Eyes Wide Shut
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
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
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 -