THE KILLING -
A SHOT-BY-SHOT ANALYSIS
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).
LINKS TO SECTIONS OF THE ANALYSIS ON THIS PAGE:
The Academy of Chess and Checkers and Maurice, Tuesday 10:15 AM, Shots 98 through 115
The Academy of Chess and Checkers: Things to Note. Maurice/Nikki the Wrestler. Inspiration for the Chess and Checkers club. Kaddish. HAL and Maurice. Life is like a cup of tea. The mirror shot.
The Gun Range and Nikki, Tuesday, Shots 116 through 124
The Gun Range and Nikki: Things to Note. The flip of the targets. 504. Nikki in the book.
Joe Piano and the Violin Case, Tuesday, Shots 125 through 127
Joe Piano and the Violin Case: Things to Note. Joe Piano. The patzan and the patsy and Pagliaccio. In the bus. Comparing the three scenes of the cabins. 504. Have we an allusion to eavesdropping?
What Happens if We Remove the Narration for This Day?
98 MLS Johnny entering The Academy of Chess and Checkers, from within. (29:25)
NARRATOR: Three days later, at 10:15 on a Tuesday morning, Johnny Clay began the final preparations.
As Johnny enters, the camera pulling back, we realize that we've been watching him in reverse in a mirror.
THE DESK: You want somebody to play with?
JOHNNY: Un, no, thanks. I'm just looking for a friend.
99 MLS Men playing chess. (29:39)
MAURICE: 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...
PLAYER: Go away. Bother someone else. You don't know what you're talkin. He couldn't do that. You don't know what you're talkin!
MAURICE: Shut up, patsan. Make a move.
OPPOSING PLAYER: He's right. I could have won your rook.
MAURICE: Move, patsan!
PLAYER: Look, stop talking or I'll call Fisher. I can't think with all this noise.
JOHNNY: Good game, Maurice?
MAURICE: Johnny Clay, my old friend. How are you?
JOHNNY: Good to see you, Maurice. Been a long time, huh?
MAURICE: How long have you been out?
JOHNNY: Oh, not very long.
MAURICE: It was very difficult, no?
100 MS Maurice and Johnny sitting at a table. (30:15)
JOHNNY: Very difficult.
MAURICE: You have my sympathies, Johnny. You have not yet learned that in this life you have to be like everyone else. The perfect mediocrity.
101 MCU Johnny from Maurice's right. (30:24)
MAURICE: No better, no worse. Individuality is a monster...
102 MS Maurice from Johnny's left. (30:27)
MAURICE: ...and it must be strangled in its cradle to make our friends feel comfortable. You know, I often thought that the gangster and the artist are the same in the eyes of the masses. They're admired and hero-worshipped, but there is always present underlying wish to see them destroyed...
103 MCU Johnny from Maurice's right. (30:46)
MAURICE: ...at the peak of their glory.
JOHNNY: Yeah. Like the man said, "Life is like a glass of tea." Huh?
MAURICE: Oh, Johnny, my friend, you never were very bright, but I love you anyway.
JOHNNY (his face dropped a bit there at the remark he wasn't very bright, but he forges on): Huh, uh, how's life been treating you, Maurice?
104 MCU Maurice from Johnny's left. (31:03)
MAURICE: About the same as always. When I need some money, I go out and wrestle. But, mostly I'm up here, wasting my time playing chess.
105 MCU Johnny from Maurice's right. (31:12)
MAURICE: But, you know, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I didn't have this place to come to.
JOHNNY: Maurice, could you use $2500?
MAURICE: It has a pleasant ring to the ear. Quite musical. What is it for?
JOHNNY: For taking care of half a dozen private dicks. Racetrack cops. I want you to start a fight with the bartender at the track. The track cops will try to break it up. You keep them busy for as long as you can. Make them drag you out of the place. No gunplay, strictly a muscle job.
106 MCU Maurice from Johnny's left. (31:38)
MAURICE: Would it be out of order for me to ask for what it is that you are willing to pay such a price to see me demonstrate my talents? I would imagine it is for more than just your own personal entertainment.
107 MCU Johnny from Maurice's right. (31:49)
JOHNNY: $2500 is a lot of dough, Maurice. Part of it's for not asking questions.
108 MS Maurice from Johnny's left. (30:27)
MAURICE: That sounds not unreasonable. Still, I will probably go to jail, and jails I have found unpleasant. Food is very bad, company is poor...
109 MCU Johnny from Maurice's right. (32:03)
MAURICE: ...beds are too small.
JOHNNY: Ah, it'll only be a disorderly conduct charge. Maybe 60 days, nothing worse. And if a man has a little money to spread around in the right places, he can be quite comfortable for his stay.
110 MS Maurice from Johnny's left. (32:12)
MAURICE: I do not quite understand, Johnny. For what you want me to do, you could get any hoodlum for a hundred dollars.
JOHNNY: Yeah, I don't want any hoodlum.
111 MCU Johnny from Maurice's right. (32:19)
JOHNNY: I want a guy like you. Someone who's absolutely dependable. Who knows he's being well-paid to take a risk, and won't squawk if the going gets rough.
112 MCU Maurice from Johnny's left. (32:26)
MAURICE: I was thinking, if perhaps you can't work out some other arrangement...
113 MCU Johnny from Maurice's right. (32:30)
MAURICE: $2500 I like very much. But suppose I were willing to forego part of it and take a share in your, uh, enterprise instead. No?
JOHNNY: No. It's not mine to share up.
114 MS Maurice from Johnny's left. (32:42)
MAURICE (shaking hands): Very well, Johnny. Now, I sense there will be certain details to work out.
115 MS Johnny from Maurice's right and above. (32:46)
JOHNNY: Yeah. I'll buy you a cup of coffee. Huh?
In the book, the character of Maurice is quite different, a somewhat "effeminate" and skinny kid of about twenty-one who lives at home. Johnny goes to meet him there and they head down to a bar to discuss business. Johnny describes how Maurice is to be stationed at the racetrack's bar and that a "little riot" will begin near the end of the race. His job is to keep an eye on the main business door, then when Johnny exits it he is to melt into the crowd. If he sees someone following Johnny out the door he is to hit them, yell something like "look out he has a gun", start a distracting ruckus, and ensure Johnny gets a chance to escape.
Johnny then goes to meet a guy named Tex with whom he arranges to start a fight at the racetrack's bar with Mike, the bartender.
Kubrick has switched Maurice's job for Tex's. In the book, Maurice later goes to 42nd Street, walking east on it from Grand Central Station. He enters a building between Lexington and Third, where he meets with his lawyer. He tells him if he doesn't call him at 6:30 that evening he will be in jail and he wants him to get him out on bail as soon as possible.
Perhaps it's Maurice going to the lawyer's on 42nd Street that gave Kubrick the idea to hire, for this part, a wrestler/chess player he had met at the New York Chess and Checkers Club then located at 210 (W) 42nd Street. In a later scene, Maurice asks Fisher to call his lawyer if he is not back there by 6:30. He doesn't go to meet his lawyer as he does in the novel.
The New York Chess & Checker Club was run by a man named Fisher, for which reason the mention of calling Fisher over. Though the chess club scene was done on a flim set, Kubrick is referencing this real life club.
But why would Kubrick shift Maurice to having Tex's job, and give Maurice's original job to Marvin? Simply to subtract a minor character? Making things a little more interesting, the wrestler playing Maurice is Nicholas (called Nikki) "Kola" Kwariani, and one of the other minor characters is a man named Nikki. Thus the minor characters--Maurice and Tex--become, in a way, blended into Nikki the Wrestler, the philosopher chess player. Perhaps even Nikki, the marksman, is part of that blend.
Kubrick, in interviews, discussed the benefit of logic learned through chess, and the ability to sit in calm meditation as one considered and reconsidered one's options. Maurice carries with him this meditative aspect that Johnny lacks.
In the book, Maurice's last name was Cohen. The movie credits instead give Oboukhoff. Cohen brings to mind the Judaic temple priests, and I believe this has been retained also in the choice of Maurice presiding as a philosopher at the Chess and Checker Academy.
Bill Hook wrote of the New York Chess & Checker club:
...Yiddish was often spoken, and over the years I picked up a lot of words and phrases. An onlooker was called a kibitzer, for instance, and a poor player was a patzer. I actually got to the point where I evoked the opening phrase of the Kaddish (prayer for the dead) when my opponent had a busted position. Lest this seem like bad manners to you, it was in keeping with the tradition of 'coffee house chess,' as I came to learn.
It seems we have reached perhaps what is called a "busted position" in which you know you have ultimately lost the game, so Kaddish would have been appropriate, and perhaps also signals that Johnny, too, has already reached a busted position through his selection of George Peatty to be a part of his group. Sometimes people can slip out of a busted position (so I read), and after the disaster that befalls the group due Peatty, Johnny will later keep on the move, getting the busted (apropos) suitcase, making it to the airport, making it onto the tarmac, but then the loot flies out of the busted suitcase, and the game is over, he doesn't even try to get away. It's a hopeless situation. It was a hopeless situation, however, from the moment he selected Peatty.
Poole, in 2001, would have been in a "busted position" in his game with HAL when HAL, much like Maurice, points out that he had missed a move and will soon be checkmated though he doesn't see it yet.
Maurice says, "You missed a move. Knight to knight five, pawn takes knight, rook takes rook, queen to rook four, check. King to bishop..."
We can see on the board that one of the white knights is sitting at Knight 5. It may be in a position to be swept up by one of the black pawns. But I'm unable to see how a rook could take an opposing rook?
Is it possible that the pawn taking the knight is supposed to represent Nikki shooting Red Lightning, after which he immediately dies?
Moskowitz and Finkelstein were in a cafeteria, drinking tea. Moskowitz studied his cup and said with a sigh, "Ah, my friend, life is like a cup of tea." Finkelstein considered that for a moment and then said, "But why is life like a cup of tea?"And Moskowitz replied, "How should I know? Am I a philosopher?"
Maurice had been instructing the chess player on how he was playing like a patsan. Someone new/not very good. Then as a parallel to this he gives Johnny some advice, which Johnny shoots down with his tea joke. Maurice tells him he was never very bright, which Johnny ignores. But you know it also must sting, because Johnny has planned this amazing heist, which will be the stuff of legend if he pulls it off, and here is Maurice telling him he's not very smart.
In fact, Maurice and Johnny will be the only ones to come out alive, and if Maurice was paid all his money up front (he may have been paid half, as with Nikki), he will be the only one to see any profit off the heist.
I will discuss the artist/gangster portion of the conversation in the section when Johnny finds the keys to his luggage don't work.
When Johnny enters the chess club we believe we are seeing him directly, when instead we soon realize we are seeing his reflection in a mirror. But then it was already bizarre that "Academy of Chess and Checkers" would be printed on the inside of the door. That was enough to signal this would be a mirror shot and that if we were viewing Johnny directly we would have seen "Academy of Chess and Checkers" in reverse.
The mirror shot is more than just artistic. By way of it we could get into talking about Kubrick and his flipped shots, which are another representation of his interest in doubles.
Johnny next visits Nikki's gun range, and that scene also opens with a flip. Nikki's death occurs at 4:24 and I suspect that this is part of these flips and reversals. Revolutions. Remember that the chess club upon which this one is based is on 42nd street.
Kubrick used a straight on mirror shot in Killer's Kiss, so that, as with this scene, we believe we are watching Vincent directly when he receives the news Gloria is leaving, then he throws a glass after an intercut of twin clowns looking through a window at him, and it's when the mirror breaks we realize that we have been viewing his reflection in a mirror.
116 MLS 3 G-men targets. Gunfire. (32:50)
117 MS Nikki shooting. Johnny covers a dog's ears. When the shootings done, he takes the gun. (32:51)
118 MCU the center target. The camera pulls back up to show also the two men. (32:55)
NIKKI: It's beautiful, isn't it?
JOHNNY: Yeah, it's exactly what I wanted.
NIKKI: Yeah, pops, you could take care of a whole roomful of people with that gun. Maybe not kill them all, but then they wouldn't be good for anything afterwards.
JOHNNY: I knew you'd take care of it for me, Nikki. Say, uh, how long have you had this place?
NIKKI: Almost a year.
JOHNNY: Yeah, and it's picturesque enough. But there can't be much profit in it.
NIKKI: There isn't. But then there isn't much trouble either. What are you thinking about?
JOHNNY: A job. Your kind of job. A job with a rifle.
NIKKI: What kind of money, pops?
NIKKI: Who do I have to kill?
JOHNNY: A horse.
NIKKI: A horse.
JOHNNY: A four-legged horse.
NIKKI: And for that I get 5000.
JOHNNY: Well, for that and...
NIKKI: I figured there'd be a gimmick.
JOHNNY: Eh, the gimmick isn't as tough as you may think. You shoot the horse, and, if by any chance anything goes wrong, you don't squawk.
NIKKI: And all I gotta do is bump off a horse.
JOHNNY: Well, it's a special kind of a horse, Nick.
119 MCU Johnny from Nick's right. (33:46)
JOHNNY: For certain reasons, including your own protection in case anything happens, I'm not gonna give you the whole story, just your part of it. Next Saturday, the...
120 MS Nikki, beyond 2 of the G-men targets. (33:52)
JOHNNY: ...$100,000 handicap is being run. In the seventh race--that's the big race of the season--there's a certain horse running...
121 MCU Johnny from Nick's right. (33:57)
JOHNNY: ...he's one of the best three-year-olds to come along in the last 10 years. He's a big money winner and he won't pay even money because half the people out there are gonna be down on him. All right. There's a parking lot less than 300 feet...
122 MS Nikki, beyond 2 of the G-men targets. (33:52)
JOHNNY: ...from the northwest corner of the track. From a car parked in the southeast corner of that lot, you get a perfect view of the horses as they come around the far corner and start into the stretch.
123 MCU Johnny from Nick's right. (34:15)
JOHNNY: A man sitting in a car parked in that spot, using a high powered rifle with a telescopic sight, should be able to bring down any given horse with a single shot. And a man with your eye would hardly need a telescopic sight.
124 MS Nikki and Johnny beyond the targets. (34:24)
NIKKI: That horse is worth a quarter of a million bucks and you know the crowd would go completely nuts.
JOHNNY: So what? Let them go nuts. You can do it, Nick. You can do it easy. And you shouldn't have too much trouble getting away in the confusion. Red Lightning will undoubtedly be leading in the stretch because that's the way he runs. So, he goes down and a couple of other horses pile up on top of him. There'll be plenty of confusion. I can guarantee you that. Yeah. And there's one more thing. Suppose, by accident, you do get picked up. What've you done? You shot a horse. It isn't first-degree murder. In fact, it isn't even murder. In fact, I don't know what it is. But the chances are the best they could get you on would be inciting a riot or shooting horses out of season or something like that.
NIKKI: Well, you put it down because you make it sound real simple, you know, pops?
JOHNNY: $5000 for rubbing out a horse.
We hear a train and its horn.
NIKKI (briefly rubbing Johnny's jacket): Okay, pops, how do I get it?
JOHNNY: $2500 today. $2500 the day after the race.
NIKKI: Okay. Crazy. Now, tell me something. What's your angle, John? They'll probably call the race off, huh? And they won't pay off any of the bets. Come on.
JOHNNY: Maybe. But what my angle is is my business. And, Nikki, 5000 bucks is a lot of dough. And that's what I'm paying it for. So nobody has to know my business.
NIKKI: All right, John. I got no troubles with you. I'm with you.
Crossfade to shot 125.
Kubrick had opened up the Chess & Checkers Club section with what seemed to be a straight-on shot of Johnny, which we then realized was a mirrored shot. Below we see the mirrored shot, and then I give the flipped orientation of what we would have seen if we had been looking at Johnny directly.
Nikki is off-screen in shot 116 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. There is obviously a front and rear to the targets. They hang on a rope that runs along the back of them, and they are being shot at from the front.
In shot 118 the camera is close-up on the center target, and we think we are in the same orientation of shot 116. Then the camera pulls back and we view buildings in the background rather than farmland, and we see Johnny and Nikki standing beyond the targets. We believe now we are seeing from beyond the targets in shot 116. However, the targets are still facing the camera. They should have flipped in orientation to us but they haven't. Instead they have flipped in orientation to Nikki and Johnny's positions.
Johnny now seeing to his final preparations for the heist, pulling in the two men who are not part of the core team, Kubrick opens both the scenes with Maurice and Nikki with flipped imagery. Reversals. Oppositions.
The address of Marvin's apt building is 504.
When Maurice is describing the chess moves 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.
Here, we have 504 observed in the target.
Once again we have a flip, this time with the numbers. To the left of Nikki is the gangster target shows 504. To the right of Nikki the gangster shows 405.
One could clear a whole room out with that gun. Later, at Maurice's, the whole room will be cleared out with not Johnny's gun, which is never used to shoot anyone, but with Tiny and Val's guns, and George's as well. A heist of the heist is overseen by Val and goes terribly wrong with everyone being killed immediately but George.
What was it said in the book about Sherry? That after meeting Johnny she was surprised to find that in her imagination Johnny and Val have blended together. When Johnny's men hear the elevator, they run to the door, believing it's Johnny, but instead there is Val.
Nikki in the book? Nothing like Nikki in the movie except for the conversation. There is no farm. There is no puppy. Johnny finds Nikki at a billiard parlor and from there they go to Nikki's room in a motel where they discuss business and Johnny picks up the gun.
125 LS Johnny pulling up to a cabin motel. (35:24)
126 MS Johnny exits the car with a violin case. (35:35)
He greets a man who steps out of the Office.
JOHNNY: I'm looking for Joe Piano.
JOE: Who's looking for Joe?
JOHNNY: Patsy sent me.
JOHNNY: Patsy Gennelli?
JOE: Where did you see Patsy?
JOHNNY: Alcatraz. We roomed together. My name...
JOE: Don't tell me who you are. (Shaking hands.) What can I do for you?
JOHNNY: I want a place to stay for about a week. I won't be in it very much. I don't want it cleaned and I don't want anybody else in it except myself.
JOE: I think I can accommodate you. So, how's the boy?
JOHNNY: Eh, he's fine. He's doing it on his ear. He's the best pitcher they got up there.
JOE: Yeah, I know.
JOHNNY: He told me to tell you not to worry about him.
JOE: Yeah, he's doing the book, you know. I worry plenty.
JOHNNY: Well, he's a tough kid. Maybe he'll get a break.
JOE: Yeah, I know. Let's hope.
They've walked two cabins down from the Office cabin. Joe opens the door and hands him the key.
JOE: Here you are. I got another one. You don't have to worry about leaving anything in here. It'll be safe. I'm always over here. There'll be no maid service. You wanna leave anything in there?
JOHNNY (holding up the violin case): Just this, and another bag next week.
JOE: Don't you worry. Nobody will disturb them.
JOHNNY: All right, what will it be?
JOE: Oh, no. No charge. You said Patsy sent you.
JOHNNY: Sure he sent me, but he's a friend of mine. I'd feel better if I paid. Kind of a business arrangement, I can afford it.
JOE: Okay, then. It'll be $10 a week.
JOHNNY: All right.
JOE: I'll send the money in the butts to the boy. Thank you very much. Have a nice time, huh?
127 MLS from interior of cabin, Johnny entering and shutting the door. (36:44)
Johnny hangs up his extra jacket and puts the violin case in the dresser. He exits. Fade to black.
Themoviedistrict.com places this at 13340 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. Ted Evans' motorcycle shop was opposite at 13347.
First off, I love Tito Vuolo, who plays Joe Piano. Such natural mannerisms that are seamlessly employed. He's wonderful. Those hands!
There are certainly some differences from the book but not much to note. In the book, the action of which takes place in New York, Joe Piano's place is instead a rooming house rather than a motel composed of separate cabins. Oh, and there is no violin case concealing the gun. Instead it is in a suitcase.
We have already confronted the patzan at the chess club, which wasn't in the book, and in my opinion probably is also a play on Patsy, which was in the book.
Patsy, in the book, and in the movie, is supposedly a real person who has sent Johnny to Joe Piano. Perhaps he is a real person in the movie? But it's fuzzy. They roomed together in prison and Johnny talks about how Patsy is hoping for a big break. Just as Johnny is. He leaves money for Patsy with Joe but it may instead be that Patsy doesn't exist and this keeps Joe's hands clean, he never received any money from Johnny (it was for Patsy) and he doesn't even know Johnny's name. Just bringing up Patsy would let Joe know that Johnny's room is intended for nefarious means, so no questions and at the same time his room is to receive special attention so it's not disturbed. And, again, he was never even there. The man with no name.
A patsy is a fall guy. Someone who is deceived. The Online Etymology Dictionary says it's of uncertain origin but may be related to the Italizan pazzo, madman, or paccio, fool. Pacci must be related to Pagliacci, meaning clowns.
What of patzan/patzer? It's a poor or amateurish chess player and may come from the German patzer, bungler, patzen, to blunder. A related word is potchkie. "To putter, tinker; mess." It's given as coming from from Yiddish from the German patschen, meaning to splash, slap.
Bill Hook in Hooked on Chess, A Memoir assumes patzer is Yiddish.
The exact etymologies really don't matter. We have here a sonic relationship between patzan and Patsy. One describes a person who is intensely into the game of chess but regularly bungles his moves, making errors, while Patsy, a fall guy, is related to the idea of the fool. I'm assuming that the idea of the patsy Kubrick duplicated in the patzan.
And the book, really, I think makes it pretty clear that Patsy is a foil. In the book, Johnny and Joe Piano meet three times rather than twice and each time in the book Johnny gives Joe money for Patsy, leaving him a good bit the third time, after the heist.
Other transcriptions give Joe promising to send the money "in the bus" to the boy, Patsy. And it does sound like he may be saying that, but in the book he promises to send the money "in butts", meaning cigarettes.
In the book, Patsy is described as "doing it on his ear" then "doing the book on his ear". Johnny tells Joe that Patsy says not to worry and Joe says he worries plenty.
In the book, there is nothing about Patsy pitching.
As far as "doing the book on his ear", that's perhaps to be on record. In Johnny's case, in the novel, "on the books" is referred to only once, when he tells Marvin he is the only one "on the books" and he was never involved with any criminals so no one's likely to think he had anything to do with the heist. In the movie, "books" enters again in the 7 a.m. conversation when Johnny tells Marvin, the bookkeeper, that if anything goes wrong he'll be in the clear "except being short on your books, and I don't think they'll be too rough on you". To which Marvin says he's not worried about that.
The Oxford Reference dictionary says of the idiom "do on one's ear":
to accomplish something easily.
1926 K.S. Prichard Working Bullocks 85: Red could bring the logs in ‘on his ear,’ it was agreed. He was reckoned one of the best bullockies in the south-west. 1959 Baker Drum. 1968 G. Slatter Pagan Game (1969) 114: You'll beat Taueru without him. Do it on your ear.
So when it's said that he's doing it on his ear, meaning to do it easily so don't worry, the comeback of "he's doing the book" or "he's doing the book on his ear" and that this is reason for worry is bringing up the mistakes that put one on the book so, yes, one worries.
There are three scenes at the cabins. I'm going to briefly compare them here because of some differences.that caught my attention.
The above 2 screengrabs are from one continuous shot (125) of Johnny pulling up to the cabins for the first time. We can briefly see, in the first screengrab, that the two cabins he passes have screen doors. The cabin he is passing in his car in the top screengrab is the one that he will be rented. The bottom screengrab shows the cabin between his and the office and we see that it, too, has a screen door. A woman and man exit it as he drives up.
The above 3 screengrabs are from the next continuous shot (126) of Johnny getting out of his car, meeting the owner/manager and being shown to his cabin. We see in the top screengrab the same man and woman passing by him that we observe in shot 125, but in the previous shot, they has already passed by him and begun to round the corner of the office. Kubrick backs up a little to show them again, and I believe he is doing so to establish that what happens next in this shot is intentional, that it's not an error caused by shooting perhaps on different days. What happens next is we see, in the middle screengrab, that the cabin out of which this couple had emerged no longer has a screen door, it has been removed and we can see the hinges. The same has happened with the cabin that Johnny is renting. We see in the bottom screengrab that there is no screen door now.
The door of Johnny's cabin is painted darker than the cabin next the office, the panels of which appear to be white.
Johnny is next at the cabins at 8:15 Saturday morning.
In shot 149, above, we see the cabin next to the office has its screen door, as with in shot 125.
In shot 150, above, we see now that there is no screen door on the cabin next the office.
Continuing on with shot 150, above, Johnny's door has no screen door either? It looks like there is a screen door there, but he has the key out and is using it on the door, which would not happen with a screen door.
Johnny returns subsequent the robbery and we see how the other cabins have screen doors in the top screengrab. In the next screengrab he is passing his cabin door and we see it has the screen door. Both screengrabs are from shot 340.
Again, the above is a screengrab from shot 340. We see there is no screen door on the cabin next the office. So all the other cabins have screen doors but this one does not.
From shot 341, above, Johnny erroneously approaches and tries to unlock the door of the cabin next the office. No screen door.
From shot 341, above, Johnny then goes to his own cabin, which also has no screen door, seemingly, though it appears to have one. If it had a screen door he would have opened it and would not be using the key on it.
What this means, based on screengrabs from several different continuous shots, is that we have 3 versions of the cabins. In shot 125 all have the screen doors. In shot 149 we know the cabin next the office does, and presumably the others do as well, so shots 125 and 149 may be the same version.
In another version, the screen doors are absent on both the cabin next the office and Johnny's cabin (though hit looks like he has a screen door), and this version of the cabins is used three times (shots 126 and 150 and 341).
In yet another version, the only cabin missing the screen door is the one next the office (shot 340).
There may be actually 4 versions of the cabins, for in shot 150 we see a kind of shed structure(?) to the side of the first cabin beside the office that I don't believe we observe in any of the other shots, and it seems we should. So version 150 may be different from 126 and 341.
As far as location goes, that Kubrick chose a motel across from a motorcycle dealership advertising Ariel is significant as it takes us back to the dramatic influence The Tempest had on Fear and Desire, in which Ariel's song is twice quoted, once correctly but incorrectly paraphrased the first time. I've written of that extensively in the analysis on Fear and Desire and won't return to it at this moment, but the error made is important. Also, there's a chess scene in The Tempest that figures into it. I will approach these ideas again in the 4th section of this analysis.
Kubrick has been seemingly playing a little with numbers. In the Nikki segment, when in close-up on the targets, we saw 504 along with its reversal as 405. The address for Marvin's apartment is 504. When Maurice talks about the missed chance in the chess game the only numbers he uses are 5 and 4.
With the chess club we may have a discreet reference to 42, the chess club upon which this one was modeled being on 42nd street. In the chess club, we saw Johnny mirrored, Nikki will die at exactly 4:24.
We see numbers on the inside of the door in Johnny's motel room. 78 x 29 is written. Now what is 78 x 29 going to be but the size of the door. I wondered if perhaps that plays into he 2 missing screen doors and wondered what would happen if we multiplied 78 x 29 x 2 (as there are two missing doors). The sum happens to be 4524. Is that intentional or not? For in reverse it brings back in 42 and 54, the numbers we have been looking at in the two previous sections. But I think that's a bit of a stretch, actually. There are much more important things to consider.
Very briefly, only for an instant, we see a man outside the window. He steps into the frame as Johnny hides the violin, the camera panning right and immediately moving away from him. I can accept this as possibly an error, but...
Sherry had been caught eavesdropping at Marvin's. I don't think this is a reference to a literal eavesdropper, but I wonder if the idea of eavesdropping is being brought up again here, rather than this being just someone who wandered into view. The next time Johnny returns to the cabin, I'll discuss why. If it was anyone else but Kubrick, I would pay no attention and just assume, "Oh, look, a bystander got caught on camera." Of course, that may very well be what happened, someone just wandered into a shot where they weren't supposed to appear.
I don't know the source but I've read that the studio, in order to make the timeline clear for the audience, insisted that the narrative be added. True? Not true? I don't know. What happens if we remove it for this day? As with the previous Saturday, nothing happens. We know that it is a different day from the previous Saturday because of the bedtime scene that occurs with George and Sherry before Johnny goes to the chess club. As far as we know we have the linear portrayal of a day, no jumps. We don't need to know it's Tuesday. We don't need to know Johnny has begun the final preparations.
August 2014 transferred to html. Approx 6440 words or 13 single-spaced pages. A 49 minute read at 130 wpm.