click here for FULL review by Bryan Adrian
observations by Bryan Adrian for the online HOLLYWOOD TATTLER, 1999, (plus minor updates)
I want to take a look at 4 instances where I believe the mastercut that Kubrick left behind just days before his sudden death, seems to have been tampered with in patterns that are as vivid as the stripes on a tiger's back -- I mean LITERALLY, quite a few amateurish inserts and re-edits -- that were done behind Stanley's back after his death! Also, I would like to quote a few passages from the hackneyed work of Arthur Schnitzler, so that even a child in a TARZAN movie audience or a Spielberg INDIANA JONES flick would come to the conclusion that Kubrick was merely toying with the Schnitzler work for his own deeper reasons, and most certainly not enthralled by its quality nor durability.
FOUR (4) HYPOTHETICAL LOCATIONS WHERE KUBRICK'S MASTER EDIT WAS TAMPERED WITH: [there is an ancient Greek word for this type of fooling around with an original and tampering with its intactness, called "GOETES," and I think it applies here]
Re: The 13 and-a-half minute billiard room scene between Tom Cruise and Sydney Pollack which took about three weeks of filming. Stanley Kubrick and director of photography Larry Smith tested out different film stocks and finally settled on one that had been discontinued by Kodak. As a courtesy, Kodak offered to supply as many rolls of this film as long as Kubrick was alive and which he would need for his project.
In one of the opening scenes, in a Mr. Ziegler's mansion, the Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman married couple are attendees of his party. It is glamorous. But before they go home, Bill, a physician, is called upstairs to help Mr. Ziegler out of a quandary. He has had sex with a supermodel, who nearly died after doing a speedball to get through sex with him. This young lady, whose full frontal nudity reminded me of some studio art courses I took in Life Drawing, had her life saved by Dr. Bill's ministrations. She later would be his savior, at a secret cult meeting that he had naively invaded. Look carefully at the end of this scene, when Cruise, Ziegler, and MANDY, are all in frame. Then, as will happen at least FOUR MORE TIMES throughout the film, if not more, the lighting changes in hue, as if newly inserted film footage were spliced in, and various original characters are yet again FAKED IN --- just like the ridiculously puritanical PAIR of black-robed partners that were digitally installed to MASK all the goings on at the orgy in the American edition.
Cinematographer Larry Smith says: "In U.S. prints of the film, digital figures were added—at the behest of the Motion Picture Association of America—to obscure the most explicit action in the orgy sequence. Asked for his opinion on this controversial edict, Smith says simply, “Naturally, I’d have preferred if [the MPAA] hadn’t required that, but Stanley had to comply in order to get an R rating. In Europe, the digital figures won’t be there. Personally, I don’t think it’s that big a deal, but European viewers will certainly see much more going on in those scenes!”
Continuity error or ....?: Dr. Harford talking to Victor Ziegler at pool table, position of cue and balls change and the chalk moves.
Boom mic visible: In the poolroom scene with Bill and Victor, you can see the boom reflected in the green light when Victor says "OK, he had a bruise on his face."
Trivia: Harvey Keitel originally played Victor Ziegler. Keitel left the production due to his obligations on another project.
Ziegler, in this particular scene just after Dr. Bill has successfully resurrected the near dead Mandy from her OD, he becomes DIGITAL, and wavers like a vibration, much like the image on your home player when you hit the Stop-Pause button, while a new Cruise snatch of dialogue seems to be here inserted " ... you're going to need some re-hab" he tells Mandy. Well! I have never ever seen a Kubrick film EVER, where he literally PREACHES!!! It takes no technical expert to see the difference between a Kubrick scene and some sort of a mind meld of a cabal that made a COUNTERFEIT add-in-scene done by some other IMBECILIC hands.
In my first viewing on Premiere night in Manhattan at a Broadway cinema, the Chris Isaak song BABY DID A BAD BAD THING [that had also been used in the Warner promotion trailer], somehow let the last THREE NOTES of the song bleed into the next scene, sloppily, early in the movie. Mysteriously, this aural atrocity was NOT in the version I saw one week later at a different cinema, in the East Village.
#3) The HIV Test Results Scene:
Dr. Bill returns to the big hearted prostitute Domino's shabby Village apartment. She is not there. Her colleague and roommate Sally is in. Cruise wants sex but she says no, it would be better that they should talk.
"There is something I think I should tell you. Why don't you have a seat ... [Domino] got the results of a blood test this morning and it was HIV positive."
AT THIS POINT the alarmingly different lighting and coloring are evident, a jerk of the editing flow, and Cruise, awash in an alien light that wasn't there before says, "I am very sorry to hear that." Sally, the hooker roommate, is suddenly a fuzzy and frozen digital figure that fills the corner of the scene as her image slightly waivers like a desert mirage in the Kalihari or on the plateaus of the Mongolian desert. Cruise then says, in the same botched insert, "... I think maybe I'd better be going." Whatever was changed and cut and inserted here at this point coincides with #1 in a mini-coverup of some sort, done by invisible hands after Stanley's demise.
When Ziegler and Dr. Bill confront one another near the end of the movie, over the death of MANDY the supermodel, and the attendance of Tom Cruise at the Temple Party, uninvited, Cruise asks [after Ziegler has told him that hired goons of the Temple hierarchy have been following Cruise, ordered by Ziegler himself, and reporting back to him]
BILL: "Was she the woman at the Party?"
ZIEGLER: "Yes she was."
BILL: "What kind of CHARADE ends with SOMEBODY turning up DEAD?"
ZIEGLER: " ... you've been WAY out of your depth for the last 24 hours ... you TOLD HER YOURSELF, REMEMBER?"
Ziegler is referring to the VERY same scene as depicted in hypothesis #1 above, in which Cruise told MANDY to "get some rehab." (in this scene there are disconcerting shifts in color & lighting which do not seem like Kubrick's professional uniformity of his vision in all his work) Ziegler is making it seem to the Cruise character Dr. Bill, and the audience, that she was doomed by her own character flaws to end up OD'd in a cheap hotel room at DAWN. My opinion is that something very critical to Kubrick's deeper message in this film were cut and bastardized and covered up, especially in the 3 related scenes i have here described, and, by nefarious studio hands.
Paradoxically, the story of Mandy's overdose had been reported in the "New York Post" in its early bird, earliest morning edition, on the very same day that a nurse at the hospital had officially declared Mandy dead at 3:45 PM, that is, much later in the afternoon. She was, for re-emphasis, pronounced dead at 3:45 pm IN THE AFTERNOON, according to the head nurse at the reception desk of the very same hospital where Cruise went in to have one last loving look at Mandy, naked of course, in the corpse cooler, in a strangely erotic Kubrick scene.
Kubrick used much extensive research on inimitable Masonic-like Temple ceremonies and rituals. This pursuit is to say at least, absolutely NOT for the weak of heart, and Kubrick must have completed his painstaking investigations, depending on nothing other for his support than on his rigorous sense of inner logic, and his penchant for research and analysis [Kubrick was in addition to being a movie master, also a chess master --- for those who didn't follow his playing career, he won competitions when he was only 17 --- of the highest chess order]. It could even be said that Kubrick gambled on his life by even making EYES WIDE SHUT, in a well calculated exit from the stage.
Kubrick's detailed research even led him to populate the walls of the bedroom of Dr. Bill's generous hooker, Domino, with THREE shamanistic MASKS -- they each looked like they were borrowed from the LOUVRE or the Met, even though her entire apartment contained only one lonely book, "Introduction to Sociology," propped up near her work bed.
A very special theory emailed to us here at our offices!: The MPAA was trying to cloak the naked women in EYES WIDE SHUT because they may have been menstruating [in the orgy scenes], rather than merely conceal their nudity due to our virtuous and puritanical mores here in the United States -- it is common knowledge that Temple rituals, going way back to Solomon's Temples, NEVER ALLOWED WITHIN THEIR WALLS a menstruating woman because this was strictly forbidden. So thanks MPAA, for guiding us through this protocol. Murderous longings and deeds, however, in violent imagery and action and sound, are peddled shamelessly to all ages by the MPAA throughout our corporate film kingdom.
The long emotionally explosive and terror revealing centerpiece of EYES WIDE SHUT are the ancient rituals TEMPLE sequence (here played out in a rich supermansion on Glen Cove, Long Island) in which a young statuesque woman named Mandy Curran (played by JULIENNE DAVIS], offers her soul as a replacement for Tom Cruise's character's condemned life, due to his unwitting stumble into a secret organization's most secret ceremonies by his learning of the password: "FIDELIO".
The nearly naked 'savioresse', portrayed as a fetching and robust woman quite unashamed of her corporeal existence, looms majestically like a state-fair red heifer prize winner, from a towering mansion balcony (this is no normal mansion), transporting the movie audience into a deep sense of compassion and concern when she bemoans dignantly:
"STOP! Let him go ... take ME ... I AM READY TO REDEEM HIM!"
[...] Dr. William [Bill] Harford (Tom Cruise), adroitly used the nostalgic notes of old friendship to coerce and manipulate Nick Nightengale, bar room pianist and former medical school classmate of Dr. Bill's [who over time had dropped out of med school], to reveal the deadly password to him that would allow him to enter the Glen Cove temple party. Nick knew the password because he was contracted to play the organ at the party, blindfolded. Dr. Bill says to Nick, "... there's no way on EARTH that you're NOT gonna take me to that masked ball!".
As a result of Dr. Bill's insatiable curiosity, Nick was never seen again after his playing of funereal organ pieces with his eyes wide shut, while blindfolded during the Temple party.
We learn in a later scene, that Nick had turned up very briefly, according to a helpful gay night clerk (Alan Cumming), at a posh Manhattan hotel, "bruised and scared" and accompanied by two very large guys from the Glen Cove Temple, who then extirpated him from the hotel at 5AM, never to be seen by human eyes again.
"He came in this morning about 4:30 AM, with 2 men ... BIG GUYS ... well dressed, well spoken ... but NOT the kind of guys you want to fool around with ... if you know what I mean," added the deskclerk in his reply to Dr. Bill's interrogation. Could the Alan Cumming character, the desk clerk, have been referring to some Kassideans, the ancient Guardians of King Solomon's Temple?
"Mr. Nightingale tried to pass ... an envelope to me ... but it wasn't allowed." Not even a farewell scribble was permitted.
Shortly after this scene illustrating Nick Nightengale's terminal hotel hour, we see Dr. Bill being seated in The Sonata Cafe, in the Village, in a warm and gemutlich Christmas atmosphere. He orders a cappuccino. The camera closes in on the headline of a metro section article he has just discovered in THE NEW YORK POST. "EX BEAUTY QUEEN HOTEL OVERDOSE ... her sister said she was still not totally satisfied with her career and hoped it would turn around."
Sardonically, Kubrick pulls his camera back and puts Dr. Bill fully in screen holding open the New York Post, with the HEADLINE of PAGE ONE facing outwards, where everyone in the world except Bill can read the giant caption "LUCKY TO BE ALIVE"!
The identity of the occult Red Cloak grand master figure at the former Rothschild mansion (played by Leon Vitali) is never revealed, but the actor’s real name is cited in the newspaper article about Mandy/Amanda’s death, stating: “After being hired for a series of magazine ads for London fashion designer Leon Vitali, rumors began circulating of an affair between the two. Soon after her hiring, Vitali empire insiders were reporting that their boss adored Curran — not for how she wore his stunning clothes in public, but for how she wowed him by taking them off in private, seductive solo performances."
Another Kubrickian clue, imbued with a droll sense of humor, is a very peculiar and very long red billiard table. Dr. Bill, drinking single malt scotch whiskey with his millionaire patient, Victor Ziegler, in his marquis-de-sade style home, learns that Ziegler is also a high standing member of this cultic Glen Cove closed society. The doctor and his patient compete for frame space with the very large billiard table [which could double as an altar]. We hear several interminable minutes of disturbing, occult, and menacing dialogue (between Tom Cruise and Sydney Pollack), in which the usual god-like authority of a doctor becomes quickly reversed into the hands of a sinister patient. One revelatory sample from this long and unforgettable dialogue (perhaps it is Kubrick's most masterfully filmed conversation of his entire career), comes when the Pollack character admonishes Cruise,
"... a bruise on his face is a HELL of a lot less than what he deserves! ... I was there at the HOUSE ... I saw everything that went on. I remembered seeing you with that PRICK Nick at my party. [...] Bill, suppose I told you that everything that happened ... the threats, the warnings, the last minute intervention ... what if I was to tell you it was staged, a charade, a FAKE." ["GOETES"]
We learn from their sparring verbal exchanges that the woman who offered her soul in exchange for Tom Cruise's character's life, was the same woman Mandy [JULIENNE DAVIS] who later turned up dead of a heroin overdose in a cheap hotel --- at nearly the same exact time that Tom's friend, Nick Nightingale, allegedly, "... went back to Seattle ... to bang Mrs. Nick," [where he had a wife and four sons].
To be honest, this reviewer doesn't think Nick ever made it out of New York State and back into his wife's loving arms, e.g, NOWHERE near Seattle. And as for Cruise and Kidman's final lines,
NICOLE: "There is something we need to do as soon as possible."
TOM: "What's that?"
Cutting this close to the bone, creepy, at the end of the movie in the toy store, their little daughter Helena Harford walks by a stack of large boxes of toys labeled in large letters, "Magic Circle", something used extensively in satanic rituals and witchcraft. In addition, the two diabolical characters seen at times lurking in the opening Ziegler party scene, are obliquely observed here again in the final scene, keeping their surveillance on the Harford family, and as the movie ends taking the little girl Helena away with them, while Bill and Alice are yabbering away about "forevermore" and "forever" and fucking.
IN A TOY STORE, last SCENE of Eyes Wide Open:
ALICE: "What do you think we should do? I think we should be grateful that we have survived through all of our adventures whether they were real or only a dream."
BILL: "Are you sure of that?"
ALICE: "... am I sure??? ... The important thing is we are awake now and hopefully for a LONG TIME to come."
ALICE: "Let's not use THAT word ... it frightens me."
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