which can push people about like little playthings with little concern for their situation.
When Alice doubles over on the floor in laughter we are taken back to the prior night, Chris Isaac's last name meaning "laughter", and the Isaac lyrics:
You ever love someone so much you thought your little heart was gonna break in two?
I didn't think so.
You ever tried with all your heart and soul to get your lover back to you?
I wanna hope so.
You ever pray with all your heart and soul just to watch her walk away?
Knowing now what we do about the naval officer, the lyrics may have less to do with Alice and Bill than with Alice and the naval officer.
Bill had trusted his wife. And Kubrick seems to imply she needed him not to trust her so much and to be a little more jealous, because they aren't just mortal flesh, they also exist on a spirit level that cares nothing about human desires and rationalizations and cultural constraints, only I'm not even sure Kubrick has Alice knowing the reason for her needs and combativeness. She is an enigmatic figure here and remains an enigmatic figure at the end of the movie. I would say she's about as clueless as to her own real motives as Bill is clueless as to why this is happening to him.
Alice has just said she was glad the naval officer was gone and she was relieved, which was the end of her story. It's to be wondered if a link can be made with the phone call that immediately follows the conclusion of her story, a man having died. But of course there is. Lou Nathanson dies as he must die here for sake of the story. For Bill must now step into the full heat of the adventure and discover that he is for Marion Nathanson as the naval officer had been for Alice. He must experience the reality of that passion that defies reason.
In the book, the man who caught Alice's attention I don't believe is ever referred to as a naval officer. Instead he was in the company of two naval officers. In the book, Albertine tells her story nervously, trembling. In the book, Fridolin responds with his own story of how during that same trip he had been attracted to a fifteen-year-old girl. Shades of Lolita, Kubrick would not burden Bill with this but he does keep the character of the young Pierrette in the film.
I would like to add something about the acting in this scene. Tom is good. He's out of his physician costume and at the beginning looks even too boyish to be the doctor, so he's entirely moved into the aspect of Bill as sexual partner of Alice. But Kidman, who did so beautifully with her drunken flirtation and is understated in the extreme for the majority of the film, suddenly flings herself completely over the top of the wall. Her glance in the mirror previous the smoking is an analytical surveillance of the situation. She has plans. There's going to be a confrontation. They get stoned, she asks Bill some questions, and then with very little provocation she's up from the bed and swinging about the room eager to begin and then egg this fight of hers on, eventually collapsing on the floor in a harsh and mocking display of laughter that is at the same time too poised and choreographed to be convincingly that of someone who's stoned, at which point she quickly calms herself and relates the story of the naval officer.
In other scenes, Nicole portrays Alice believably as a somewhat frustrated wife. She had worked but no longer does. For social companionship, at least as depicted currently, she has her daughter, and though Nicole communicates affection and is devoted she isn't portrayed as doing much more than following the demands of routine, perhaps because of her disaffectation. She sits by the phone waiting for her doctor husband to call, which is typical, in that I mean he has the demands of his practice and patients. She would be used to the unexpected, those days when Bill is on call and ends up spending long hours at the hospital. Nicole and Kubrick, through the bits and pieces, even give the appearance of Alice as not being a very likeable person--and I'm assuming this is what Kubrick wanted and Nicole delivered. The shot of Alice staring in the mirror as Bill makes love to her, upon returning from Victor's party, seems to be what Kubrick wants to stick most with the audience as to her relationship with Bill, as we watch the wheels in her mind spin and wonder to where they are running. But Alice as not particularly likable is perhaps a deceptive portrayal, even intentionally so. Because of that scene and the sense of her bored discontent, it's easy to forget her reading and doing math with Helena, scenes that serve to fill in the blanks with affectionate stability. It's easy to forget her agony over upsetting dreams.
In the book, Alice does not push an argument. The couple mutually teases one another, first playfully, then discomfort enters as they invite confessions, and Albertine is the first to frankly divulge her experience. Alice, instead, provokes an argument and uses it to inform Bill that she would have abandoned both him and Helena for a one night stand. The confession is essential because, in combination with Nathanson's death, it is what spurs Bill to wander into the night and be guided toward the end of the rainbow, but Nicole's histrionics seem as artificial as much of the trumped up argument.
The pot is an excuse. A door that gives entry to the "other" Alice to have her say. The Alice who would would mock and despise her husband, a shadow side, has taken the stage here, allowing her husband to see something that is normally hidden else Bill wouldn't be so astonished, though he does remark that "now" we get the laughing fit, as if they've been part way down this road before and he's found it as frustrating.
If Alice comes off as not entirely likable, on the other hand, the perfectly likable, too likable Bill is one who negotiates with his position and boyish charm to get what he wants.
Whether Alice is likable or not isn't even really at issue here, and I'm wrong to give the impression it is. We're offered a slim enough view of her.
Nicole does so well with the later scene in which she relates her dream-nightmare to Bill, it's to be wondered whether this is what Kubrick wanted, Alice's emotional gymnastics in this scene, or if this was the extent of what Nicole could deliver. But by the end, having related, too, how dearly she loved Bill and Helena while contemplating abandoning them, tenderness tempering, she assumes a more natural state as she completes her tale.
Indeed, I find Nicole to normally be an exceptional actress so I'm uncertain about this scene, and can only reason that Kubrick wanted it to be overwrought and a little out of tune.
What has stirred up all of this, at least on Alice's part, is the encounter with Sandor who, upon Alice noticing Bill with the two "models", spoke of how one of the charms of marriage is it made deception a necessity for both parties. Alice didn't respond as she has a secret, one that has become for her critical as it called into question all that she had perhaps previously believed in as essential to her life, and now she pursues the deception that she imagines Bill must be hiding. And he is hiding something, just not what Alice believes him to be hiding.
Note: I have warmed up to Nicole's acting in this scene and think it's wonderful. Why the change? I don't know. If I sit right up next to the screen, like six inches from it, and am watching the 2 disk collector's edition version (different aspect ratio than the 1999 release I normally watch) then I love it and seem to catch a broader and more subtle range of dynamics. And it's been a long while since I watched it so something about me might have changed in how I view it.
140 LS Yellow cab zipping down the city street in a fire lane. (37:20)
The location is before the Flatiron building.
141 MCU Bill in the cab. (37:25)
We see out the window behind Bill a clock that gives a temperature read of 51 degrees and the time as 1:22. I'll tell you in a moment why I'm not inclined to let this slide as bad continuity.
142 MS Alice and Naval officer. (37:32)
Cut to Bill imagining his wife on a Cape Cod bed covered with an old quilt, she writhing in the embrace of the white-suited naval officer, slipping off her panties. These periodic imaginings Bill will have, of his wife with the naval officer, stand out as they seem to belong to a different time, as if intended to recall events more in tune with the aesthetics of WWII than the present. One is reminded of Kubrick inserting in The Shining a scene from the film Summer of 42, in which a woman, at the beach, learning her husband has been killed in the war, has a one night affair with a young teen. In The Shining, events from the deep past impact the present, scenes from an older hotel breaking through to the present, and the Torrances even reside in an area of the hotel that hasn't been updated.
The blue tone in Bill's fantasies is not just "night" but is suggestive of water. That Alice's confession involves a naval officer is interesting, for we're dealing with the story of the rainbow, which implies a flood, in this case certainly a flood of symbolism, and though the ark of NCh (Noah) is no real ship, and the story is itself a matter of myth, we still have in it a ship and what must a ship have but one who operates it. Such as a naval officer who was called away. Indeed, Noah was a tiller of the vine and can be identified with Dionysus, the "new wine sailor", so he is more than a mortal in a myth of saving all the world's creatures, two-by-two, on a boat. He is also the center of the orgiastic Dionysian mysteries and their death/rebirth rites of initiation.
We aren't seeing the Lieutenant with whom Alice was thinking of having the affair, and it can be easy for the viewer to forget this. Instead, the Lieutenant we see is a product of Bill's imagination. Kubrick never once presents us Alice's reminiscenses, instead he focuses purely on Bill's mental conjuration of the event.
It may be possible that Kubrick links the Lieutenant to the party at Victor's with a verbal pun. Sandor told Alice he was Hungarian. Bill doesn't imagine his wife with a man such as Sandor--but the actor who plays the lover is Gary Goba, and it could be that this Gary is a pun on Sandor's being Hun-gari-an.
Though a seeming stretch, it may be possible Kubrick has provided perhaps another pun clue in the name of the individual who played the officer. Continuing to pursue things rainbow (flood) and hero related....from the Jewish virtual library:
NEPHILIM, a race of giants said to have dwelt in pre-Israelite Canaan (Num. 13:33). Genesis 6:1-2 relates that the "sons of gods," i.e., divine or angelic beings, took mortal wives; verse 4 continues, "It was then, and later too, that the Nephilim appeared [lit., were] on earth when the divine beings cohabited with the daughters of men, who bore them offspring. They were the heroes [Heb. gibborim] of old, the men of renown." This could mean that the Nephilim were contemporaneous, but not identical, with the offspring of divine beings and earthly women, who were called gibborim (so, e.g., Morgenstern, in HUCA 14 (1939), 85ff.). The above translation, however, follows an ancient tradition in equating the Nephilim and the gibborim as offspring of the union of *angels and mortals...The Zohar (1:58a) also identifies the Nephilim with the fallen angels.
Recollect, Kubrick had chosen for the setting of the party a mansion in which there was the large "Love of Angels" sculpture, Cupid and Psyche, looming over the scene.
The gibborim, heroes of old, were the offspring of divinity and earthly women, the Nephilim being fallen angels. Fallen? What does that mean. Christians might think fallen means to have become evil, to have tumbled from a place of grace and meditation on god only, into the realm of sensual desires. Or does it mean something else? Does the whole tale mean something other than is stated? The Christian myth is that Satan brought knowledge to humankind, causing their fall from grace, and he falling as well from grace in a deliberate separation from the godhead. This is a story much like that of Prometheus, who was punished by the gods for bringing fire to mortals, but was viewed as a wronged hero by humankind. We're not to look for any literalism here, not to look at the bible as history, and must also remember various interpretations abound.
Kubrick has introduced the notion of heroes, and we have allusions to heroic myths which many see as belonging only to ancient times rather than looking for how they manifest and function in the everyday, modern world.
Kubrick has shown looming over the previous night's party the sculpture on the love of angels and humans, spirit and the flesh, and we will see angels again referred to later, so it's not odd to look at myths and legends of angels and consider where else allusions to them may enter.
In the language of myth previously considered here, the union of deity and mortal produces an immortal and spiritual twin of the physical.
143 MCU Bill in the cab. (37:43)
Bill does a little time travel here--and this is why I don't look at Kubrick's showing the 1:22 clock as simply bad or lazy continuity when it is nowhere near 1:22. Because Kubrick repeats the 1:22 in shot 143. This shot of Bill in the cab is a little closer in than shot 141 but you'll notice that the green screen behind repeats a couple of seconds of footage that Bill had already traversed in 141--Kubrick doesn't start at the beginning of the footage, but pretty much immediately after the beginning, so we see once again the building with the Chinese lettering beside the one showing the clock that reads 1:22, and the cross street with the pedestrian in a red shirt and white pants.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
This isn't a repeat of the footage of Bill, however, for his expression is very slightly different.
Kubrick has several of these "rewinds" in 2001 as well.
We'll get back to that 1:22 thing later.
144 LS Floor lobby in upscale residential building. (37:53)
Methuselah, that old old old man, died just prior the flood, according to the bible. His death is important to the story of the flood, the name MThVShL containing in it MTh (an adult, as of full length, from a word meaning an extent of time) and, by permutation, MVTh, which is death. With his death there is a passing of a first tier generational line extending from the story of creation to that of the flood, after which comes a rebirth of humankind.
Bill disembarks an elevator into a beautiful lobby that indicates a social scale that stands somewhere between the Zieglers and the Harfords, but closer to the Zieglers. He crosses through a hall off the lobby to stand before a door and ring a bell.
145 LS Nathanson apartment interior. (38:06)
A maid crosses a classically styled hall in which Empire style furnishings are precisely, fairly symmetrically arranged, no stray clutter or books or shoes under tables. Answering the door, she takes Bill's coat.
Kubrick has stayed away from symmetrical stylings in the film up until this scene. The symmetry is, however, intentionally broken by the sculpture in the niche with the curvature at the top inclining to the right like a wave.
Bill greets the maid as Rosa--his babysitter had been named Roz so the names are similar. She greets him as Dr. Harford. He asks how Ms. Nathanson is and she replies not so good, directing him toward the bedroom.
BILL: Hello, Rosa.
ROSA: Good evening, Dr. Harford.
BILL (handing Rosa his coat): How is Miss Nathanson?
ROSA: Not so good. She's in the bedroom.
BILL: Thank you.
The hallway that leads to the bedroom has in it two tables. The left holds one jade sculpture and on the other are two, so we've a near symmetrical arrangement. The two sculptures on the second table are arranged in such a way that the eye blends them together and anticipates them to be one.
Bill knocks on the door.
MARION: Come in.
146 LS Bedroom of Nathanson apartment. (38:41)
The bedroom is done in something like French Provincial styling, the wall paper a fleur de lis pattern. A Christmas tree is on a dresser in the background. It all reminds very strongly of 2001 and the room in which was Dave Bowman at the end of the film, where, as an ancient man, he passed into the black monolith at the foot of his bed and was reborn.
Bill greets an attractive blond woman in black clothing and brown sweater and a delicate beaded choker, who rises and thanks him for coming. He tells her he's so sorry, that her father was very brave. She glances to the bed off screen (it is now we are certain they are in the dead man's bedroom) and appears distinctly uncomfortable as Bill continues his gentle bedside patter, he asking how she's holding up. She says she's numb, that it hasn't sunk in, and asks him to sit down. The camera moves to the bed and the headboard is yes much like the one in 2001. The manner in which Bill touches the dead man's forehead suggests we observe Bill not only as a physician but even as kind of priest, his visit has him acting not only as a physical doctor but one who must go beyond that and deal with spiritual issues as well.
MARION: Oh, Dr. Harford. (Shaking his hand.) How, how good of you to come.
BILL: I came as soon as I got the message.
MARION: Uh, thank you.
BILL: I'm sorry. So sorry.
MARION: Thank you.
BILL (looking at bed): Your father was a...was a very brave man.
MARION: Oh, thank you.
BILL: How are you holding up?
MARION: Uh, uh, I'm a bit numb. I don't think it's really sunk in yet. Uh, would you like to sit down?
Bill, all carefully concerned, modulated bedside manner, invited to sit down, checks first Lou Nathanson. A siren sounds outside.
Kubrick is linking this scene with the death of Dave Bowman of 2001. To bring up again ideas I've already addressed, with the relationship to Bowman we are reminded again of the bow set in the cloud. The Hebrew letter Samekh is linked with Sagittarius, the bowman, both being often given as correspondences of the Tarot card, Temperance, also named Art, in which an angelic figure is depicted pouring water from one vessel to another. Its root means to lean upon, uphold, support. And Bill has just asked how Marion is holding up, plus of course he is partly there to support her though he simply put it to Alice as a need to show his face (which he is forced to do later). Dave Bowman, shot like an arrow through infinity, landed in a seemingly hermetically sealed French baroque-influenced bedroom in which he spent the remainder of his life, time distorted and consciousness split so that he was able to look into the next room and see himself as an older man, that older man sensing his presence and looking in his direction to find him already gone, eclipsed by the present, absorbed into it. Upon his ancient death, he shed his body and became a giant fetus soaring above the earth. And now here he is in Eyes Wide Shut, lying dead in the room where Bill Harford consoles Nathanson's daughter, at a zodiac time of year which has to do with Sagittarius, and the winter solstice which is concerned with death and rebirth of light.
I see some correspondance between this bed and the one Thomas awakes on in Antonioni's Blow Up after a night of confusion, discovery, fear and ego dissolution, but I shouldn't get into that.
Further establishing the intentional presence of (the) Bowman in the film, in a later scene the name "Bowman" is seen painted on the side of a building above a hardware/paint store near "The Rainbow".
We see beside Nathanson's bed a form of magic lantern lamp, one associated with the tale of Aladdin and his lamp, and also one in which we can see in its scroll handle the spiral of the labyrinth. I earlier noted that in the Harford's bedroom was a book called Requiem. Djinn are encountered in the book. Djinn were also brought into 2001 in the red furnishings on the space station as they were called Djinn chairs/sofas and I believe that with them enters the concept of morphing Kubrick first used in Fear and Desire with the dog named Proteus, Proteus having the ability to morph (see shot 87 for my discussion on Requiem). We've already encountered the morphing of lamps in Eyes Wide Shut. When Bill is with Amanda a lamp stand changes and a phone resting next it becomes a heroin kit. Then when Bill is with Alice smoking the pot (which she had taken out of a band-aid box) their bedroom lampstands had changed and were black. What happens with Aladdin's lamp? It is rubbed and a djinn emerges. In the Arabian Nights a brass vessel is opened and out pops the djinn, Asmodeus, who can grant wishes. Is there a connection with Bill and Alice smoking pot and her character shifting so she is argumentative? A morphing? Now, Bill is with Marion, and we have a lamp that appears to be styled like the prototypical oil-burning Aladdin's lamp. Bill touches the forehead of the dead Mr. Nathanson. What happens next? An entirely unanticipated and seemingly uncharacteristic confession from Marion of her love for Bill.
Asmodeus was a demon in the Book of Tobit. The Book of Tobit also appears to be later referenced in the film, which I will discuss later in context of a knish bakery that is located hear Domino's, and the James Tobias Lomas Realty.
The chairs in which Bill sits with Marion seem to be based on a French style of chair that was influenced by those found in Egyptian tombs.
MARION: It's so unreal. Dad...
147 MCU Marion. (39:56)
MARION: ...dy had such a good day. His mind was clear and he remembered so many things. Then he had a little dinner, and he said he felt like taking a nap. I...I went into the kitchen and uh talked to Rosa for half an hour at most, and when I went back in to see how he was, I just thought he was asleep. (She struggles to compose herself.) And then I, and then I realized he wasn't breathing.
148 MS Bill from the left of Marion. (40:39)
BILL: Marion, from what you've said, I'm sure your father died peacefully. In his sleep.
These blues! Such powerful, saturated blues in this film.
149 MCU Marion. (40:48)
MARION: Oh, god, I hope so. I think I've been more afraid of the way it was actually going to happen than...his death itself.
BILL: Have you had a chance to phone any of your relatives?
MARION: I, uhm, I tried to call my stepmother in London but, uhm, she was out. My boyfriend Carl is making some calls and uhm he'll be coming over soon. I think you met Carl here a few times?
150 MS Bill from Marion's left. (41:27)
BILL: Yes, I remember him. He's a teacher.
151 MCU Marion. (41:30)
BILL: Isn't he?
MARION: A...math professor. We are going to get married. In May.
152 MS Bill from Marion's left.(41:41)
BILL: That's wonderful news. Congratulations.
153 MCU Marion. (41:46)
MARION: Thank you. Carl has a new teaching appointment at the University of Michigan. We'll be moving out there soon.
154 MS Bill from Marion's left. (42:01)
BILL: Well, Michigan's a beautiful state. I think you'll like it a lot.
155 MCU Marion. (42:04)
156 MS Bill from Marion's left. (42:10)
BILL: It really could be a wonderful change for you, Marion.
157 MCU Marion. (42:12)
MARION (shaking her head yes, seeming uncertain): Uhm, uh, uh (struggling for words) I uhm...oh, my god, no. (She bursts into tears.)
158 MS Bill from Marion's left. (42:36)
Bill leans forward.
159 MCU Marion from Bill's right. (42:40)
Marion reaches for words. Breaks into tortured sobs. Bill leans forward. She grabs him and kisses him and he even partly returns the kiss, though is certainly surprised as he pulls away and begins to recover his professional composure.
MARION: I love you.
MARION: I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you.
MARION: I love you. I don't want to go away with Carl.
BILL: Marion, I don't think you think you realize...
MARION: I do...
MARION: Even if I'm never to see you again I want at least to live near you.
BILL: Marion. Listen to me. Listen to me.
As with the back-and-forth dialogue shots with Alice, Kubrick places Marion on the right, against the blue window, while Bill, on the left, is out of the blue light except for shots when they are shown together.
160 MCU Bill and Marion. (43:20)
I guess this is what you get for making house calls.
Marion, seized with a kind of passion that defies reason, acts as Alice might have done with her naval officer, ready to give up her new life with Carl even if it means never even seeing Bill. She is also playing out Alice's suggestion that the women Bill sees in his office may fantasize about him on a personal level, only Marion is not interested in sex, she is as eager to throw away everything just for a recognition of her love as Alice had said she was. Bill even reminds Marion they barely know each other, just as Alice hadn't at all known her naval officer.
When we see Carl, we will wonder about Marion's association with him, because the impression we have of her is of one of privilege, and Carl is a math professor who's going to be taking her to Michigan of all places.
There are a number of things going on here, the main issue at the moment being Marion's replaying with Bill the feelings Alice had for her naval officer. These are not just human emotions but ancient and archetypal passions breaking through into the present.
BILL: You're very upset right now. And I don't think you realize what you're saying.
MARION: I love you.
BILL: Marion. We barely know each other. I don't think we've had a single conversation about anything except your father.
MARION: I love you.
The doorbell rings. Saved by the bell!
MARION (releasing Bill): That's probably Carl. Please don't despise me.
She wipes her nose and rises.
161 MS Nathanson foyer. (43:56)
The scene of the maid receiving Carl in the hallway is an opposing view of the hallway from when Bill entered. Carl is wearing a black coat much like Bill's. His demeanor is much the same. He looks much the same as Bill only taller and slightly different, as if a second-hand not-quite Bill. The maid calls him Thomas.
The actor's name is Thomas Gibson.
Thomas means twin. Not only is he Thomas, he is Dr. Thomas. He is, in essence, Bill's twin, which takes us back to Bill's examination of Amanda and what I had to write of twinship and doubling in that section, and the twin dragons supporting the mantle beneath the painting of the pregnant woman.
One might remember that in shot 62, when Bill was examining the neck glands of the boy in his office, and then in shot 64 when he was examining a man's leg, there were two prints on the wall from the History of Medicine series by Robert Thom, a Michigan artist. Michigan is where Dr. Thomas is taking Marion. The name Thom seems to be a shortened form of Thomas.
Bill and Alice reside at the San Remo. Where Marion lives is never identified, only that it is in Greenwich Village. Below is an interior of a San Remo apartment I found on the web. Not just any San Remo apartment, but the one built for the owner of the building in 1929.
Entirely coincidental, but there are similarities between these two gallery entry rooms, which I guess are done in a Beaux-arts style.
We will later see that hall outside Bill and Alice's apartment has on the lower part a Fleur-de-lis wallpaper very similar to the wallpaper decorating the upper wall in the Nathanson bedroom. Also, we will later find that the Nathanson apartment is conspicuously similar to Victor's billiard room.
CARL: Hello, Rosa.
ROSA: Hello, Dr. Thomas.
CARL: Is she, uh (handing Rosa his coat) is she in the bedroom?
ROSA: Yes, she is.
CARL (handing over his scarf): Thank you.
Directed to the bedroom by the maid, the camera follows Carl down the hall to the hall and we notice that one of the jade sculptures is missing.
In one conspicuous example of symmetrically placed objects disappearing in The Shining, during the scene in which Wendy goes to Jack to tell him of the coming snowstorm, a chair and table (the twin of these items being against a neighboring column) disappear and reappear. It is more than a simple lapse in continuity. Jack's personality appears to be fracturing as it happens. We think his change has only to do with his being a troubled alcoholic who has been abusive in the past, but Kubrick ends the scene with an intimation there is more to it than that, or that a parallel story is being told, for after Wendy leaves, Jack ordering her out of the room, Kubrick shows a relaxed Jack typing away, his demeanor bearing no resemblance at all to the Jack who just raked Wendy over the coals for disrupting his concentration. The two modes of personality are so different one could describe them as being more like Jeckyll and Hyde twins. Or that Wendy had never entered the room at all in which this version of Jack worked.
Here we have Dr. Carl Thomas (the twin) about to meet (again) Dr. Bill Harford and we've the problem of an object disappearing from a near symmetrical arrangement.
Carl knocks on the door.
MARION: Come in.
162 Lou Nathanson's bedroom. (44:20) He enters, and again we've an opposing view of the room had from when Bill entered.
There is something unreal in the way he reaches out his arms to Marion, saying too placidly but sincerely, "darling," but also reminding of Bill's bedside manner, as if Carl is acting the part of Bill in a play to near perfection but also troublingly off the mark. And perhaps he just misses because he is a math professor, a just missing the mark that has to do with the nature of individuals and how they're more than a set of numbers, no matter how mathematical nature is. Marion timidly kisses him (begins to kiss him from the right and then uncertainly, nervously switches to the left, as if again a demonstration of twinship polarities) and he tells her he's sorry and asks how she's doing, his entry conversation very much like Bill's. He shakes Bill's hand and thanks him for coming.
Briefly, Marion and Bill mirror each other's movements, crossing an arm over the stomach, other hand to face. She places a finger over her lips. Bill places a finger over his lips. These seem like unconscious gestures reflecting their nervousness, but remind also of the idea of keeping silence. The actions also play out for the audience doublings that can perhaps dignify the twinship expressed in Dr. Carl Thomas.
Marion looks a little like Alice Harford, actually, her hair a little blonder perhaps, but it is pulled up, as is Alice's usually, with tendril curls draping down. And that she looks a little like Alice is brought home more by Carl looking so very much like Bill, though also missing the mark. His hair is brown and styled in a similar manner, and though he wears glasses and is taller, if they were placed side by side and said to be brothers then someone would likely say they see a resemblance. His voice and manner are as professionally reserved.
The attentive audience member might be saying, "Oh, my god! Poor Carl! Marion can't have Bill so she's hooked up with his (sort of) twin!" Does Bill recognize himself in Carl? It's hard to tell whether the nervous expressions he and Marion share are only concerned with her confession or if he's observed how much Carl resembles him, while Carl is oblivious, and perhaps Marion is nervously aware that Bill has realized the resemblance.
I've already mentioned how in 2001, in the Infinity room, Bowman would hear or sense something, turn, see another version of himself, the camera would shift to the point of view of that individual who was an older Bowman and the other Bowman would be gone. And so it went until there was the ancient Bowman meeting again the monolith. We have a similar facing off with another version of self here in the presence of the dead Lou Nathanson.
DR. THOMAS: Darling.
Marion awkwardly kisses him.
DR. THOMAS: I'm so very sorry. Are you all right?
MARION: I'm okay.
DR. THOMAS: Dr. Harford? Good evening.
BILL: Good evening, Carl.
DR. THOMAS: Thank you very much for coming over here tonight.
BILL: It's the least I could do.
DR. THOMAS: It means a lot to us.
We notice a theatrical Greek or Roman mask in the background, to the left of the bed in this scene. That the mask appears when Bill meets Carl reminds of actors masking their own personas, enabling them to play different roles, to impersonate. Ritual masking takes it a bit deeper, masks being conceived of as not just figuratively but actively giving expression to a certain personality or force. By concealing the individual's identity the masks allow the manifestation of transcendent forces, or at least reminds the viewer of those forces.
Profoundly uncomfortable, Bill says he should go and tells the tense and nervous Marion that he knows her father was proud of her and that she gave him great comfort in these last months. Gulping, she thanks him. He says good night, and as he walks by her, leaving, she takes a tense breath, as if she would have something else to say, looking as if her future hinges on this moment and she is about to beg him to stay, but he says good night rather coolly as he passes, giving her no opportunity, which effectively silences her.
BILL: Thank you. Well, I was, uh, I was actually on my way out. Marion, your father was very proud of you, and I know you gave him great comfort these last months.
MARION: Thank you.
DR. THOMAS: Thank you.
DR. THOMAS: Well.
163 MCU Marion. (45:19)
DR. THOMAS: I'll, uh, show you out.
With an intake of breath, Marion turns as if to say something to Bill as he leaves, but he interrupts.
BILL: Good night.
164 Crossfade to a city street. (45:28 begin crossfade, end at 45:31.
Beautiful shot of Bill exiting, the street briefly superimposed, as if Bill is walking directly from the apartment into the street, and Marion facing the camera, looking just past it.
This is 3rd and Sullivan in Greenwich Village.
Bill's expressions are difficult to read and Kubrick hasn't helped us much with divining what is going on internally, simply chaining a series of events together with Bill imagining Alice with the naval officer.
In the book, Fridolin is drawn to Marianne in the way that she is a woman who he's previously suspected is attracted to him and fantasizes about how if they were sexually involved she would be a lusher, gayer person, he finding her wanting, even repulsive, dried and faded by life and the months of caring for her father.
Bill, who earlier didn't know the name of Roz though just having talked with Alice about her, who hadn't looked at Alice when she asked about her appearance, has been expressly presented by the models as someone who is quite "knowledgeable" and hard working and yet has been missing a great deal, for which reason the invitation to go to the end of the rainbow. Now the dam has burst--Alice has stunned him with her story of the naval officer, she seeming surprised that he had been completely unaware of the naval officer; she has also accused him of having no idea what his patients are thinking, and Marion turns out to be one of those individuals who has surprised him with her passionate confession.
Curiously, the end of QShTh, the Hebrew for the bow of the rainbow, is the letter Taw, Th, which is the final letter in the Hebrew alphabet and considered important as it is the final letter in the Hebrew word truth, and of course we imagine that at the end of the rainbow Bill is likely to find out some truth about himself.
The audience knows we're being drawn into a mystery with Bill, yet we're given little to go on as far as any inner dialogue or outer expressiveness outside of bewilderment. As for Bill, he is increasingly aware that SOMETHING is happening that demands he look around and see his surroundings in a new way. The clues that Kubrick strews throughout are every bit as much for Bill as for the audience.
Sounds like you missed both the moonwalking bear and the basketball players.
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