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            Tom Cruise as Bill Harford, looking up in the circle during the centerpiece ceremony in Stanley Kubrick's final film "Eyes Wide Shut", 
            which has its tenth anniversary in July.  (Photo: Warner Brothers)

    An Interpretation of Stanley Kubrick's Final Film: Part One (of Three)

        By Omar P.L. Moore/   SHARE
        Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    Throughout the film there is a balance of the colors blue and red.  In every single scene -- and virtually every single shot of Stanley Kubrick's
         "Eyes Wide Shut" there is either something red or blue, or of both colors, in a shot.  Blue represents cold hard truth, while red represents
         several things: comfort, warmth, recognition, familiarity and danger.  (Note: In the American flag the color blue also represents truth.)  Much
         discussion about color in dreams has been had by legendary psychologists like Carl Jung, who deliberated heavily on the role of color in dreams,
         among those colors, blue and red.  "Eyes Wide Shut" -- the title itself refers to the mind's eye,  or one who walks around in a fog, ignorant to life's
         infinite possibilities or the sleeping dreamer whose eyes are closed but can see all manner of visions -- is based on Arthur Schnitzler's book  
(Dream Story).

         Opening Shot
         When Alice Harford (Nicole Kidman) undresses revealing her naked body we see two tennis racquets and a red curtain.  Can we assume that it is
         night, and that perhaps Alice is getting ready for bed?  In the film's third shot, when we first see Bill Harford (Tom Cruise), it is obviously a
         different night or moment in time, as golf clubs in a golfing bag are present, and not a pair of tennis racquets.  The red curtains are still there
         (it's the same room of course, and this time there is a blue light that certifies that it is nighttime.  Five minutes later when we first meet Victor
         Ziegler (Sydney Pollack) and Illona (Leslie Lowe) at the Zieglers' Christmas party, Victor mentions to Bill that "you ought to see my serve now",
         referring to tennis when speaking of the orthopedic doctor whom Bill refers him to. 

         The tennis racquets in the opening shot with Alice: could it be that Alice and Victor played tennis together at some point?  In the initial scene at
         the Christmas party note the way that Victor discreetly but clearly looks Alice up and down as he tells Bill and Alice to "go inside, have a drink
         and enjoy the party." 

         Are Alice and Victor having an affair?

         Alice escapes at the Zieglers' party
         Alice says she desperately needs to go to the bathroom -- this is just as Bill wants Alice to meet Nick Nightingale (Todd Field), the would-be doctor
         playing the piano.  Does Alice know Nick?  Is she afraid that Nick has recognized her from an infamous secret orgy party?  For those who have seen
         the film, Nick later mentions to Bill that he had previously played at the orgy parties blindfolded, and on some occasions the blindfold would come  
         undone, allowing him to see all manner of very attractive women naked or very close to it.  Was Alice one of those women that Nick saw at an orgy?

         Alice says to Bill that she wants to go to the bathroom, yet the instant she leaves Bill's side she chugs down a glass of champagne in one fell swoop,
         apparently relieved to get away.  Again, does she know Nick?  For Alice was it a close shave with Nick -- the near-meeting of him during the Zieglers'
         Christmas party?  She does say to Bill "who's that?", but is it because she really may have seen Nick in the past at an orgy party or because she
         really doesn't know Nick?  In any event, the drinking of more alcohol is inconsistent with someone who desperately needs to go to the bathroom.  
         There's no clue that she has in fact gone to the ladies' room.  (Not that we need to actually see it, but we don't know that she ever does.) 

         Can we then infer that Alice lied to Bill? 

         When Sandor Szavost (Sky Dumont) takes Alice's drink (another half-full glass of champagne) and then later says to Alice while dancing with her
         that "one of the charms of marriage is that deception is a necessity for both parties," we see that Sandor is wearing a dark blue ribbon on the lapel
         of his tuxedo.

         Is Sandor a cold hard truth teller or is this just idle chatter?

Red and blue are constant in "Eyes Wide Shut", with red in this scene meaning comfort and security for Bill (Tom Cruise) and blue in the same scene meaning cold hard truth, thought
              and revelation as dispensed by Alice (Nicole Kidman) during the pot-fueled scene where she and Bill discuss infidelity and men and womens' motivations for sex outside marital and
              other boundaries.  (Photos: Warner Brothers)

         Bill Is Summoned To Victor's Suite
         In Victor's suite on a wall there's a large painting of a naked woman lying prostrate on a red carpet with patterns.  The color of the carpet and the
         patterns strongly resemble the red curtain and patterns in Bill and Alice's home.  Is this a painting of Alice?  The woman in the picture doesn't
         look like Alice but her positioning in the painting is very similar to the positioning of the woman who is slumped in the deep red-burgundy
         armchair.  The woman (Abigail Good) has overdosed and Victor has obviously had sex with her.  She is lying unconscious.  She actually has brown
         hair but in the scene her hair looks red.  Is she a manifestation of Alice, who also has red hair?  And who's having the dream?

         After Bill has been flirting with and flirted to by two women at the Zieglers' Christmas party and Alice and Sandor dance, both Bill and Alice release  
         their sexual tensions about their respective potential extramarital opportunities at the Zieglers' party on each other.  We see this activity through
         a mirror in the Harfords' bedroom, with the camera closing in on Alice as she gives a look in the mirror, seemingly disaffected and disengaged as
         her husband Bill is kissing her, with Chris Isaak's song "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing" blaring over the scene.

         Is Alice the one who's done a bad bad thing?  Is she the one who is thinking about doing so?  Is Bill? 

         The metaphorical statement of adultery equaling the death of a marital or other significant relationship is constant throughout "Eyes Wide Shut".
         The famous pot-fueled "if you men only knew" bedroom argument between Bill and Alice about real and imagined adultery and Alice's admissions
         about flirting with adultery that ends with the notification that Lou Nathanson, a long-time family friend, has died -- an intervention via telephone -- 
         telephones are like alarm clocks in "Eyes Wide Shut", big wake-up calls momentarily shaking Bill from his trance-like hunger to experience
         what life is like on the other side of a committed relationship. 

         Bill Arrives At Lou Nathanson's Estate House
         With Lou lying dead in bed with a blue blanket covering him up to his neck, Bill talks with Marion (Marie Richardson), who is the daughter of Lou.
         Marion's hairstyle looks similar to Alice's.  Behind her is the blue light of night through a window as she suddenly breaks down and admits that she
         loves Bill and confesses that she doesn't want to go away with her boyfriend Carl (Thomas Gibson).  Again, the blue light of truth.  Within moments
         the doorbell (another metaphorical alarm clock) rings.  Carl, whose hairstyle slightly resembles Bill's, enters the bedroom.

         "Even if I'm never to see you again, I want at least to live near you," Marion frantically tells Bill, who is stunned.  "We barely know each other," Bill

         At this point, "Eyes Wide Shut" is at the 43-minute mark.

         Primal passions and yearnings between human beings.  More on this in part two.

         Related: "Eyes Wide Shut" has its tenth anniversary this summer

         Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  2009.  All Rights Reserved.

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