KILLER'S KISS - PART FOUR

Killer's Kiss

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.


PART FOUR

The Fight for his Life

326 Seagulls in early morning light. (48:32)

327 An empty street much like the streets in Davey's dream. (48:42)

Two cars travel toward the camera.

328 CU of stoplight. (48:51)

329 Vincent's car and the cab stop at the light. (48:55)

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330 MCU Vincent in his car. (49:02)

The sound of a door of the cab opening and closing. Vincent is surprised by Davey climbing in the car with him.

DAVEY: Good morning, Mr. Rapallo. Sorry I missed you..

331 CU of stoplight. (49:09)

DAVEY: ...at the arena last week, but uh...

332 MS of cab leaving. (49:11)

DAVEY: ...Mr. Roberts told me to tell you...

333 MCU from rear of Vincent with Davey pointing a gun at his chest. (49:15)

DAVEY: That was my manager you knocked off.

VINCENT: I don't know what you're talking about.

DAVEY: Where is she?

VINCENT: What do you mean?

DAVEY: The girl! Where is she?

VINCENT: I don't know.

DAVEY: You don't know. (Raising the gun to his chin.) I'm going to count to three...

334 MCU from front of Vincent with Davey pointing a gun at his chin. (49:27)

DAVEY: ...and if you still don't know I'm going to blow your brains out. One...two...

VINCENT: She's in a loft on 24th street.

DAVEY: How'd she get there?

VINCENT: Boys were waiting at her apartment.

DAVEY: Is she all right?

VINCENT: Yeah, sure, she's all right. I had to do it. She saw the boys at the dance hall. She was a witness. I thought you were dead.

335 LS of the street and the car. (49:47)

VINCENT: They grabbed her, made it look like she'd packed up and left. I thought you were dead.

336 MCU from front of Vincent with Davey pointing a gun at his chin. (49:51)

VINCENT: I didn't want murder. It's all gone wrong.

DAVEY: Get going.

337 The car drives off. (49:59)

Crossfade to the car turning left onto another street.

338 LS The car turns left onto another empty street. (50:09)

It parks. Vincent and Davey climb out and Vincent opens a door.

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Location of shot 337 is Plymouth and Adams in the Dumbo district. I searched and searched and searched and finally found it, and then it turns out it's on a NYC film location site, but they don't have Google screenshots. The single story building on the right is still there. Is blue in the two below screenshots.

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338 LS The car turns left onto another empty street. (50:09)

It parks. Vincent and Davey climb out and Vincent opens a door.

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339 MS Door opening from within. (50:27)

Vincent and Davey enter.

340 Davey and Vincent enter an elevator and ride up. (50:34)

341 Gloria tied up in the room and the two gangsters playing cards. (50:34)

GANGSTER: Is that you, Mr. Rapallo?

VINCENT (off screen): Yeah, it's me, boys.

342 The elevator coming up the elevator shaft. (50:54)

343 Vincent and Davey enter the loft (51:15)

Davey pushes Vincent out of the way and orders the gangsters up.

344 MLS The gangsters rise from the table. (51:19)

345 MCU Gloria. (51:21)

346 MLS Davey. (51:23)

DAVEY: Against the wall. Lean on your hands.

347 MLS The gangsters rise from the table. (51:25)

348 MCU One of the gangsters with the Ace of Spades. (51:27)

349 MLS The gangsters and Rapallo leaning against the wall. (51:30)

350 MCU Gloria. (51:36)

351 LS Davey collecting the gangsters' guns. (51:38)

352 A gun falls on the ground next a piece of string and cigarette butt. (51:47)

353 LS Davey shoves the gun aside with his foot. (51:48)

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354 MCU Vincent. (51:52)

355 LS Davey picks up the gun. (51:54)

356 Gloria and Davey. (51:57)

He attempts to untie her.

DAVEY: How are you, baby?

357 MLS The gangsters against the wall. (52:02)

GLORIA (off screen): I'm okay.

DAVEY: I can't get the rope.

358 Gloria and Davey. (52:08)

GLORIA: Be careful.

359 MCU One of the gangsters. (52:10)

360 Gloria and Davey. (52:12)

DAVEY (pointing to the gangster): You.

361 MCU One of the gangsters. (52:14)

DAVEY (off screen): Yeah, you.

364 Gloria and Davey. (52:16)

DAVEY (pointing to the gangster): Untie her.

363 MCU One of the gangsters. (52:20)

364 Gloria and Davey. (52:22)

Davey stands aside.

365 The gangster goes over to Gloria. (52:24)

366 MS The gangster untying Gloria. (52:30)

367 MLS Rapallo and the other gangster. (52:33)

A train whistle.

368 CU Gangster holding the Ace of Spaces and 4 of Spades. (52:35)

A train whistle.

369 CU The gangster with the Ace of Spades. (52:36)

370 MS Davey. (52:37)

371 MLS Rapallo and the gangster. (52:39)

372 MS Gangster untying Gloria. (52:41)

He glances at the cards.

373 CU Gangster holding the Ace of Spaces and 4 of Spades. (52:43)

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374 CU The gangster with the Ace of Spades. (52:43)

He winks at the other gangster.

375 MS Gangster untying Gloria. (52:44)

376 MS Davey. (52:47)

377 MS The gangster untying Gloria. (52:47)

He grabs her head, pulls her head back and ties her neck, her scream distracting Davey.

378 MS The gangster with the Ace of Spades. (52:50)

He looks back at Davey, no longer holding the Ace of Spades but the 5 of Diamonds showing. He flings the cards at Davey and lunges at him.

379 MS The cards flung at Davey's head. (52:51)

380 MLS The other gangster lunges at Davey, knocking the gun out of his hand. (52:52)

381 MS The two gangsters grapple with Davey. One hits him on his glass chin. (52:54)

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382 MCU Davey is struck again and we see Vincent has moved behind Gloria. (52:55)

Davey is struck again in the face and then gets a knee to the face. He collapses.

383 MS of Gloria. (53:00)

384 CU Gun on the floor. (53:02)

Vincent retrieves it.

385 LS The scene, the guns taken from Davey's pockets. (53:04)

386 MCU Gloria stands over Davey. (53:10)

She then grabs Vincent and pulls him against her, attempting to seduce him.

GLORIA: Listen, Vinnie, don't kill me. I don't want to die. I'll do anything you say. Anything.

387 Vincent from beyond Gloria's right shoulder. (53:26)

VINCENT: You love him, though, don't you?

GLORIA: I don't know. I don't think so. I've only known him two days.

VINCENT: Two days.

GLORIA: Please, Vinnie. Please don't kill me. You said you were mad about me, remember?

VINCENT: I'm just an old man and I smell bad. Remember?

388 MCU Gloria from beyond Vincent's right shoulder. (53:45)

GLORIA: I didn't mean it. You know I didn't mean it.

She kisses him.

389 MCU Gloria and Vincent. (53:55)

Vincent smiles, which reassures her, and he kisses her again.

VINCENT: We could go away.

GLORIA: Sure.

VINCENT: Sure, I've got lots of money. We could have loads of fun some place, sure. London, Paris, Sicily.

GLORIA: I'll do anything you want.

VINCENT: Maybe we could get married. Settle down. Have a couple of kids.

GLORIA: Sure.

VINCENT: What do you take me for? 14 karat sucker?

390 MCU Davey on the floor beside Jack of Spades. (54:33)

VINCENT (off screen): You and lover boy aren't going to put me in the hot seat.

GLORIA (off screen): You liked me once, remember? Remember how nice it was? It could be like that again, Vinnie. It could be like that again.

VINCENT (off screen): You forgetting about him?

391 MLS Davey on the floor, the window beyond. (54:43)

GLORIA: I don't care about him.

VINCENT (off screen): Look, baby, you could have had anything once, but, no, you were too good for me. So you come up to my...

392 MS The window. (54:48)

VINCENT: ...office to get me mad. So I send my boys down to work over loverboy.

393 MCU Davey on the floor. (54:51)

VINCENT: So they grab the wrong...

394 MLS A gangster. (54:52)

VINCENT: ...guy. So he bangs his head too hard...

395 MCU Davey's feet next the gangster's, the 5 of spades beyond. (54:54)

VINCENT: ...on the sidewalk. So that makes me the sucker, huh?

396 CU Gangster. (54:56)

VINCENT: Not on your life, baby. Not on your life!

397 MCU Davey's foot unbalancing the gangster. (54:59)

VINCENT: Not on your life, baby. Not on your life!

398 MS Davey stands and rushes for the window. (55:01)

399 MS Davey plunges through the window. (55:03)

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400 MLS Davey landing on the street below. (55:06)

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401 LS Vincent and the gangsters looking out the window. (55:10)

VINCENT: Don't shoot! Come on!

402 LS Vincent and the gangsters run past Gloria for the elevator. (55:12)

VINCENT (remembering Gloria): You stay with her! Go on!

One of the gangsters climbs out of the elevator as it's going down.

403 CU Gloria. (55:21)

404 LS Davey outside, still struggling to stand. (55:24)

We hear a train whistle. Holding his jaw, he rises and runs.

405 Davey runs down the street. (55:34)

We hear a train whistle. Holding his jaw, he rises and runs.

406 MLS The gangster who stayed with Gloria goes to the window. (55:40)

407 Davey running down the street. (55:43)

He cuts right at the end of the street.

408 Vincent and the gangster emerge on the street. (55:51)

VINCENT: He went down there!

409 The street, Vincent and the gangster running down it. (55:53)

VINCENT: Be careful. It's a dead end alley. He'll never get out.

410 LS Davey running into the alley. (56:01)

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411 LS Davey runs through another portion of the alley. (56:08)

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412 Davey reaches the dead end. (56:18)

413 Davey runs up a fire escape. (56:22)

414 LS Davey pulls up the stairs behind him. (56:32)

415 LS Vincent and the gangster run down the dark alley. (56:39)

Sound of train whistle.

416 LS Davey at the top of the fire escape. (56:53)

He throws a board at them.

GANGSTER: Look out!

417 Vincent and the gangster in the alley, viewd from above. (57:00)

VINCENT: Get that down! Come on! Hurry

The gangster climbs up and lets down the stairs.

418 Vincent and the gangster climb the escape. (57:13)

419 Davey runs across the roof. (57:21)

He runs all the way down to the end, trying doors. He crosses. He runs back.

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420 LS Vincent and the gangster reach the roof. (58:15)

421 Davey running across the roof from above. (58:20)

422 Vincent and the gangster race across the roof. (58:25)

The gangaster falls. Continues on.

423 Davey clambers over a wall on the roof. (58:36)

424 LS From above of Vincent and the gangster running across the roof. (58:42)

425 MS Davey running. (58:47)

426 LS Vincent and the gangster climb the wall. (58:49)

The gangster is down. He injures his ankle and can't go on.

427 Davey goes down another fire escape (59:11)

Davey is able to enter the second floor down as Vincent reaches the escape.

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As best as I can tell, the warehouses upon which the running around takes place no longer exist. Compare the top screenshot below with shot 419 that shows Manhattan Bridge and you'll see the dramatic change in the area.

The second screenshot below is the possible area of the warehouses, now gone, located at Dock Street between Water and Front Streets, at least as best as I can tell.

The bottom screenshot below is from the Manhattan Bridge looking back over the area.

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428 The mannequin factory. (59:17)

Davey enters the mannequin factory. We see a man in a neighboring room working on a mannequin. Vincent also enters. The man puts down the mannequin to look and see what's going on.

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429 MLS Vincent in the mannequin factory. (59:37)

430 MLS The worker. (59:41)

431 MS Vincent. (59:43)

432 MCU Vincent attacks the worker. (59:46)

433 MCU Vincent wrestling the worker for the gun. (59:47)

I think there's been a cut here. I could be wrong.

434 LS Vincent and the worker wrestling. (59:51)

I think there's been a cut here. I could be wrong.

435 MS of the gun dropped. (59:52)

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436 MS The fight. Vincent knocks the worker out. (59:54)

437 LS Vincent. (59:55)

VINCENT: My god. I've got to get out of here.

438 Davey in profile. (1:00:02)

He advances and tries a side door, but it's locked. He hides.

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439 LS Vincent. (1:00:48)

440 MCU Davey. (1:00:56)

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441 Vincent. (1:01:05)

He, too, now goes and tries the locked door.

442 MLS Davey. (1:01:20)

Davey steps out of hiding.

443 CU Vincent. (1:01:29)

444 MCU Vincent. (1:01:35)

He grabs a mannequin bust.

445 MLS Vincent with the bust. (1:01:37)

446 MS Davey approaches. (1:01:38)

447 MLS Vincent with the bust. (1:01:39)

He notices the axe on the wall.

448 MS Davey continues to approach. (1:01:42)

449 MS Vincent with the bust. (1:01:44)

He throws the bust at Davey.

450 MS Davey is knocked on the face and falls back and down. (1:01:44)

451 MS Vincent grabs the axe. (1:01:46)

452 MS Davey leaps up. (1:01:48)

453 MCU Vincent with the axe. (1:01:50)

454 MS Davey. (1:01:51)

455 MCU Vincent with the axe. (1:01:52)

456 LS Davey. (1:01:57)

Davey pushes a mannequin at Vincent, who hits it away with the axe. Again, he throws another mannequin at Vincent who dismembers it with the axe. Davey takes up a mannequin leg as a weapon.

457 MS Vincent. (1:02:09)

Unexpectedly, dust is thrown in Vincent's face.

458 LS Davey picks up a mannequin and throws it at Vincent. (1:02:11)

459 MS Vincent again hit with dust. (1:02:12)

More dust bombards Vincent.

460 LS Davey assails with more mannequin parts. (1:02:13)

461 MS Vincent steps back. (1:02:14)

462 LS Davey throwing mannequin head. (1:02:14)

463 MS Vincent is struck with the head. (1:02:16)

464 Davey picks up mannequin legs to throw but stops as police sirens are heard. (1:02:19)

465 MS Vincent. (1:02:19)

466 LS Police car from above. (1:02:21)

They get out.

OFFICER: I don't see anything. Do you, Joe?

RADIO: Car 14, car 14.

OFFICER: Well, let's go up to the roof anyway and take a look.

467 MS Vincent. (1:02:41)

Vincent retreats and tries to open the door with the axe.

468 MS Davey. (1:02:47)

469 MCU Vincent. (1:02:56)

470 MLS Davey and Vincent. (1:02:58)

Davey throws the mannequin then grabs a spear as Vincent tries to extract the axe from the door. Davey strikes the door with the spear, which opens, and Vincent steps back with the axe. He strikes at Davey.

471 MS Davey and Vincent. (1:03:03)

They spar with their weapons.

472 MS Davey and Vincent. (1:03:08)

Davey spears a mannequin and deflects Vincent's axe. He forces him back beyond a pillar.

473 MS Swinging mannequin hands. (1:03:17)

474 LS Vincent and Davey. (1:03:19)

They deflect each other's weapons until Davey gets his spear stuck in a mannequin and Vincent falls down.

475 LS Vincent picks up a mannequin leg. (1:03:39)

He throws it at Davey.

476 CU The spear. (1:03:44)

477 LS Vincent and Davey. (1:03:45)

478 The swinging mannequin hands. (1:03:51)

479 LS Vincent and Davey. (1:03:53)

Vincent down, Davey spears another mannequin. Vincent gets back up and misses with his axe. Again, Vincent is thrown down, again Davey spears a mannequin as Vincent rolls away. This time, the mannequin is stuck on the end of the spear as Vincent and Davey continue to fight.

480 MLS Vincent. (1:04:17)

Vincent swings a couple of times.

481 MLS Vincent. (1:04:21)

482 MS Vincent and Davey. (1:04:22)

483 MS Vincent and Davey. (1:04:24)

484 LS Vincent and Davey. (1:04:29)

This time, Davey successfully gets Vincent down and spears him. Vincent screams.

485 CU Mannequin face. (1:04:32)

Begin blur transition to shot 486.

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486 Davey at Penn station. (1:04:34)

Vincent's scream turns into a train whistle.

487 MS Davey. (1:04:40)

DAVEY (narration): After the cops came, I took them back to free Gloria. The guy on the roof was picked up later. On the ride to the police station, Gloria didn't say very much. I guess she was trying to work out in her own mind why I ran and left her alone like that. I don't suppose she ever thought about how I might have felt listening to her talk to Rapallo that way. At the station house they separated us for questioning. Five hours later they chalked off Rapallo as self defense and then worked a confession from the hoods on Albert's murder. I was free. On my way out, the desk sergeant said that Gloria had left an hour before. There was no message for me and I haven't heard from her or seen her since. And, now, I don't suppose I ever will again. Well, anyway, I guess the whole thing was pretty silly. Know a girl for two days and fall in love. So, I cashed my check, sent flowers to Albert's widow, cleaned up, and here I am.

488 LS Davey. (1:05:32)

STATION ANNOUNCER (voice-over): The Pathfinder to Chicago and Seattle leaving at 2 o'clock, West Gate, Track 13. Passengers for Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis and Seattle, this train has reserved...dining cars, and sleeping cars designated as 494...

489 MS Davey (picking up his bag and walking for the train). (1:06:03)

STATION ANNOUNCER (voice-over): 493, 492. 491 and 490. The Pathfinder for Chicago and Seattle, leaving...

490 LS Taxi pulling up and Gloria climbing out. She runs to the station. (1:06:17)

491 LS Gloria runs down the 8th Avenue staircase. (1:07:13)

492 LS Davey walking through the station. (1:07:13)

GLORIA (off screen): Davey! Davey!

493 MLS Gloria running for Davey. She catches and kisses him. (1:07:13)

494 LS Gloria and Davey hug. (1:07:13)

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Things to Notice

The Ace of Spades and the 4 of Spades

Though Davey is already defeated before entering the ring, come shot 114 is the end of the fight for him. It's a wonderful shot, Kid's glove meeting and obscuring the lens, the camera going wild as it swings back and down then its focus eventually orienting on the referee above and the lamps beyond him. Though Davey manages to regain his feet, it takes several shots and he's done for. Kid has won the battle.

The gangster displaying the Ace of spades, with the four of spades beneath, is somehow a signal to the other gangster on how they shall overpower Davey. Kubrick really wants us to see this as he shows it to us twice, in shot 368 and shot 373.

The Ace is 11 and so we have here 11-4. For Kubrick, it's referring us back to the moment that Davey is defeated in the ring in shot 114. And what happens when the gangsters go after Davey, the cards are first thrown in his face, distracting him.

Davey has several guns in his pockets, and is carrying one. That these cards take him down is pretty hilarious.

I have pointed out in my Lolita analysis that we seem to have CRM-114 at work even before Dr. Strangelove. We see it throughout Kubrick's later career representing the extreme isolation of a character or characters at a point in which the plot embarks upon a kind of ritualized and seemingly irreversible trial. As, for instance, with Alex receiving the Serum 114 in A Clockwork Orange. A sense of sacrifice always is involved, not too different from the doomed bull which, once in the bullring, will not leave alive unless under rare and sensational circumstances.

Kubrick reiterates the initial KO in shot 114, with these cards by which Davey is again overpowered. And thus we then have Davey trapped in the "dead-end" maze of the streets surrounding the warehouse.

These are numbers--the 11-4--that had meaning to Kubrick even here. We don't explicitly have the association of ChRM with 114 (or its permutation) here. We do seem to have it in Lolita, prior, Dr. Strangelove, but Red Alert (upon which Dr. Strangelove was based and had in it the CRM-114), was published in 1958 and the rights for the book were purchased by Kubrick in 1962, the year Lolita was released.

Himberama, Orson Welles and the Card Trick Distraction

Remember how in section three I noted the advertisement for Himberama right across the street from the supposed Pleasure Land, and how Himber was an orchestra director and magician? From Fear and Desire on, there's something of the magic of The Tempest in Kubrick's films (a play referred to in Fear and Desire), the director a kind of magician and actors and audience all operating under the magical illusion of the director. So, when I see a hit of magical anything referred to directly, I pay attention, such as at the end of Eyes Wide Shut.

So, what about Himber?

Just down the street from the Himberama ad, probably by pure coincidence, The Man Between was playing, directed by Carol Reed who also directed Orson Welles in The Third Man. If you know anything about Orson Welles, you know he was a man of magic, and, as it would turn out, Orson Welles did, in 1953, a short movie for Richard Himber. Orson Welles starred in this little film in which he, on screen, interacted with Richard Himber who was live, on stage, and they performed a magic trick together.

That footage lives on as David Copperfield used it in his 1992 special, "The Magic of David Copperfield XIV: Flying - Live the Dream", so, via David, we can see how Himber and Orson Welles collaborated in their trick, Orson on the screen and Dave on stage, both interacting with the audience.

Below is the footage. You'll want to start at about 2 minutes and 22 seconds.

Orson first sprinkles some magical applause powder that spills off the screen onto the stage, then tosses a pack of cards to Dave. On screen, Orson's cards are normal size, but tossing them to Dave they become oversize cards. On Welles' instructions he wraps the deck in a rubber band. Welles says he wants someone to "freely" choose a card, not be forced. He has Dave throw the pack over his shoulder into the audience where a man catches it and Orson instructs him to hand the deck to a woman as he needs the woman for the experiment. Orson asks the woman to hold the deck behind her and has her answer him if she's done so. Then the deck is extended to a man who takes from it a card. He shows to the audience what the card is that he selected then inserts it back into the deck and Dave walks the woman onto the stage, she carrying the cards and shuffling them. Orson asks her if she's ever been hypnotized, utters some yabba-dabba words then asks her to throw the deck of cards at his right eye.

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She throws them. Kind of like how the cards were thrown at Davey's face?

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Orson catches one of the cards (now normal size) and shows it as being the Ace of Clubs. No, Dave says that it was instead the Jack of Spades. Orson then raises a very overlarge card and says, "You know it's remarkable, but on the screen some objects enlarge quite unusually." He turns the card over to show the Jack of Spades.

Killer's Kiss

The Jack of Spades is revesed on the screen. I read this is because Copperfield had it reversed so he could interact with it using his good side. Which means instead of having the cards thrown at his right eye they were originally thrown at his left. Just as "Dave" was dubbed in every time Orson had said "Dick" (for Richard), then "right" would have been dubbed in for "left".

Though the Ace of spades and 4 of spades were the two cards that were three times shown the audience of Killer's Kiss, after the cards are thrown, when Davey is lying on the floor, subdued, the Jack of Spades rests beside his face. The Jack of course is a profile card, for which reason it is called One Eyed Jack, showing its right eye, and we have the same with Davey being shown here in profile, showing his left eye.

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Just as Orson would have been showing his left eye with the proper, original orientation.

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While the Jack of spades shows its right eye, the Jack of heart, another prilfe card, shows its left eye.

Davey's Dream and his Crash through the Window

Davey's dream (shots 139, 140, 141 and 142) have the city streets in negative, tones inverted, and the heckler's voice berating him as a flop and telling him to go home. He wakes from this to Gloria's scream, sees Vincent in her room, and races over to rescue her.

Killer's Kiss

The empty street of shot 335 reminds very much of this dream. But what really takes us back to it is Davey's crashing through the window in shot 399. The light effect is such that we have the same sense of positive and negative reversal on Davey's body as he plunges through the window.

Killer's Kiss

Some people make notice, as a goof, of how Davey is wearing dark socks before he plunges through the window, then when he lands on the street outside he is wearing white socks. I wouldn't be too sure it's a goof. It could very well be a reference back to the dream negative inversion and the relationship of this plunge through the window to it.

The above shots, and another, make me wonder if there is a nod to Jean Cocteau's Orpheus (1950) going on here. If there was only one such shot, I wouldn't bring it up, but there are several.

The plot of Orpheus is based upon the myth, but there are considerable differences, such as that in the end Orpheus and Eurydice are returned to the land of the living.

In Cocteau's version, Orpheus is a poet, which will be given as the reason he is able to cross from the world of the living into that of death, which is just another form of being. At the film's beginning, he is present at a cafe when a younger rising poet is killed by Death's motorcyclists. Death, disguised as a princess, had arrived with the younger poet and has him put in her car. Orpheus doesn't know yet that she is Death when she calls upon him to accompany her in her car, transporting the youth who Orpheus believes only to have been injured. She states she needs him as a witness. In the car, he realizes the youth is dead. After they are briefly stopped by a train, Death instructs her chauffeur to take the "usual route" to her mansion. It is at this point that the normal landscape viewed outside the window switches to a negative view.

In Killer's Kiss, we have Davey's negative effect dream/nightmare from which he awakens to hear Gloria screaming as she is assaulted. This dream/nightmare anticipates Davey's descent into the warehouse area later to search for Gloria, who has been kidnapped. Of course, the plot of Orpheus involves his rescuing his wife, Eurydice, from Death and the Underworld, and one can look at Davey's journey in Killer's Kiss as possessing some of the same elements, he having to rescue Gloria from Vincent. The underworld in Orpheus is all crumbling civilization, streets and buildings, just as we have with the warehouse district in which Vincent hides Gloria.

The below shot is the final one from Orpheus, Death is led off with her chauffeur, Heurtebise, who has assisted her in transgressing the rules imposed on Death by the greater whatever. She had fallen in love with Orpheus, she had taken his wife in death without permission, and then towards the end, out of love for Orpheus, she had reversed time and returned Orpheus and his wife to the land of the living with no memory of their travails. One does not know what will happen with Death and Heurtebise, only that it will be "unpleasant" and harsh.

That shot of Death and Heurtebise being led off to their punishment reminds me of the below.

Davey's manager is mistaken for Davey and is killed by a couple of Vincent's thugs. This is as they are leaving the scene of the murder, having disguised the death to look like a robbery.

In Orpheus, mirrors are beautifully used for moving between the world of the living and that of death. Sometimes the mirrors behave as water. In the scene in which Death steals away Eurydice, the mirror is instead broken.

First we see Death in her black dress. Here she is standing before the three-paneled mirror which is covered.

Cocteau cuts away from Death briefly. When the camera returns to her, Death's dress has changed so it is white. She faces the mirror and there is a brief flare of light that brightens her.

Death breaks the center mirror and the bright fill light is darkened. She steps through with Eurydice.

After they have passed through the mirror, it reforms.

In Killer's Kiss, before Davey leaps through the window he has on dark socks.

When he leaps through the window we are reminded of the negative effect had in his dream. One may also be reminded of Cocteau's use of mirrors in Orpheus.

Killer's Kiss

Landing in the street, Davey's socks are now white.

It seems to me there may be a nod to Orpheus and Cocteau's use of positive/negative, that positive/negative observed also in his changing of the black dress to white as Death breaks the mirror in order to transport Eurydice to the other side.

Eyes Wide Shut has another noticeable black/white shift. The bedroom of Bill and Alice, when first observed before Victor's party, has a white phone beside the bed. The next night, when Alice and Bill fight and Lou Nathanson dies, the phone is black and the lamp has changed so it has a black base. The scene just previous involves Alice looking into the mirror of the medicine cabinet from which she removes the weed they smoke. Her earlier complaint in the film is that Bill doesn't even really see her anymore. Then in a sense she is lost to him and his journey ends in their being reunited.

If we look at Killer's Kiss as also being partly a retelling of the Orphic tale, as with Cocteau's Orpheus we have Davey and Gloria reunited in the end.

Back to the "Blue Jeans" Poster

Now, let's return to the poser for the "Blue Jeans" melodrama we saw in Vincent's office earlier and which I briefly discuss in section one.

Nitrate Diva points to surviving clip of the 1917 movie that she has put up at Youtube. As it turns out, itis pretty damn amazing and provides a little elucidation of that film's connection to Killer's Kiss.

Though Kubrick shows us this "Blue Jeans" poster, it is in the background during the scene of Gloria and Vincent watching the boxing match and though we guess it is significant stage-dressing it may fail to make a hard connection.

Killer's Kiss

In Killer's Kiss we barely see in the background the poster of June breaking out the door as she rushes to rescue her husband. This is clear in the poster, as well as the saw mill blade, but it's very different from watching the film footage. The website Murania Press notes that the Blue Jeans sawmill stunt (which was done night after night on stage) < a href="http://muraniapress.com/serials/the-movie-serials-precursor-10-20-30-stage-melodrama/">became so firmly ingrained in memory that early serial writers and directors referred to any hazard-portraying chapter ending as “a Blue Jeans finish.” I don't know if that "Blue Jeans finish" coding still exists, but it's certain to be lost on the majority today.

You'll forgive the screengrabs I've made that have all the Youtube data. It was easiest in this instance. I've made a case for a relationship between Cocteau's Orphee with the inversion to negative footage (the transition to the underworld) being related to Davey's dream and the later scene in the underworld of the warehouse district, Gloria taken captive, as well as Cocteau's mirror shot transitions to the underworld and the inversion of black to white. But when we watch the 1917 footage of Blue Jeans we see also a side that ends up tying in with the One-Eyed Jack on the floor with Davey.

I should begin by posting again the two relevant shots from Killer's Kiss.

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Davey lying on the ground next to the one-eyed Jack as Gloria attempts to seduce Vincent.

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Vincent distracted, Davey taking the opportunity to leap out the window.

Now for Blue Jeans. June, in the film, locked in a separate room by the now escaping villain, breaks out a window with a board in order to get to her husband who is passed out on a log, having been put there by the villain, and is quickly sliding toward the saw mill's blade.

We have opposing shots of her husband in relationship to the blade, frome one side and the other, he laid out vertically in relationship to it.

June rushes over in the knick of time she pushes her husband away from the blade. The log upon which her husband was riding is split in half by the blade.

June has, we realized, saved her husband from being made into a One-Eyed Jack, as in the card Davey faces on the floor, it showing one eye and Davey as if the split half showing the other. We don't get this "link" from the Blue Jeans poster because the poster shows June's husband situated in a horizontal relationship to the blade, not a vertical. And in the poster we don't see June busting out the window, instead we see a shattered door.

Gloria, released from her bonds, attempting to seduce Vincent, may or may not be intended to replace June, she sacrificing herself perhaps with the hope that Davey will get away. The movie doesn't make that clear. Kubrick leaves it up to us to decide what are her motives. It's a fine state of tension, wondering at the possibility she may be a heroine distracting Vincent from Davey, or if she is only doing so to save her own skin. Davey doesn't even seem to be sure.

What resonates more powerfully in respect of Killer's Kiss is that saw mill blade.

I've already described how the movie Himberama relates to this scene, but how does it relate to Blue Jeans and this scene.

Via illusion, Himberama blurred reality and the screen when Orson Welles, from the movie screen, dialoguing with the stage magician and an audience member, the past speaking to the present, is able to somehow predict the card she would choose would be a one-eyed Jack. And all wonder how it was done.

That saw mill scene in both the theater and film blurred reality with fiction in having the audience at the edge of their seats wondering what about the actor, less than the character. In the theater the audience, not privy to the illusion, never knew if the actor might be injured. Even if they knew it was a trick, how was it done? Might it go wrong? Those going to see the film are well aware the actor survives and are still on the edge of their seats, wondering at the mortal danger to which the actor might have been subjected. Alex in A Clockwork Orange was thrilled by the blood on screen seeming always more real than in real life. In the book the films he watched during his Ludivico treatment were given as being so realistic, without observable cuts, that he couldn't figure out how what he was watching might not be real. So, we have that blur between observation and participation, the audience and the stage, through the danger to the actor. In The Killing the blurring was through association with the opera Pagliacci in which real life blends into the fiction and then what was theatrical becomes real life, and the audience is first awed by the realism then horrified when was thought to be staged becomes real.

Kubrick earlier turned this on its head with Davey's manager hearing the audience in a theater and trying to break out of the alley, out of the movie screen, into their space, to get them to hear him, to become aware of him. Much the same as in Peter Pan when he entreats the audience to help him save Tinkerbell. Clap if you believe!

I do wonder how that trick was done with the saw in Blue Jeans.

The threat of the saw mill cutting through the actor anticipates the warehouse with all its mannequins, and especially those with the bisected torsos.

The Mannequin Factory

Writings on influences on Killer's Kiss refer to a mannequin scene in Astair'es 1953 film The Band Wagon as being the known inspiration for the mannequin scene in Killer's Kiss. In The Band Wagon, Astaire is led, by a mysterious woman, into a room filled with mannequins and parts. The woman herself is in some ways related to these mannequins as Astaire was describing how she came at him in sections. In the mannequin room, two heads turn out to be real thugs who chase Astaire.

That dance sequence was "The Girl Ballet" and there are at least a couple of other seeming homages to it in the film. The fire escape Davey climbs, then later descends into the mannequin factory reminds of the one Astaire climbs.

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Also, stuck in the counter in the mannequin room in "The Girl Ballet" is a big butcher knife. This reminds of the extra large butcher knife hanging on the wall in Davey's apartment.

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Kubrick used ideas relating to mannequins throughout his career. He zeroed in on this with the Lolita quote of people being treated like furniture, then in A Clockwork Orange we have mannequins serving as furniture, and, eventually, in Eyes Wide Shut we had people serving as furniture at the "orgy" with its mysterious, mannequin-like partiers. So though The Band Wagon might have supplied some inspiration for the fight scene, we have a deep and abiding interest with Kubrick in ideas surrounding humans as mannequins.

Kubrick's wife at the time of Killer's Kiss, was Ruth Sobotka, who played the ballet dancer, Iris. In 1947 she had been in the surrealist film, Dreams that Money can Buy, specifically the Man Ray portion, "Ruth, Roses and Revolvers", in which theater-goers are encouraged to replicate what is happening on the movie screen. But the short preceding this was Fernand Leger's, "The Girl with the Prefabricated Heart", was all mannequins, with lyrics concerning today's goddess being formed on the assembly line. Her heart, as well, is sterile, prefabricated. The gods send her a mail-order, perfect mannequin man, each made for each other. He loves her truly and they become engaged. Married, the prospect of physical love for the mannequin frightens her, it making a muss of her perfect hair and clothes. Fearing emotions, she flees. Thus she remains pure, while the groom, abandoned, crying, disintegrates.

Killer's Kiss

Killer's Kiss

In The Prefabricated Heart, the mannequin assembling itself out of parts certainly reminds of the warehouse mannequin scene and all the mannequins in various stages of assembly, some whole, some in parts.

Iris, the Labrys, the Fleur-de-lys, and the Killing of Vincent

We already have Minotaur as producing the film, and Kubrick was interested in the labyrinthan throughout his career. Perhaps the why of this is the labyrinth, as well as some other myths he used time and again, are so deeply rooted in our psyches and culture, that Kubrick was thinking not only on its success, but some inherent truth in the symbolism, for which reason the longevity, as it was expressive of something in nature which ultimately emerged in various aspects of our lives however unnoticed when dissociated from the classically representative symbology.

My proposition is that from the beginning the labyrinthian has played an important part in the structure of the film, beginning with the mirrored apartments of Gloria and Davey duplicating the double-headed axe, the labyrs, a fundamental organization we have repeated in Kubrick's films.

Most people will want examples of explicit representation as proof, and even then will question as the idea of this manner of a deep symbolic approach (and structure) to cinema is abhorent to them, as they think only in terms of entertainment, though they would have no argument with seeking such symbolism in the literary works of writers such as Joyce.

Kubrick only rarely gives explicit representation, providing hints instead. But we do have the explicit in Killer's Kiss.

First, I'd like to give a couple of academic passages on the connection of the labrys and the fleur-de-lys, for though I can look at the two and see how they emerge from the same source, others will want quotes. I give broad swathes for a reason but you can piecemeal and just pick out the parts on the labrys and the fleur-de-lis and do just fine.

Minos was above all the priest-king. A religious impression is produced by the whole wing of the palace-sanctuary, where he presents himself to the general gaze seated on his throne guarded by gryphons. He is the representative of the Bull God, the incarnation of the Minotaur, whose image appeared everywhere on the walls, and dominated the gateway of the sacred dwelling. When the divine bull had received the name of Zeus or, as the legend has it, when Zeus had taken the form of the divine bull, Minos was the son, and, according to the Odyssey, the "companion of great Zeus". Once set apart by the divine will for the veneration of men, he became "king for a period of nine years". At the end of that time the divine power which had been breathed into him was exhausted and had to be renewed. He climbed the sacred mountain to converse, to commune with the god. He entered the awful grotto of the Minotaur, he penetrated the most mysterious of all labyrinths, he came to render account to his father, to bow to the judgment of his master. In that hour the island was in anguish. All those whose fate depended upon the forthcoming decision made sacrifice, in breathless suspense, of chosen victims. It was perhaps for these festivals that the tribute of seven young men and seven maidens, exacted every nine years, was reserved. If the god was dissatisfied with his chosen, he kept him, and the king who was condemned was never spoken of again. If the god was satisfied, Minos, renewed for nine years, came down again into the midst of his people with a fresh store of power. Translated into modern language, the legend seems to mean that the priest-king held his power for religious investiture, and that he was appointed for nine years and re-eligible.

The king, like the god, had as insignia the sceptre and the double axe, the labyrs. Two thousand years before it became the symbol of authority in Rome, the axe already held that position in the palace of the labyrinth. The kinds of Knossos had perhaps another emblem besides, the fleur-de-lys. Strange coincidence. Are we to believe that the three-pointed flower symbolized a religious idea, that of the trinity? Nothing either confirms or belies this hypothesis. The fact remains that in L.M.II the fleur-de-lys appeared in all parts of the palace of Knossos, and spread over the whole Aegean world. The figure on the painted relief, with the crown of fleur-de-lys topped with great plumes and the necklace of fleur-de-lys, is Minos himself. The royal flower appears in devices, on seals, it is painted on walls and on vases.

Source: The Aegean Civilization by G. Glotz

The Minos was a god-king, and the Labyrinth of Knossos was the sacred habitat of the god. The divinity was incarnate both as an animal (the sacred bull) and as a man (the Minos). The bull-god received human sacrifice, of which the memory survived in the myth of Theseus and the abolition of the Athenian tribute...One phase of the ritual drama was the immolation of the bull-god himself; and those who wished to commune with the gods participated in the sacred meal. The offering was preceded by a corrida in honor of the gods, and on this occasion probably slaves and prisoners of war were used as bullfighters and human sacrifices. Some understanding of the meaning of these rituals, in which elements of a totemistic age survived, can be gained from Plato's Critias where, based on oral tradition from the Aegean past, the bullfight and the sacrifices form the core of the Atlantian rituals of order.

The bull-god was neither the only nor the highest divinity. The matriarchal Minoan civilization was dominated by a goddess whose functions resemble those of the corresponding figures in the Near Eastern pantheons. She appeared as Dictynna, the Great Mother (the Rhea or Demeter of the later Greeks), and as Britomartis, the virgin daughter who was united with the god in sacred marriage (Kore, Persephone, Artemis, Europa, Pasiphae in the later myth). To the fusion of mother and daughter corresponded the fusion of the god as son and lover. There was a wealth of myths--of Minos and Britomartis, of Dionysos and Ariadne, of Europe and Zeus in the shape of the bull, of Pasiphae and the bull-god in which are blended the figures of the Great Mother, of the son and lover, the totemistic and anthropomorphic symbols, the fertility of earth and the animal world, and the earthly and heavenly powers. What always remains discernible through this veil of not exactly dateable stories of gods, men and animals is, first, the Labyrinth, the royal palace, and second, the Minotaur, the offspring of Pasiphae and the Bull, the incarnation of the divinity that required human sacrifice...

In the sacrifice of the sacred bull the double axe (labrys) was used, from which the habitat of the god, the Labyrinth, received its name. The labyrs, originally a stone that was supposed to be the male god, belonged to a fetishistic stratum of symbols even older than the totemistic. This stone axe is found at an early phase in the Asiatic cultures, and since it appears in Crete earlier than with the peoples who settled between Mesopotamian and the Aegean, original connections between Minoan and Mesopotamian cultures are probable. Parallels suggesting such connections, however, occur only on the level of fetishistic and totemistic symbolisms, of animal incarnations of gods, and of the Osiris and Tammuz symbolism of the dying and reborn god...

Peculiar to Crete is the development of certain symbols that imply a cult of sacred numbers. One of them, the fleur-de-lis, is of particular interest, because it apparently was an original creation of Minoan civilization. Together with the labrys, this symbol of the trinity has been carried to the farthest reaches of Minoan influence. It is so omnipresent that the Minoan sphere of power has, on occasion, been called the realm of the fleur-de-lis.

An interpretation of the fleur-de-lis must beware of suggestive associations. It is not advisable to speak of the symbol, as has been done, as if were a mysterious achievement of manking in the dim past...What trains of speculation the Cretans associatied with the fleur-de-lis we do not know, but its very existence proves that, at least in sacerdotal circles, the elaboration of problems of origin and power must have gone rather far...

An approximate idea of the intellectual processes involved in the creation of the symbol can be formed through a comparison with the closely related Pythagorean tetractys. The tectractys consists of the first four integers, adding up to ten, represented by pebbles or dots so that they will form a triangle. The tetractys was invoked in the Pythagorean oath as containing "the root and fountain of overflowing nature." As far as the meaning of the symbol in detail is concerned, Aristotle has preserved an interpretation of the first three numbers: the even is the Unlimited, the odd the Limited, while the One is even and odd at the same time and, therefore, the origin of the Limited and Unlimited. According to other sources the even was identified as the female principle, an element of unorganized chaos, needing the union with the male principle in order to determine itself to a definite product, while the odd represented the male principle. The monad, in this construction, was the bisexual origin, capable or releasing the even and the odd from its undifferentiated unity. A trinitarian symbol, thus, may express more than one train of speculation. It can symbolize the sex differentiation, representative of Becoming, and the originating unity, representative of Being, but it can also symbolize the two procreating principles and their offspring. Whatever the Minoan meaning may have been, the existence of the symbol indicates that speculations on "the root and fountain of everflowing nature" must have reached a high degree of abstraction.

...On a gold ring from Mycenae, representing an offering to the Great Mother, the goddess sits under the Tree of Life and among the symbols surrounding her there can be discerned sun, moon, and several stars (perhaps the galaxy) in addition to the labrys and the fleur-de-lis. The aggregate is something like a Minoan pantheon.

Source: Order and History, Volume 2, Eric Voegelin

I cover some, in the analysis on Eyes Wide Shut, how the labyrinth was not only a prison hiding the Minotaur, it was also a dancing ground for his sister, Ariadne, who supplied Theseus the string (the clue) by which he found his way out after killing her brother with the labrys. As Homer relates, "Daedalus in Knossos once contrived, A dancing-floor for fair haired Ariadne". So the dancers in the form of Iris' ballet (which she is forced to abandon) and Gloria's taxi-dancing in the "depraved" Pleasure Land are essential components of this labyrinth story.

The red ball of thread is said to have been also made by Daedalus and reminds of the story of Daedalus threading the snail shell, also a version of the labyrinth.

Killer's Kiss

The below image shows, on the left, the labrys axe, and on the right the fleur-de-lys. The fleur-de-lys is an iris. We are, then, not finished with Iris after Gloria's story of her. She returns in the mannequin factory, along with images of string. In shot 451 Vincent seizes the axe from the wall. The fleur-de-lys is supplied with Davey taking the pike pole as his weapon. As we can also see in the below image, when the pike pole is doubled we have a fleur-de-lys.

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Killer's Kiss

Vincent is not only Vincent but, due his resemblance with the father of Gloria and Iris, is a representative of fate. Vincent is also the boxing twin of Walter Cartier in Fear and Desire. In the mannequin factory we have not only Vincent but also Walter, for in shot 435, Vincent having lost his gun, we see it next to a box which has written on its side something about "motion picture" and the name "Walter" as well.

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Vincent's grabbing the axe from the wall in shot 451 takes me back to the peculiar cut of Gloria from shot 225, when she is moving toward screen right, so she disappears while she is still on screen, so that one shot becomes two, 225 and 226. Add together 225 and 226 and one has 451. Absurd as this may seem (and through my having worked on analyzing so many of Kubrick's films shot by shot, and see in each film at least a couple instances of certain shots being significant numerically) I look at Vincent's grabbing the axe, in shot 451, as commentary on shot 225 having been one shot cut into two, the signal in this case being Gloria's disappearance, she herself being cut out. Which reminds of the axe also.

Past a certain point, there is no rational deciphering of the function of symbols, their sensibility comprehended instead in the indefineable mystical, in poetry. The fierce Iris returns in the aspect of the fleur-de-lys and is the instrument by which Vincent is killed, the scream from him viewed at the same time as a quiescent, female mannequin's face, and then transforming into a train whistle. Vengeance is had. The deep fairy tale sensibility of the story comes to the fore, and one senses then, in Gloria's taking the job at the dance hall with no idea why, the full weight of the automaton somnolence that has guided her, and how, via Iris, she has been finally freed and will be able to pursue her own life.

On Kubrick's Showing in "Killer's Kiss" the Rationale of Paying Attention to Screen Shot Numbers

I've already covered this in the analysis but I'm going to discuss it one last time so as to make clear that Kubrick himself paid attention to numbering of the shots.

In shots 488 and 489, Davey waiting for Gloria at Penn Station, the voice-over for announcing the trains begins, stating, "The Pathfinder to Chicago and Seattle leaving at 2 o'clock, West Gate, Track 13. Passengers for Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis and Seattle, this train has reserved...dining cars, and sleeping cars designated as 494, 493, 492. 491 and 490."

There are exactly 494 shots in the film. So what Kubrick is doing is listing off those last 5 shots in the voice-over, essentially telling us we're supposed to end on 494.

There would be, however, 493 shots if I had not split shot 225 into shots 225 and 226. Why did I split shot 225 into shots 225 and 226? Gloria disappears from the frame during shot 225 (I supply video of this in section 2 of this analysis), and it's likely many would count that as one shot, despite the fact she disappears from the frame. But it needs to be counted as two shots. When Gloria "disappears" in the shot, she has just finished describing her sister's suicide by slashing her wrists. 225 and 226 add up to 451 and in shot 451 Vincent grabs the axe from the wall. The axe in shot 451 works also as a signal that the shot needs to be counted as two. I know this sounds bizarre but it's the way it is.

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