Eyes Wide Shut (1999) Stanley Kubrick, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, & Alan Cumming


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Book Vs. Movie: Eyes Wide Shut
The 1999 Classic Stanley Kubrick Film Vs. The 1926 Short Story by Arthur Schnitzler
Do you know the password? The inside password? The Margos look at the 1999 Stanely Kubrick film Eyes Wide Shut, which was released after the director’s death in March and at the SAME time as The Blair Witch Project and is one of the most debated of his works. A sex drama about an impossibly beautiful couple (then married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman), the film explores the themes of marriage, fidelity, identity, consequences, and …masks? This is either one of the best films of Kubrick’s career or the dullest. Let’s get ready to discuss!
Having bought the rights to the German author Arthur Schnitzler’s novella Traumnovelle/Rhapsody: A Dream novel in 1968, Kubrick wanted to create a masterpiece about love, sex, and identity but often felt he was not ready to film the version in his mind. When he met Cruise and Kidman in 1996, he finally met his essential “Bill and Alice Hartford,” two extraordinarily beautiful people who can convey insecurity and lust. (He tried filming with Harvey Keitel and Jennifer Jason Leigh, but they both had to leave production when he took longer than they had time to commit to the project.) The shooting began officially in November 1996 in England as Kubrick (a Bronx native) moved there in the 1970s to avoid flying to any set.
It finally wrapped in June 1998, becoming one of (if not THE) longest film production of all time. Kubrick was able to show his final version before his death, and from there, we get controversies about how “final” this version was.
The 1925 original story is very close to the filmed adaptation about a couple who attend a masquerade ball and then confess/or deal with urges to confess infidelity. The masks, orgies, and walking around in a stressful state of being are similar to the 1999 film, as is much of the original dialogue.
Which did we like better, the 1926 novella and the 1999 film? You have to listen to find out!!
In this ep the Margos discuss:
The films of the late Stanley Kubrick and why Eyes Wide Shut was so controversial
Critic's reaction to the film (including Roger Eberts’s outburst at an Eyes Wide Shut critic’s screening)
The chemistry between the leads
The explicit sex scenes and nudity
What is this story really about?
The cast: Tom Cruise (Dr. William “Bill” Harford,) Nicole Kidman (Alice Hartford,) Sydney Pollack (Victor Ziegler,) Todd Field (Nick Nightingale,) Marie Richardson (Marion Nathanson,) Sky du Mont (Sandor Szavost,) Rade Serbedzijja (Milch,) Thomas Gibson (Carl,) Vinessa Shaw (Domino,) Fay Masterson (Sally,) Alan Cumming (Hotel Desk Clerk,) Leelee Sobieski (Milch’s daughter,) Julienne Davis (Mandy,) Madison Eginton (Helena,) Abigail Good and Gary Goba (naval officer.)
Clips used:
“What’s the second password?”
Eyes Wide Shut original 1999 trailer.
Dr. Bill and Alice, before the party
Bill & Alice flirting at the party
Alice confessors her secret Danish crush
Domino meets Dr. Bill
Alice has a bad dream
Alan Cumming!
Mr. Milliach, after the party
Dr. Bill and Alice at the end
Roger Ebert in 2000
Music by Jocelyn Pook and Chris Isaak Bad Bad Thing
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366 episodes