Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut:
The Relationship Between Bill's Tearing the Hundred Dollar Bill in Half to the Torn News Article of the Beauty Queen

Go to TOC for this film ( (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).

So, one day I was looking for something other and came across this in Google images.

I had already written in my analysis on Eyes Wide Shut that, knowing how Kubrick works things, I felt there was something extra going on in that Somerton cab scene when Bill tore the money in half, and that there was perhaps a kind of half-way point being suggested. Not that it takes much to be aware of this. Kubrick simply developed a certain economy of language over the years and tended not to waste words. So Bill's stunt with the cab driver, an aside that took up undue screen time without seeming to contribute much to the story, was a red flag that there was likely more to be had here than met the eye and ear. Below is how I phrased it.

He's still gaming here, the way that Bill handles the cab driver. He hands him $80, which is only $5.50 over the meter. But Bill had promised $50 over the meter. He pulls out a $100 and tears it in half, making his proposition that the driver wait for him and receive a full century note. He brandishes his big smile, selling the idea, brimming with confidence, too, that the money and his smile and his charm will make the sale.

Kubrick's having Bill tear the 100 dollar bill in half again works in with the idea that we're at a "center" here, a dividing line, such as the center of a maze, as I've discussed in the previous section.

The image of Bill tearing the bill, imposed over when Bill takes out the torn article on the woman's death from his pocket, caught me. I followed the image from Google over to Reddit, where an individual named Zac had written the following:

I think I have made the greatest discovery about Eyes Wide Shut. When split in two at the right place and played at the same time, the two parts make a new movie. The split around 1:07:22 is the moment Bill carries a paper cut in half on both sequences! (a dollar bill and a newspaper)...Here's what I did...You can do it yourself for a 2:32:31 version.

A. 00:15 to 1:07:22 (the Warner Bros logo must be removed)

B. 1:07:22 to the end.

At the end of B in the sequence 2, you have to put A directly at the beginning again at 00:15.

I don't know that Zac has made the "greatest discovery" as I don't think there is really such to make (though his enthusiasm can be understood). He has made, however, an interesting discovery that I can, as it turns out, co-oberate.

Zac had kindly put up the overlay (in 2 parts) on Vimeo. (Thank you, Zac, for that work!) You can see in his "part 1" where we end up having the shot of Bill tearing the bill superimposed over Bill taking the torn newspaper article from his pocket. It occurs at about 1:07:36.

Eyes Wide Open (part 1) from zak be on Vimeo.

What's happening is Zac is simultaneously running EWS from its normal beginning (minus the logo) and the 2nd "beginning" he establishes as occurring when the cab arrives at Somerton, followed by Bill tearing the $100 bill, giving half to the driver and promising him the other half if he waits for him.

The speed of Zac's film is faster than my copy of Eyes Wide Shut. His film is 2:32:31 minutes long whereas mine is 2:39:03, but as long as the film is split in the right place and the opening logo removed then one with the slower film speed would still match Zac's experience.

Responses to Zac's post on Reddit at first included "complete hogwash", "the feverish scribblings of a madman", "bizarre conspiracies and over analysis", "you sound like a fucking kook". But some people were interested and there were those simply found it entertaining.

Not just any film will internally cross-reference in a way where syncs with overlays like this are possible, but it does happen with Kubrick. Much of this is due the way he works with themes, symbols and framing, so it's going to be difficult to tell, of Kubrick's art, what overlay syncs are coincidental and what are perhaps intentional, as some purport--as with Zac's method, or John Fell Ryan's overlaying of The Shining and the syncs he gets with a backwards running superimposition. But...

Kubrick does play with shot numbers in his film conveying meaning. I have numbered the shots in EWS and here's what we have that supports Zac's thesis. Shot 268 is when the cab pulls up, we viewing from inside the cab. The Somerton sign is shown to the screen right of the entrance to Somerton. In shot 269 we have a LS of the cab and the Somerton sign is now on the screen right of the entrance to Somerton. In shot 270 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.

Now, let's 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.

270 (when Bill tears the century bill in half) plus 270 is what? 540.

That's the main thing, and would be "Wow" if purely coincidental rather than planned. Kubrick, I believe, did something very similar in The Shining so I'm inclined to believe it is intentional.

This halving of the film in this manner at Somerton's gate makes some sense of Kubrick moving, at that point, the Somerton sign from the right of the entrance to the left, just as in 2001 when we have our first flip horizontal of the screen backdrop in shot 55 when the hominids first gather around the monolith. We've seen this screen backdrop a couple of times before, then Kubrick reverses it when the monolith appears. We fully comprehend visually his sensibility when in shot 595 we have the final zoom in on the monolith from Bowman's POV on the bed, the room becoming more symmetrical as we close in on the monolith.

In shot 539, the coffee table before the sofa is clear of any reflection.

In shots 541 and 543 (Victor receiving the news article and returning it to Bill) we have a high shine reflection of the 6 lights overhanging the billiards table.

This has long stood out to me, and it seems to me the appearance of the reflection can serve to symbolize the reunification of the split bill. It's a variation onf the flip horizontal mentioned above.

Below are some of my own observations of seemingly meaningful alignments caused by the overlay:

In the Zac overlay, in Part 1, from the beginning of the film to the end of Victor's party is approximately the same as Bill's time at Somerton.

At 24 seconds, when Bill is tearing in half the 100 dollar bill for the cab driver, Alice is slipping off her black dress with the split tail in her dressing room.

Bill has put on his coat and is adjusting it, saying goodbye to Helena and the babysitter, and in superimposition at Somerton he is removing his coat. He and Alice exit and enter Victor's party at the same time Bill at Somerton enters the area of the hierophant and the women in the circle.

There is a black drapery on the floor behind the Christmas tree at Victor's party. I always thought this referred to the black cloaks. It superimposes over the bowing women in the black cloaks in the circle at Somerton.

Nick playing piano at Victor's party is briefly superimposed over Nick playing at Somerton.

When the black-feathered woman is being led up the stairs away from Bill and nods at him, Alice is noticing Bill speaking to the two models at Victor's ball and nods at him simultaneously.

Bill's gold mask beautifully blends in with the Christmas lights at Victor's ball as Alice informs the Hungarian he's her husband.

When Bill asks Nuala and the other model, "Now ladies, exactly where are we going?", he is immediately asked at Somerton, "Do you want to go somewhere more private?" And then he is told he is being taken to where the Rainbow ends. He is standing between the two models at Victor's ball, Victor's aid coming to take him away, at the same moment that the black-feathered woman at Somerton asks to borrow Bill from the other woman who had proposed they go somewhere more private.

Bill is touching Mandy's face in the bathroom at the exact moment that Bill attempts to remove the black-feathered woman's mask, his hands reaching too aggressively to her face (which I always thought was a very odd move that made no sense to me, but it does make sense with the superimposition).

When he asks Mandy to open her eyes for him in Victor's bathroom, Bill is simultaneously returned to the great hall at Somerton and he realizes he's in trouble. While he is repeatingly telling Mandy to look at him (having observed she can see him), we have numerous close-up superimpositions of the various masks, which is suggestive of the many masks Bill wears.

Just after Bill has been told to remove his clothes, and the black-feathered woman interrupts, in the superimposition Victor asks if he can get some clothes on Mandy and get her out of there, and Bill tells him to keep her there another hour (16:57).

The hierophant tells Bill he is free as Alice realizes how drunk she is and pulls away from the Hungarian, saying she has to go.

When Alice is waking then telling her dream to Bill, she is also smoking weed with him in their bedroom, dressed in the same one piece body chemise in both scenes (this dream scene ends while the earlier bedroom scene continues on).

Bill asks her who she was dancing with (the Hungarian) as she describes in her dream the naval officer staring at her.

Jason hotel. "Did he leave a forwarding address?" Bill asks. At the same time Alice is telling about the Naval officer receiving a message and being called away.

Alice says she realizes the officer was gone at the same time Bill, at Rainbow Fashions, says he must have lost the mask.

The owner of Rainbow Fashions asks his daughter if she wants to say hello to Dr. Harford at the same time that Bill gets the Nathanson call and says Hello.

At shot 405 Rainbow fashions tears up Bill's deposits. With Alice, Bill says Lou Nathanson just died. I note the shot number as it is at shot 540 that Bill pulls out the torn newspaper article, the number for that shot doubled from shot 270 when he tears the $100 bill in half.

Bill arrives at the Nathanson residence and is let in by the maid at the same time his secretary/receptionist enters his office with his lunch so we've an overlapping of the two women.

At Somerton again, Bill looks up at the security camera looking down at him at the same time he looks down at Lou Nathanson's dead form and touches him.

The studying with the Carlos math books in the Harford dining room briefly overlaps with Carl Thomas, the math professor, arriving at Marian's after her father's death.

Bill calls Marian's from his office and Carl answers the phone, superimposed directly over Carl standing between Marian and Bill during the earlier visit as Bill says he's leaving. Bill exits the Nathanson's and hangs up the phone at the same time.

Bill sits down in Domino's kitchen with Domino at exactly the same time he sits with her roommate.

Can I offer you anything, a cup of coffee, said by Domino's roommate syncs with the waiter serving Blume in the movie Alice is watching.

Was that Mrs. Dr. Bill is said by Domino at the same time Bill and the bald man have their "meeting", Bill rushing to stand before the newsstand.

Bill has a beer at the Sonata at the same time he's at Sharky's.

At the hospital, Bill refers to Mandy as a patient about the same time he tells Nick that what brought him out that night was a patient.

Bill, at the Sonata, asks Nick, "What's the big mystery?" at the same time as he views the woman's body at the morgue.

Immediately after Nick gets his call at the Sonata, Bill gets the call from Victor as he leaves the hospital.

As Bill, in Victor's billiards room, tells Victor it was a terrific party, Nick tells Bill that everyone is always costumed and masked.

Victor says he didn't know how Bill got himself through the door as Bill enters Rainbow Fashions.

The superimposition of Bill tearing up the $100 bill with the cabbie at the same time Bill removes the torn newspaper article from his pocket at Victor's. And Victor takes the newspaper article as the cabbie takes the 1/2 of the $100 bill.

In part 2, when Bill is hiding the mask in the credenza in his office (which wasn't there earlier), he and Alice, entering Victor's party, are passing by a case pressed up against a door. So that Bill in the superimposition could be taken as putting the mask in the case.

As Alice is telling Bill about the naval officer who in her dream walked out of the woods and stared at her, the camera has turned to the Hungarian at Victor's party who is staring at Alice.

At 12:53 when Bill is asking the hotel clerk if he noticed anything unusual, in superimposition as he examines Mandy in Victor's bathroom he appears to be holding his own eye open at the hotel's registration desk.

At the same time that Bill is looking askance at the Japanese men leaving Rainbow Fashions (about to question why the owner didn't call the police), Victor is in his bathroom asking Bill to keep what happened to Mandy a secret, to not tell anyone, and he readily agrees.

At the ball, Alice is saying she has to go, and Bill is telling his receptionist to come in at his office. Strikingly, when Bill holds up his hand, so does Alice, to show her ring and that she's married.

Bill has just left Lisa and the office and arrived at Somerton (where he will receive a message) when in the overylay he exits the elevator into his office and says good morning to Lisa and gets his mail.

Alice opens the bandaid box and removes the weed at the same moment Bill opens the envelope at Somerton's gate and reads the message to him.

During their bedroom argument, Alice stands in the bathroom doorway and says because she's a beautiful woman that's the only reason any man wants to talk with her is to fuck with her, is that what he's saying? Superimposed over this is Bill, in his office, calling Marian on the phone. Back in the bedroom, Bill says he doesn't think it's quite that black and white as we see the black telephone in the bedroom, then the black telephone in the foyer at the Nathanson's. (In the opening of the film, the phone in the bedroom is white and changes to black in this scene.) Bill hangs up his black phone at the office as we are seeing again the black phone in the bedroom.

Bill is saying he would never lie to Alice or hurt her as he enters Domino's building the second time.

Alice's monologue about Bill examining the breasts of his female patients is followed by Bill fondling the breasts of Domino's roommate.

As the bald man following Bill walks away, Alice remarks, as to the naval officer, that she had woken up to find he was gone and she was relieved.

Bill gets the call telling him Lou is dead at the same time he opens his paper with "Lucky to be Alive" on the cover. "I'm going to have to go over there and show my face". Bill's face is superimposed over his own.

Bill enters the front revolving door of the hospital at the same time he enters the foyer to the Nathanson apt and approaches its door.

As Amanda's body is pulled out at the morgue, Bill advances to the death bed of Lou Nathanson and touches his head.

2900 words or 6 single-spaced pages. A 23 minute read at 130 wpm.

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