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

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You'll notice in the above screengrab from A Yank in Ermine a British Regency style painting that is the same as on Victor's billiard room/library wall in "Eyes Wide Shut".

A1955 cheeselog comedy, A Yank in Ermine is about a US soldier who discovers he's now a Lord, 5th cousin to a family that has otherwise died out, and goes over to England to try out being a Lord before deciding whether or not to give up his US citizenship and take up permanent residence. The American had a singer girlfriend but when he gets to England he immediately falls in love with a member of the upper class who also falls in love with him but is already engaged. The American girlfriend heads over to England only to find they no longer have a relationship. The beau of the engaged woman falls in love with the American woman's insouciant ways and the American woman falls in love with his jewels. Love interests redistributed appropriately, everything ends happily. Mostly the film is concerned with confusion over American sports meeting up with English sports, and high brow British etiquette colliding with more casual low brow American.

Coincidentally, in Eyes Wide Shut the girl at Rainbow Fashions, who is not as young as Lolita but reminds of her, whispers in Bill's ear that he should have a cloak lined with ermine. The screenplay reads she says he must have a cloak lined with ermine and a doublet of red silk.

Don't ask me how I came across A Yank in Ermine. Or do. One might as well. Doing a little rewrite of my analysis on Lolita I was looking up a couple of the actresses, and saw that Diana Decker, who played Jean Farlow, was in A Yank in Ermine. So, I watched it because of the mention of ermine in Eyes Wide Shut. I would never have watched it otherwise as it was said to be a boring, bad cheeselog, and it is.

A Yank in Ermine was made at Beaconsfield Studios and distributed by Monarch Productions. The property, in 1971, was later taken over by the National Film and Television School. This was accomplished by means of a loan from the Rank Organization, then owners of Pinewood Studios. Kubrick filmed Eyes Wide Shut at Pinewood, so perhaps set elements and props that had belonged to Beaconsfield now were also available to Pinewood. But is this portrait's previous appearance in another film conspicuously linked with ermine a coincidence? A film that Diana Decker had starred in? Bill, in Eyes Wide Shut, finds himself to be an outsider to a class and wealth set that far outstrips his own, despite the fact he is well off. This portrait is on a wall in the billiard room of Victor, a wealthy man who serves as a medium between these two worlds. In A Yank in Ermine, the portrait hangs in the newly-acquired mansion of the American who becomes a lord.

In the screengrab we see the subtitle, "She says I sweep her off her feet." I captured this due Quilty, in Lolita, when at the Enchanted Hunter's Hotel, speaking of how Vivian Darkbloom throws him all over the place. "...she gets me in a sort of thing called a sweeping ankle throw. She sweeps my ankles away from me. I go down with one hell of a bang...I sorta lay there in pain but I love it, I really love it. I lay there hovering between consciousness and unconsciousness..."

Ermine, the fur of the royals, is of a stoat which is a weasel. In what film does Kubrick have a weasel? Though it's stated on IMDB as being a beaver, I believe the taxidermied animal we see at Camp Climax in Lolita is instead likely a weasel.

Potius mori quam foedari. A legend had it that Anne de Bretagne observed a white winter stout, hunted to the edge of a mud swamp, turn and face its attackers, which she determined was because it would rather die than soil its pristine white coat.

There may be no design, no relationship between the portrait that was in A Yank in Ermine appearing also in Eyes Wide Shut. If not, it's a fun coincidence. And if it is by design, who knows exactly why, though we do have in both films a confrontation between classes.

718 words or 2 single-spaced pages. A 6 minute read at 130 wpm.

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