May 2000 Film Music CD Reviews Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Eyes Wide Shut    DVD D017991

The DVD to which I referred, not only has Kubrick's film in the ratio he proscribed so that you actually see more than you would have done in the theatres, but it contains interviews with Cruise and Kidman and Steven Spielberg. While Cruise mumbles, Kidman is articulate and clearly very moved by the untimely death of Kubrick. (He died soon after the film was completed). But it is the interview with Spielberg that is so revealing. Spielberg is quite open about the creative debt he owes to Kubrick and he reminds us of the great director's meticulousness and immense technical skills, so imaginatively deployed. Spielberg also reminds us of the richness of Kubrick's vision, that is only fully appreciated on repeated viewings of his films. Eyes Wide Shut, which was mauled by a number of critics, is no exception. This highly unusual film, I believe, will be fully appreciated in years to come as one of Kubrick's masterworks (granted a flawed one). The DVD sound also allows a maximum appreciation of the music - especially that chosen for the orgy scenes is most effective and chilling so too are those short stabbing solo piano chords. I am not so sure about the appropriateness of the Shostakovich Waltz 2 from his Jazz Suite.

Book comprising Screenplay and Arthur Schnitzler's "Traumnovelle"

Eyes Wide Shut A screenplay by Stanley Kubrick and Frederick Raphael and its inspiration  Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzle   Penguin Paperback 186 pages 

With the release of the DVD version of Kubrick's last film this little volume makes fascinating reading.

The inclusion of Arthur Schnitzler's Traumnovelle (Dream Story) is inspired. One can appreciate from the beauty of the writing and its vision, how Kubrick must have been drawn to it. It is a simple yet paradoxically complex story, almost a parable, of universal truths, of dreams and the tensions and pressures found in all relationships. Kubrick and Raphael have transferred and updated the action adding the detail of the drug-addicted hooker at the Ziegler's party and Ziegler's ultimate explanation of her demise and the circumstances of the orgy. Otherwise screenplay and short novella are remarkably similar. The inclusion of the screenplay of course allows one to appreciate its strengths and structure at leisure. The full credits list is included at the end of the screenplay including all the music, both original and source material. The review of the CD originally released last year to coincide with the theatrical release of the film, is reinstated below:-

CD Review Jocelyn POOK Eyes Wide Shut   OST    WARNER Sunset/ Reprise 9362-47450-2 [57:50]

If you remember his choice of music for his other films, you will not be surprised that Kubrick opted for a wide range of source music together with vivid and varied original music by Jocelyn Pook. Her contribution is limited to four remarkable cues. 'Naval Officer,' the subject of Nicole Kidman's erotic fantasies, is very interesting and technically accomplished writing for a modest string ensemble. It has a quality of spaciousness, vast sea vistas and rolling waves over deep waters - and loneliness. It is a highly evocative, polytonal, mini tone poem. 'The Dream' seems to be an extension of 'Naval Officer' with a high-pitched eerie tone and uncomfortable string glissandos that imply that this is not a pleasant or logical dream. It begins with a most uncomfortable chord that one recognises as the wiry humming noise one experiences in the head as one regains consciousness after a fainting spell. Extraordinary and disturbing. So, too, is 'Masked Ball' which introduces timps at the beginning of what sounds like an orchestral tuning up session, before a ghostly bass voice enters moaning in some arcane tongue to be joined by a tenor later with strings commenting darkly beneath. This is the music underscores the mysterious crimson-cloaked and masked figure that directs the ring of masked naked females out of the ring to their partners for the night in the Orgy scene and very effective it is too. 'Migrations' (composed by Jocelyn Pook and Harvey Brough), again for the orgy scenes, is a more exotic, strongly but insistent rhythmic, ethnic creation for colourful percussion, bass guitar and soprano with North African-type wailings from a tenor voice.

The source music. As for 2001, A Space Odyssey, Kubrick, chooses György Ligeti, but this time for some piano music called Musica Ricercata II (Mesto, rigido e cerimoniale). This is just a 'high-falutin' name for a collection of well-spaced, one-chord keyboard hammerings and what sounds like basic piano exercises but again, they are disturbingly and chillingly effective in the context of the film. Much more impressive (as music) is Shostakovich's Waltz 2 from his Jazz Suite played with sardonic élan by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Chailly. The other piece of classical source music is Liszt's Grey Clouds performed by Dominic Harlan (who also plays the Ligeti piece. There is also jazz from Chris Isaak - 'Baby did a bad thing,' plus the strict tempo of 'When I fall in love,' as performed by The Victor Silvester Orchestra and Duke Ellington's 'I Got it Bad' as performed by the Oscar Peterson Trio.

Other source music: 'If I had You,' performed by Roy Gerson; 'Stranger's in the Night,' performed by the Peter Hughes Orchestra; and 'Blame it on my youth' played by Brad Mehldau;

For Pook's music -


Ian Lace




Ian Lace

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