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EYES WIDE SHUT as a Christmas Movie
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This is not an overview of the entire film, which was reviewed and analyzed on this site but a consideration of an aspect of the work.

But first, EYES WIDE SHUT has become a Christmas Movie of sorts among the ‘sophisticated’ crowd. Some years back, I attended a packed art-house Christmas screening. Christmas is, of course, still a big deal, but much of the innocence and magic has been lost over the years due to both mass vulgarity(the Black Friday mob rampages at Walmart) and elite decadence(the rise of Queertianity). But then, Christmas magic has long been inseparable from commercialism festooned with ornaments and lights in anticipation of the ritual of gift-giving. For sure, the last thing on Ralphie’s mind in A CHRISTMAS STORY is the birth of Christ, an afterthought as well for his father who dreams of turkey.

What has become of Christmas(and Christianity in general) is somewhat akin to what became of pagan mythology to the Greco-Roman elites who found renewed interest only through satirical takes, like Ovid’s METAMORPHOSIS. If Muhammad later reimagined and rewrote the Judeo-Christian Narrative with utmost seriousness, Ovid and the educated elites of his time reinterpreted pagan narratives & traditions with irony. The current educated classes in the West reached a similar juncture in regards to Christmas. They see themselves as too hip, sophisticated, knowledgeable, and/or progressive to remain mired in the Old Faith and traditions(made even more problematic with all the Covid restrictions and paranoia), even though they can be utterly earnest in their blind devotion of Awesome Jews, Noble Negroes, and Holy Homos. Too educated for Jesus but can’t light enough candles for George Floyd and Anthony Fauci.

In the current climate, something like EYES WIDE SHUT allows the educated classes to keep with the (di)spirit of Christmas with a twist of the sardonic — orgy porgy and deck-the-whores — , though Kubrick’s last film isn’t a work of cynicism. Granted, the hoi polloi’s idea of a Christmas Movie often has little to do with Christmas. I caught SCARFACE with Al Pacino on Christmas day in a packed theater. For the more square, there is always METROPOLITAN by Whit Stillman.

Anyway, the particular scene I have in mind may be the first conjuration of the film’s title, “Eyes Wide Shut”. It is at the party of the super-rich Ziegler(Sydney Pollack) when Bill Harford(Tom Cruise) is summoned to a room upstairs where he finds a naked woman(Mandy) unconscious on a recliner, not quite Freud’s analytic couch. Ziegler explains to Harford that the woman took some hard drugs. She could as easily fall into death as climb back to consciousness. Even for a rich and connected big shot like Ziegler, death in his house, especially of a high-priced model(or call girl) at a Christmas Party, could be most inconvenient. He relies on Harford not only to treat the woman but keep it confidential. He treats Harford like a friend, even a pal. Of course, he’s in the situation to pay premium and dole out favors. Many of his ‘friends’ are surely high-priced servants, not so different in kind from the dazed woman on the recliner. To put it bluntly, whores, the lot of them.

Anyway, a fuller significance of the scene may be overlooked because the woman seems lifeless and inert, a total non-participant in the scene centered on Ziegler’s anxieties and Harford’s expertise. She just seems zonked out, neutral towards life and death. Yet, contra Ziegler’s troubled state of mind, she seems placid, perhaps drifting in a blissful dream-state. Still, Ziegler and Harford fill the foreground with movement and dialogue, and the woman figures into the scene only because Ziegler, who wants her up and gone, fears he has a death on his hands. Besides, the sheer physicality of her nudity makes us focus on her body than on her mind.

For this reason, we don’t give much thought to what she may have been feeling and ‘seeing’ in her inner-realm. Though her eyes are shut, she could be in a dream-state or on the edge of consciousness. There’s a line in James Dickey’s novel DELIVERANCE: “I lay awake all night in brilliant sleep.” Eyes closed to the outside world, eyes open to the inner-world. Such sensation is especially strong when one falls asleep against all efforts to remain awake. When I used to attend movies regularly 20 yrs ago, I would almost always slip into slumber for about 15-20 minutes. It could be a slow-paced Art Film or fast-paced action flick, but there I was, nodding off but also doing my best to remain awake. The result would be a state of mind where I was clearly asleep but my eyes felt open. I wasn’t watching the movie but, on some level, aware of it sd stimuli. So, while to an onlooker, I would have appeared as just someone who nodded off, something dramatic was happening as my mind, in a struggle between staying awake and falling sleep, compromised on ‘brilliant sleep’ where my eyes were closed but felt open.

To Harford and Ziegler, the woman is just a limp body slumped across the furniture, indeed unawares that she’s totally nude in the presence of a stranger, Harford. She doesn’t fit into the equation of what their world is really about. As far as Harford is concerned, Ziegler and he are on the same page whereas the woman is a disreputable creature, mere diversion on the side. Though Ziegler is far richer, Harford has the prestige of being a doctor, one of the most respected professions. Also, for all his wealth, Ziegler was stuck in a helpless situation and relied on Harford as expert and confidante. The two men belong, the woman does not, at least in Harford’s preferred perspective.

However, from Ziegler’s viewpoint, both Harford and the woman could be seen in the same category. He buys their services, they keep his secrets. In a way, Ziegler may regard Harford the bigger fool because Harford is deluded enough to think himself different from the woman. (He has yet to realize what Rachel does in BLADE RUNNER: “I’m not IN the business. I AM the business.”) At the very least, the woman has no illusions about what she is to Ziegler. She is a whore(like Rebecca De Mornay in RISKY BUSINESS; one saving grace of prostitution is its honesty). In a way, Harford is also Ziegler’s whore but is blinded by the prestige of his profession from seeing the true nature of their relationship. (Later at the secret orgy, he pretends to be one of ‘them’, but ‘they’ see him as belonging with the ‘others’, the whores. It’s like the character of BARRY LYNDON never quite belongs in the high society he strives to enter. Just about the only figures in Kubrick’s films who attain quasi-orgasmic unity with the beyond-the-infinite are Major Kong who hits his target and ecstatically ‘becomes death, destroyer of worlds’ in DR. STRANGELOVE, David Bowman who is reborn of himself into Star Child in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and Alex who not only regains but ascends into his earlier self as Valhalla in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE.)

Anyway, with the scene focused on Ziegler and Harford, the dazed woman outwardly remains a nonentity who hardly registers; even her nudity seems sterile, like part of the furniture itself; she might as well be a patient in the doctor’s office or a corpse in a morgue. Yet, what we overlook and miss of her state of mind comes to serve as a guiding apparition throughout the film. To Ziegler, the night was just a close call. Whew, she’s going to live after all. She’ll come to her senses and leave. For Harford, she’s either just another plaything of Ziegler or just another ‘patient’ he examined.

But what was going inside her mind? What was she ‘seeing’? Had she been fully awake when Harford arrived, she would likely have regarded him as just some good looker, one of Ziegler’s many associates. But in her druggy state of mind, perhaps a blend of blissful highs, sullen lows, mind-blowing ecstasy, and frightful anxiety — as certain drugs seem to have rollercoaster effect on users — , Bill Harford could have seemed more than a man, more than a doctor. Perhaps, her faint glimpses of him and his voice merged with her dream-state fantasies. He became like a hero, a white knight, a savior of her as damsel in distress. Of course, he has no way of knowing this, even truer of Ziegler. But from her perspective, the moment could been downright mythic. It’s sort of like the scene in A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, which began as Kubrick’s project before it was passed onto Steven Spielberg. When Monica activates the imprinting protocol on David the robot-boy, she can barely fathom the extent of the transformation about to take place in his ‘psyche’. She felt a growing affection towards David, but it could never compare with the ‘eternal’ love for her that’s been imprinted into David.

Likewise, what the woman feels about Bill Harford in that moment could be many times more potent than what he feels about her. For him a bit a sympathy, for her a full blown dream symphony. The moment may explain why she picked up on his identity right away at the secret ritual at the mansion. Perhaps, she remembered the scent of his cologne, made all the more alluring in her altered state. So, even though she is ultimately a hired whore and acted out her assigned part at the mansion, it might not have entirely been a put-on because of the possible ‘psychic’ connection with Harford in their first encounter.

Harford is happy to have resolved the issue for Ziegler who is relieved and expresses gratitude. But late in the evening the next day, Alice’s revelation fleshes out what the woman at Ziegler’s house may have been feeling in her drugged state. Alice too is under the influence of drugs, though far milder than whatever the woman was on. Still, the marijuana has lowered Alice’s inhibitions. A door to her subconscious or dream-state budges just a little, and strange emotions begin to emerge as she confesses her greatest love was for a naval officer whom she didn’t even know; she just caught a glimpse of him a few times. She felt something more than lust, an all-consuming passion for that man like he was god or something, indeed so much so that she was willing to give up everything, even Bill and her child, for a moment of bliss with him.

All these years with her, Billy never suspected such feelings could exist within her. But then, neither he, Ziegler, nor we the audience surmised anything about the drugged-out woman at the Christmas Party. Alice is a respectable wife, not a whore like the naked woman in Ziegler’s room, but the psyches of the two women are joined in myth. All these years, Alice seemed perfectly content with Bill, but her truest and deepest love has been for some man she doesn’t even know. (The camera’s caressing of Kidman’s nudity hints at the ‘whore’ in every woman. In the very first scene, she drops her dress and stands totally naked, even more so than the women at the orgy who at least have thongs upon de-robing. Kubrick insisted on a married couple for the two leads, and the logic is consistent with the film’s theme. The wife whose privacy belongs to one man is made the voyeuristic object for all the world. Wife is made a screen whore. Just like Harford was willing to do anything to enter the mansion, Cruise was willing to do anything to enter Kubrick’s realm.)

In a similar vein, even though the whore at Ziegler’s place may avail herself to any man who can meet her price, her dream-world is only for the one she loves. Even though the wife and the whore are socio-moral opposites, they have one thing in common. Both have accepted a compromised position in life. It’s rare that a woman(or a man) marries the person of one’s utmost desires. Most marriages are about finding some suitable mate. It’s like the Crosby, Stills, & Nash song that goes, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” While people would like to believe marriage is about love and fidelity whereas prostitution is about impersonal sex-for-money, most marriages are about settling for what is within one’s ‘market value’ as buyer and seller. It is partly about ‘business’, or deal-making. (Still, one might argue that the golden age of marriage was when society shifted from arranged marriages to free-choice marriage. In this period, pre-marital and extra-marital sex were still frowned upon or even severely punished. Love had nothing to do with arranged marriage, though couples in arranged marriages could come to love one another, and even though free-choice marriage rarely guaranteed a match with one’s dream beau, love still played an important role in one’s choice of partner. Love and Marriage went together in this period because sex outside marriage was disapproved of. Thus, love was ideally contained within the culture of marriage. But then, sexual liberation/disconnection happened, and it not only tolerated sexual licentiousness but encouraged libido gone wild and frowned upon sexual morality that was mocked as ‘abstinence’ or ‘repression’. Thereby, marriage was no longer the domain in which love was sought and explored. Rather, sex and pleasure were sought freely, and marriage became more of an aftermath, something to settle into only after one’s sexual market value was past its prime. In its golden age, marriage was about the marketing of fresh meat. After the sexual liberation/disconnection, marriage was about the marketing of stale meat past expiration date.)

Alice loves her husband Bill, but he is the man of her life, not of her dreams. It is love, not LOVE. In a way, she almost loves him like a child, even with an element of pity. She settled down with him because she thought he was the best she could do. Obviously, he’s quite a catch(as a handsome doctor), but maybe she always thought she could do better as she’s an attractive woman herself, and taller than him.
At any rate, she married him not just out of love but other considerations, and it’s the latter that makes marriage somewhat like prostitution where sexual services are rarely about love. It’s a living. The naked woman was with Ziegler because it’s a living. Alice is with Bill because it’s a living. Ziegler pays the woman, and Bill offers stability and security to Alice’s life. For sure, the woman can tell the difference between Ziegler and Bill. Ziegler is no looker. She offers sexual services to him only for money. If Ziegler were poor, she wouldn’t even have noticed him. She obviously notices that Bill Harford is much more attractive. Especially in her dazed dream-state, his presence may have been all the more irresistible, indeed akin to what the naval officer was for Alice.

Of course, Harford had no such inkling while hovering over the naked woman. Her dream remained her own. But upon listening to Alice’s pot-induced confession, Bill finds himself shrouded in the mist of female dream-psyche, not least because he too is under the influence of marijuana. And even though Alice’s unlocked secret doesn’t immediately make him think of the woman at Ziegler’s place, it sets off a series of happenstance that finally leads him to her and the mythic implications of what may have transpired between them at Ziegler’s place.

What was merely a medical routine on his part could have been like a fairytale for her, one where the prince revives the dying princess with a kiss. So, in a way, even though Bill’s nighttime journey is triggered by Alice’s confession, without which he would have remained his somewhat smug self, it was anticipated by what happened between him and the woman. In a way, that room in Ziegler’s house is comparable to Room 237 in THE SHINING. The source from which the haunting began.
And there are layers of secrecy and mystery, not because the room itself is anything special but because of what remained unsaid or unrealized. Harford didn’t tell Alice the details as to why he went missing at the party. Alice even surmised that Bill might have gone upstairs to a room to frolic in bed with the two sirens she saw him with. One side of Alice trusts her husband, but another side of her isn’t really sure. She also projects her own temptations onto him. At any rate, Alice almost surely never went anywhere near the room where Harford treated the naked woman. She doesn’t know such a room even exists.

But there’s another layer of mystery because even though Bill did enter the room, a private sanctum of Ziegler, he had no idea as to what may have been unfolding in the dream state of the woman. The mind/soul is the ultimate castle, the deepest source of power. Even the poorest and weakest man has something within him that cannot be pried open by the richest and most powerful forces in the world. The religious believe only God has the power to peer into the souls of men. That said, powerless people’s inner safes are of no consequence to the world. People are fascinated by what lies hidden in the hearts of powerful men.

Because rich and powerful men tend to house themselves in ostentatious mansions and work in elaborate buildings, one can fall under the illusion that the secret of power emanates from those very walls. It accounts for Harford’s tantalizing entry into the forbidden zone of the super-rich and their secret ways. And yet, that is merely a mirage. It’s Alex Jones’ idea of power, a bunch of super-rich guys getting together in some hidden cove and having orgies or playing at ritual sacrifice with goat blood. But, it’s all just a game, a kind of play.

The real castle of power is in the mind, something that is either locked or incomprehensible even when opened(as genius goes over the head of most people). Mansions and buildings are physical manifestations of mind power; they themselves are not the source of power. And yet, because people have come to associate power and wealth with physical objects, they fall into the fallacy of power resting within the walls. It’s like mistaking the church as the house of God when it is but a physical expression of one’s devotion to God.
This is where Judaism gained a huge advantage over paganism that affixed physical attributes to the gods who were believed to reside in some specific place. In contrast, the Jewish God is formless and cannot be visualized or ‘materialized’ into an entity. Thus, it can never take idolatrous form and be destroyed as such. When pagan temples were destroyed, the gods died within the ruins, just like National Socialism was really over with the destruction of its monuments. But the Roman destruction of the Jewish Temple hardly made a dent in the Jewish God. (Likewise, the construction of Camelot, however impressive it may be, cannot be the solution to mankind’s problems. And there is no actual Grail to cure Arthur’s sickness. Rather, the real secret lies in the hearts and minds. For all of Camelot’s grandeur, it becomes a hollow place once the knights within lose their ways. And the Round Table becomes just a table for feasting by errant warriors given to pleasure and vanity. Perceval realizes the Grail isn’t an object to be found on the outside but a truth, tragically forgotten, to be recovered from within, something which Arthur forgot: “You and the Land are one.”)

Thus, the notion of entering into the secret chamber of power is ultimately a tease in EYES WIDE SHUT. We do enter the realm of privilege(and fancy decadence) of the super-rich, but that’s not what and where the power is. Indeed, unbeknownst to Harford, the closest he comes to entering the Room of Power is near the end when he goes to visit Ziegler in the recreation/billiard room. There are no masks, tuxedos, weird music, naked models, strange rituals & orgies, and all that whacky stuff. There is just Ziegler putting the cards on the table and telling him how it is. Of course, Ziegler isn’t going to name the names or discuss the tricks of his wealth creation. That secret remains within his mind, locked safely away. But in the room, Harford realizes that power is at once more hidden and more mundane than anyone may realize. Some people got the power for whatever reason, but most people don’t. The ones with the power hold the cue sticks, and everyone else is a billiard ball. Still, for all the frightening things power can do, it is also ‘forgiving’ and amenable to compromise with those it can ‘reason’ with. Flexing the muscle is also flexible. In other words, it’s not the end of the world for the Power that some doe-eyed doctor crept into their secret lair and watched some silly put-on ritual, which was just a game for them. As long as Bill pretends nothing happened and just plays ball, everything’s cool and back to normal. Bill will likely go along but feels a bit queasy because there is within him something like a conscience. It’s like Tommy(Joe Pesci) and Jimmy(Robert DeNiro) in GOODFELLAS can pull off whatever they need to without batting an eye, but Henry, having a bit of softness and hesitation, can still be shocked by some of the violence. Jimmy takes the killing of Tommy especially hard not only because the latter was one of the few people he cared about but he Jimmy, of all people, let his guard down and didn’t see it coming. The ambusher got ambushed.

Bill Harford was deeply unsettled upon being subjected to his wife’s recollection of a man whom she still regards as the ideal hero/god of her dreams. So, no matter how intimate and passionate they were in bed making love, the ghostly figure of the naval officer was always there between them. He wasn’t aware, but his wife was. What his eyes were shut to, his wife’s eyes were open to. (It’s like Danny in THE SHINING can see things that his parents cannot.) And, very likely, the prostitute had other men in mind when having sex with men like Ziegler. To any such rich ‘dirty old man’, the act involves only himself and the woman. But the woman feels no attraction and may even feel revulsion about the man though she pretends to get into the act. It’s like Joe Buck thinking of his old girlfriend while some homosexual Jewish teenager sucks his dong in a movie theater in MIDNIGHT COWBOY.

Bill Harford is understandably unnerved by Alice’s confession. Obviously, he feels jealousy, but it’s not just about the man, who may be even better-looking than he is(and probably taller and more dashing, which he isn’t). But it’s also a psychological envy. Why hasn’t he ever felt that way about another woman, the woman of his hidden dreams? Whatever temptations he may have felt over the years, he never lost his mind over any of them. He’s been happily married to Alice and always assumed she felt the same way about him and their marriage. But it turns out she has a far richer dream life than he does. It’s like what a Catholic who never saw a miracle feels about a Catholic who has. “How come it happened to him but not to me?”
But there’s another layer to the envy. Not only does something in Bill hanker emotionally for what Alice has been secretly feeling all these years but he wants to be the kind of object of desire that the naval officer has become for Alice. There’s too much to process, and he finds himself in a confused state of mind. He was made privy to a secret/truth that usually remains locked and hidden from daily life. It’s something Alice should never have shared with Bill. But through her confession, he was allowed into a forbidden space where he discovered things that he wasn’t supposed to. In her normal state of mind, Alice never would have bared such secrets for their destabilizing effect on any relationship. Besides, Bill wasn’t looking to peer into her mind, rather confident of how she felt about love & marriage, and emotionally unprepared to react to the otherwise.

Perhaps, despite all their years of intimacy in love-making and conversation, it is the first time he really entered into her hidden space, her soul-mansion with its secret rituals of memory and myth-making. It could be that, on some subconscious level, his eagerness to sneak into the sex ritual of the super-rich is* as a surrogate of Alice’s deeper secrets. It’s like dream objectified. He might feel the questions raised by Alice’s reverie might be answered there. (He need not have bothered as she spills everything about her fantasies when he returns home and wakes her from a sexually charged dream that makes the orgy at the mansion look like kid-stuff.)

Of course, he’s foolish to think he could get away with it and is found out soon enough and humiliated by people at the mansion, much like he was earlier by Alice whose words made him feel like a little mouse. And yet, in an odd way, he does stumble upon what his subconscious was yearning for on that night. The night culminates with a woman who offers herself as sacrifice for Bill’s safe passage from there. Incredibly, there is this beautiful woman who feels such powerful attraction/love for Bill that she’s willing to give up everything, possibly even her life, for his sake… which recalls what Alice said about the naval officer, i.e. she was willing to give up everything for one night with him.
Later, when Bill connects the dots and suspects the dead woman in a news story is the very one who came to his rescue, he is deeply shaken, saddened but also moved and touched. Did a woman really love him that much?
Later, Ziegler pricks his bubble and tells him it was all just an act, and that she died of drug overdose(like what really happened with George Floyd), a mere accident. Indeed, she was none other than the whore Ziegler was screwing at the Christmas Party, the one Bill examined to see if she’d pull through. In a way, Bill’s bubble is indeed popped. And yet, that detail(of her being a junkie) makes the mythic connection between Bill and the woman even stronger because she was in a world of dreams when Bill spoke gently into her ears and slightly budged her eyes open. Her first encounter with Bill was as him as savior and dream-hero.

Power is both like the biggest reality and the biggest dream. Nothing changes the course of the real world like Power does. Consider how the world was turned upside down with this Covid Hysteria pushed by the Power. Even those who ignore power and just want to mind their own business eventually find themselves intruded upon by the Power. Power is all too real.
And yet, power is also like a dream because its ultimate manifestation is beyond the reach of most people(and even those within the domain of power struggle for it ceaselessly, like NFL teams for the Super Bowl). Most people never get their fingers on power, and even those who do gain possession find it most slippery and elusive. For all the monuments built to house or honor power, power itself is mercurial, ever flowing and shifting. In its fluid state, it can easily slip from one entity to another, like how it went from Anglos to Jews in the modern world. Those who try to keep the power by solidifying and locking it away may grow rigid and stagnant, like the Byzantine Empire and the Spanish Monarchy; power dynamics must flow freely to evolve and mutate into new possibilities.

For most people, power is a dream to be fantasized through superhero movies or the STAR WARS franchise with its theory of the Force. As they can never hold power themselves, they prefer power in the form of symbols, metaphors, or magic. Anyone can understand the significance of the Ring in J.R.R. Tolkien’s stories.
Furthermore, even as the powerless are fascinated with power and its fantasies, they embrace the pat conclusion that power is ultimately dangerous and shouldn’t be concentrated in any form. Thus, the Ring must be forsaken by all in THE LORD OF THE RINGS in order for harmony to be restored. But such moralism may be a rationalization, a coping mechanism to reassure the self that one, being conscientious, would reject great power even if it were offered to him. It feels better to be powerless by choice than by chance or mediocrity. It’s like the scene in SAY ANYTHING where a bunch of guys without girlfriends say it is really ‘by choice’.

‘By choice’. So, people tell themselves that they are happy with what(little) they have because they’re proud to be one of the ordinary people, the common man, and etc. It’s like a middling team is content to win just enough games for the season. But if possible, doesn’t every team want to win the championship? And if it were really within their grasp, don’t a lot of people really want the power, lots of it? Why else would superhero movies be so popular… and not just for children but for full-grown adults?

And there’s more than one kind of power. There is of course political and military power. There’s money power. Agenda-driven, such forms of power seek to gain control over others. But there is also the power of beauty. The nymphet in LOLITA has no desire to rule or control others. In many ways, she’s just another American teenager and has no agenda beyond youthful infatuations. And yet, something about her casts a powerful spell over Humbert Humbert. Likewise, the naval officer hardly did anything to gain Alice’s attention. But one look at him, and she was transfixed for life. Beauty is thus a passive kind of power. It attracts those who want to win and own it, like a trophy, even if it wishes for no such attraction, desire, reverence, and worship from others. Ginger(Sharon Stone) uses her sexual wiles in CASINO to get what she wants, but she has no desire to marry Ace Rothstein(Robert DeNiro). He is the one who wants to win and control her. But then, he couldn’t control his desire for her. He risks everything on her even though 99% of his waking hours is about the rational business of running casinos. The man who always goes for the surest bets makes the worst bet because of the power of beauty.

Beauty is something gazed at and admired, something that others desire to access and own. But the dynamics is seductive than transgressive. It tempts others to aggress towards it. Indeed, Bill Harford, a looker himself, can’t help casting spells on those who come in contact with him. His presence is seductive regardless of his intentions, like when the daughter of the dead man smothers him with kisses he didn’t expect or want. Beauty is like a drug. Drugs are mere chemicals, but consider their power over the junkies who gotta have their fix.

Whereas men like Ziegler possess willed power that is gained and used consciously, there is another kind of power that has hold over people on the mere basis of their attributes: beauty and enticement. Therefore, even as the super-rich in EYES WIDE SHUT buy, own, and exploit the objects of beauty, such as the naked women with exquisite bodies, they are also slaves to their desires. For all their smarts, drive, cunning, and ruthlessness, a big motivating factor in their competition is to gain access to beauty in arts, housing, and sex. Ziegler seems to be the kind of guy who, when not making money, lives for sexual pleasure.

It makes good pragmatic sense to be content with the limits of one’s abilities and the access they bring. Few people have the means to gain access to the best of everything. If everyone was always fixated on MORE and BETTER, he’d go crazy, like James Woods’ character in the cocaine movie THE BOOST. Still, there’s a difference between being realistic and convincing oneself that the less is the ideal. More often than not, it is self-deception. Consider this near-invariable truth. Some guy is married to some okay-looking woman. She ain’t ugly but no beauty queen either. The man tells himself that he met the love of his life and loves her forever, and there’s no way he would ditch her. But suppose he gets a lucky break in the movie or music industry and all these hot-looking babes flock around him. Chances are he will divorce the wife and go with the babes. It’s like the guy in THE WOLF OF WALL STREET dumping his okay-looking wife for a hot blonde upon attaining wealth that affords him just about whatever he wants.

This conflict between middling contentment and megalomania was also explored in THE SHINING where Jack Torrance is introduced as a modest family man but revealed to house a supersized ego within his soul. As a writer who creates his own universe in a place designed for the rich and famous(‘the very best’), his hidden ambition begins to emerge. Increasingly, the presence of his wife becomes a reminder of the inferiority he settled for. And he becomes resentful of his son who seems to possess superior innate abilities — it’s like Titan Cronus tried to devour his son Zeus, who was saved by his mother. Contempt for the wife, envy of the son.
Still, there’s a ‘schizomatic’ quality in Jack’s character throughout the movie. He seems to inhabit multiple planes of reality or emotionality. At times, he seems back to being the same old Jack, someone his wife can relate to. It’s as if he’s shifting between his reality as a modest man and his dream as the master deserving of the best, its unattainableness scapegoated onto his wife who, to him, is at times as irritating as Bill can be to Alice who sees and feels a bit deeper about the hidden dimensions of desire.

This is where Alice is somewhat savvier than Bill in her ‘wisdom’ about human nature. Bill tends to be square, eager to believe in the compromises of life as preferred ideals. Alice is like a high school senior listening to a pubescent boy scout reciting from a rulebook.
Alice’s first reaction is that of ridicule and derision as she falls to the floor in a fit of giggles when Bill says he has absolute trust in her as a good wife. Her second reaction, in the final scene, is more of resigned irritation, appreciative of his efforts to come to terms with her but still disdainful of platitudes as heartfelt truths.

The way Alice instinctively sees it, Bill and she became a pair because they were well-matched on in key areas: looks, educational attainment, and social status. They weren’t meant to be the perfect couple, he wasn’t meant just for her, and she wasn’t meant just for him. Things just turned out that way out of many other possibilities. In other words, their partnership was rolled of dice, not written in the stars. Also, even though both got better-than-most(as most people would love to have a spouse like Bill or Alice), neither got the very best, and thus, even their fancy marriage is a compromise, the acceptance of less than of the ultimate ideal. The difference is Alice senses this, especially after her eyes met those of a dashing naval officer, whereas Bill, in earnest boy-scout manner, happily convinced himself that he couldn’t ask for a better wife and surely his wife feels the same way about him.

First platitude:

Bill: “Well, I don’t know, Alice. Maybe because you’re my wife. Maybe because you’re the mother of my child…and I know you would never be unfaithful to me.”

Alice: “You are very, very sure of yourself, aren’t you?”

Bill: “No. I’m sure of you.”

Second platitude:

Bill: “Are you sure of that?”

Alice: “Am I sure? Only as sure as I am that the reality of one night, let alone that of a whole lifetime, can ever be the whole truth.”

Bill: “And no dream is ever just a dream.”

Alice: “The important thing is we’re awake now and hopefully for a long time to come.”

Bill: “Forever.”

Alice: “Forever?”

Bill: “Forever.”

Alice: “Let’s not use that word. You know? It frightens me.”

It’s been noted that the couple in the Arthur Schnitzler novel is Jewish, whereas the couple in Kubrick’s adaptation are seemingly Anglo-American or Wasp. Perhaps, Kubrick felt uncomfortable about putting Jewish characters in the forefront. Or, maybe it was a reflection of how times had changed. When Schnitzler wrote the novel, Jews were still social climbers, and vestiges of the old gentile aristocratic order were still around. But by the time of EYES WIDE SHUT, Jews were clearly on top, and if anything, Wasps were aspiring to gain entry into the Jewish-dominated world or eager to marry their children into Jewish families.

It’s like Kafka’s THE TRIAL and THE CASTLE, which once read like allegories of obstacles placed in front of Jews, now read like the manuals of how Jewish Power can drive the goyim crazy. Some speculated that THE SHINING is about the ‘genocide’ of the American Indians as the Overlook Hotel was built on Indian Burial Ground. Perhaps, but it could be Kubrick was also implying that the Wasps were facing extinction as a power. Thus, Overlook is a burial ground not only for the Indians but the Anglos. The hotel’s glory days were in the past, and it’s haunted by ghosts of Wasps who were once on top. And maybe these ghosts are working on Jack Torrance to bring out some Hitlerian juice in him. Maybe not.

 
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  1. Jesus Christ, how much unreadable shit can Unz publish in one week?

  2. meamjojo says:

    OK, I read about half of it and then skipped to the end. I have no idea what it all means or was meant to mean. Lucky bits are cheap I guess.

    How about writing something about the Covid TV MD’s that pop-up daily all over the MSM, whoring for the governments public health agencies/officials (CDC, FDA, Fauci, etc.). What is that all about? Do these people get paid for their TV appearances?

  3. Dumbo says:

    I wonder what Pauline Kael, who loved to hate Kubrick, would say of that movie?

    For me – interesting in some ways, but I wouldn’t watch it again. But then, I am not one of the greatest fans of Kubrick. Though I really liked 2001 and the first part of Full Metal Jacket at the time. This one left me somewhat cold. Although it does touch some elements of the modern psyche.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    , @Ray P
  4. anonymous[402] • Disclaimer says:

    Somebody needs to tell ‘Jung Freud’ that his putting MOVIE TITLES into ALL CAPS makes his articles UNPLEASANT to READ; he needs to learn to USE ‘Single Quote Marks’ INSTEAD … here is a PRO helpful STYLE TIP

  5. Pheasant says:

    Again another article that really needs an editor.

  6. A useful take on a difficult movie.

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  7. An interesting idea to make a list of offbeat Christmas movies. I’ve like them since I saw the old “We’re No Angels” with Humphery Bogart.

    The Ref

    The Ice Harvest

    And for some people, Die Hard

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  8. anonymous[305] • Disclaimer says:

    Priss, can you try to work with an editor to cut down on the length of your essays? This one didn’t read well.

  9. For me Eyes Wide Shut carries different connotations than it does for Jung-Freud. Jung-Freud is interested in what Kubrick is telling us about the protagonist, his wife and his friend. I’m more interested in what Kubrick is saying about society. We get a glimpse of our Society Sub Rosa.

    Produced, Directed and Screenplay written by Stanley Kubrick.

    Its release date was 1999 when Jeffery Epstein was running amuck Florida. A year later, Alex Jones would release his exposé: Dark Secrets Inside Bohemian Grove ( 2000)

    • Agree: Angharad, Traddles
    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  10. @Dumbo

    I wonder what Pauline Kael, who loved to hate Kubrick, would say of that movie?

    She liked his works up to DR. STRANGELOVE.

  11. @Si1ver1ock

    Jung-Freud is interested in what Kubrick is telling us about the protagonist, his wife and his friend. I’m more interested in what Kubrick is saying about society.

    But it’s all intertwined. Evenif one isn’t a prostitute or sex-slave but a doctor, what is one’s relation with the Power? In a way, aren’t all those people working for the Deep State nothing but prostitutes of the ruling elites who are really a bunch of gangstoids? Even the president is a hooker to Zion.

    And why are social orders so ‘degenerate’? Is it because evil systems exploit innocent pure-hearted souls? Or, is it because there’s something innate in people that drive them to such endeavors, thereby falling into the web of something like Epstein’s network? It takes two to tango. The groomer and the groomed(who likes to enter the world of privilege in exchange of ‘special’ services). So many evangelical preachers turned out to be ‘boing’. In a way, one reason Jews gained power over Wasps was with their more brazen approach to sexuality. Jews could claim that they are more honest and liberated about human nature whereas Wasps are repressed and tell lies to cover up what they’re really feeling.

    Alice is a loyal wife, not some hooker, but her fantasies suggest there’s something within her(or any woman) that could go there. We heard of the hooker with a heart of gold, but Alice is the golden girl with the heart of a hooker.

    And it’s significant that Bill and Alice have a daughter Helena(maybe an allusion to Helen of Troy). She seems an innocent girl, with sex and perversity the last thing on her mind. But what happens as her hormones begin to work on her and change her biochemistry and fill up her minds with the kinds of fantasies that have been plaguing(or blessing) Alice’s dream world?

    And given the permissive culture of today, it’s almost as if parents themselves are the groomers of their own kids. Parents expect their kids to grow up to debauched culture and idolize the likes of Miley Cyrus and Skankeesha. They see it as a rite of passage and expect their young ones to engage in sex at the earliest age possible. Pop culture dominates and convinced just about everyone since the 60s that rock-n-roll and pornified culture(even at Disney) should be at the center of their lives and their kids’ lives. Interesting that every disney kid star grows up to be a skankeroo. It’s almost as if it’s designed that way.

    Now, Alice and Bill seem more mindful of providing a fancier upbringing for Helena, but the culture from high and low isn’t about the old morality.

    Also, people like to erect barriers among their various interests and activities in life. So, even as Bill is conscientious about being a good husband and father, he goes off to obtain costumes to enter some secret orgy ritual. He relies on the services of Milich who discovers his daughter cavorting with two pervy Japanese men. Milich seems outraged as a father, which Bill understands… but then, what kind of father would have raised a daughter in that manner, and how come Milich knows the two pervy Asian men? Next day when Bill returns the costumes, he discovers Milich has come to an understanding with the pervy men in regards to his daughter. Bill is flustered, understandably so. But then, who is he to judge when he called on Milich’s services to gain entry into an orgy? Granted, he didn’t take part in the kinky stuff at the orgy, but he still wanted to watch… though, in a way, he ends up as the only ‘naked’ person there because he is the only one who bares his face whereas even the naked women and men have their faces covered.

    So, the personal and the social are interwoven in Kubrick’s films. There is Bill and Helena, what seems like ideal father and son relationship. But at the next level of relationship, there is Milich and his daughter. Milich still seems protective of his daughter but also open to bargaining her services to a certain clientele. And then, there is the patriarchal overlord in red cloak and the naked women at the mansion. No real father in sight, but those women also were children once with parents. What happened to them? Could Helena become someone like Milich’s daughter or even one of those women at the orgy? Even if probably not, would her fantasies be filled with such stuff, which would make her a whore at heart at least. All those prostitutes were once young ‘innocent’ girls like Helena. What happened that made them go ‘that’ way while other women stay on ‘this’ side of town? And if Bill is a respectable person, why is he so nonchalantly okay with doing service calls for a man like Ziegler who obviously uses his money to exploit women who, however, may prefer being ‘exploited’ to working as a waitress for tips. After all, beauty is a rare quality, something for which the world is willing to pay premium. Also, beauty is at once elitist and democratic. Only a relative few are truly beautiful, but beauty can exist among the poor as among the middle and the rich… while the rich can be ugly as hell for all their skills and money.

    • Replies: @Si1ver1ock
  12. Jidvei says:

    The “Judeo-Christian Narrative”? What the heck is that?

  13. The “Judeo-Christian Narrative”? What the heck is that?

    Muhammad conceived of the Jewish and Christian narratives as one one continuous flow and reimagined them.

  14. @Priss Factor

    And why are social orders so ‘degenerate’? Is it because evil systems exploit innocent pure-hearted souls?

    In this case, what we are looking at is (most likely ) a depiction of Luciferianism. It’s a secret society or a “society within a society.” It represents a different ethos, separate and in some ways antithetical to Christianity.

    You might call it a “naked power philosophy.” There is no Soul, no God, no afterlife. Man is an animal just like any other animal with ” No Hell below us; Above us only sky.”

    Kubrick is telling people “Your society isn’t what you think it is. It’s far, far different.”

    Luciferians seek worldly power as opposed to Satanists and Christians who seek a “Higher” power. Some would say it’s like Nietzsche or Machiavelli, but it goes back much, much further than that.

    Bill Harford and his wife are being confronted with a philosophy and ethos outside their jejune Judeo-Christian values and it’s not coming from social degenerates.

    It’s coming from their social betters.

  15. My single complaint is that you reference much too many other movies, and it is much too often not really needed referencing.

    I can relate with the half-woken half-asleep state you wrote about; and there’s something very pleasurable to that state — what’s unpleasant about it is, though, one looks laughable to outside watchers (who know nothing of such a state from personal experience, which ensures there won’t be any comprehension from them).

    There is no arguing that Kubrick is a elite director. However, I wonder whether you are familiar with film deeper than American (or Jewish-American), that is, early 20th century European movies, and Russian and Japanese movies.

    Von Dryer, Tarkovsky, Mizoguchi, Kurosawa, even Takeshi Kitano sometimes (Dolls is a masterwork), … as for USA film, I’d say Todd Haynes, and David Lynch (Poison, Mulholland Drive, …).

    Freud would be better replaced with Hillman.

    I don’t think we, or Bill in the movie, may be certain that the woman actually died of drug overdose. Maybe even Kubrick doesn’t know ;).

  16. Can’t wait to hear “Priss Factory” opine on this one. LOL

    Stay weird, Tony.

  17. @Sue Dunham

    We are in a bold experiment to see how many.

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @Sue Dunham
  18. @Si1ver1ock

    MOTHMAN PROPHECIES
    THE GODFATHER
    DOCTOR ZHIVAGO
    EMPIRE OF THE SUN
    THE LAST EMPEROR
    MR. ARKADIN
    HAROLD AND MAUDE
    FANNY AND ALEXANDER
    MEET JOHN DOE
    MRS. SOFFEL
    RUNAWAY TRAIN
    MERRY CHRISTMAS MR LAWRENCE
    MAKIOKA SISTERS
    GORKY PARK
    DINER

    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
  19. It is interesting that in the novel the married couple is Jewish and everyone else is not. In the movie, the couple is non-Jewish while everyone involved in the orgies seem to be Jewish. Was this deliberate or not? Seems like a major rewriting of the novel.

  20. @Priss Factor

    Oh please, we all know you wrote this dreck. May I suggest leading one of your 8000 word screeds with a thesis.

    • Agree: Jim Christian, utu
    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  21. Right_On says:

    Julienne Davis, the actress who played Mandy, the junkie whore, is half Sioux.
    When filming Eyes Wide Shut, she became enamored of the London club scene so stayed on in the UK, becoming part of the in-crowd. Years later, having becoming disillusioned with that lifestyle, she now regrets not having raised children of her own.

    Davis blames feminist indoctrination and has come out as a conservative convert – much to the chagrin of her former associates – and is a regular contributor to right-wing stations.

  22. @Count Pete

    A difficult take on a useful movie. I believe the gent who wrote this rambling article comments regularly on this site using the handle Priss Factor. His comments usually ran over 500 words but were concise and knowledgeable about film. He needs an editor his articles.

  23. @Priss Factor

    Hey Priss. I usually read your comments, finding them curious and inventive when it comes to film. But you’d do yourself a favor if you trimmed the fat on your articles.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  24. @Sue Dunham

    “I don’t know what the artist got for this piece, but if you ask me, he should have gotten life”.

    Fred Flintstone, 1966.

    Speaking of life, I want that 15 minutes of my life back.

  25. @Sue Dunham

    Actually sue, I was going to suggest Priss and JFreud (the author in case you forgot) getting a room. Can you imagine the streams of sweet nothings between them?

    Naw, I like Priss ok, I think he may have had a scotch in one hand, a cigar in another. The author of the review, HE’s trippin on acid.

  26. Ray P says:
    @Dumbo

    Here is what Kael said in a 1999 interview:

    Cineaste: In your critique of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, you wrote that Kubrick is “a clean-minded pornographer that the film’s sex “has no sensuality,” and its characters are “frigidly, pedantically calculated.” Isn’t much of that critique also applicable to Eyes Wide Shut?

    Kael: Yes, the two movies have a spirit in common. The big difference is that A Clockwork Orange got to audiences. It works. While Eyes Wide Shut is a lousy movie. A Clockwork Orange is lousy in its attitudes and its thinking. Sometimes I hate a movie more when it works. The thuggishness of Clockwork is comparable to that of some of the Nazi films that worked. Eyes Wide Shut can be ignored. Scene by scene it’s a howl.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  27. @Ray P

    But ACO wasn’t to be sensual.

    Kael liked UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BLING. Now, that was dumb.

  28. It’s something Alice should never have shared with Bill.

    Nice of you to eventually notice, lol.

    Obviously, that is something only a royal bitch would tell her husband. What prompted it? They’ve been stoned together before, so that alone can’t be it. I think her resentment had been building, and two related incidents at the Christmas party tipped her over the edge.

    The key scene, which you completely skip over, is her encounter with Sandor, the handsome, grey-haired, silver-tongued Hungarian charmer. She’s clearly intrigued by him. When he asks her who she’s there with, she hesitates before opting for cautiousness and playfully answering “my husband.” When he suggests that her husband surely wouldn’t mind if they danced, it’s easy to imagine her thinking “if that little dork complains, I’ll tell him it’s Christmas, it’s a party, I’m drunk, I’m alone, I don’t know anyone here, and accuse of him being jealous, that should shut him up.” And so they dance, and Sandor pours on the charm.

    And gets her thinking. After he catches her staring at her husband while he’s talking to the two models and asks her if it’s someone she knows, Alice hesitates even longer before saying “myyyyy… husband…” Sandor smells blood and moves in for the kill: “Don’t you think one of the charms of marriage is that it makes deception necessary for both parties?” “May I ask why a woman a beautiful woman, who could have any man in this room, wants to be married?” “You know why women used to get married? So they could lose their virginity, and be free to do things with other men, the ones they really wanted.” He brings her this close to going upstairs with him, but she catches herself at the last and reluctantly backs out, refusing his wish to see her again with “…because… I’m married,” almost rolling her eyes as she says those words. What a drag this whole marriage business is, but eh, duty is duty. And perhaps there’s her little daughter to think of too.

    It’s been playing on her mind ever since, and this is the context in which she brings up the two models she spied her husband talking to. Had it not been for Sandor, she might have let the models thing slide. She knows her husband, she knows he probably wouldn’t do anything. And we too catch a glimpse of what he’s like. What a contrast his dorky repartee with the models – “how do you spell ‘Luala’?” lol – compared to Sandor’s suave seduction of Alice. But she’s not entirely sure that he didn’t cheat – dork that he is, he’s still good-looking, and plenty of women would fuck him for that alone. So she turns down a stud like Sandor in order to remain faithful while this… little faggot was getting his rocks off with two models? Intolerable! And it only annoys her more when he plays dumb, with even the truth that he was taking care of some Ziegler business sounding like yet more bullshit.

    This is the only way in which her pretext for causing a scene makes sense. “Are you saying the only reason a man would want to talk to me is because he wants to fuck me?” Come off it, that’s an “argument” only a femmtard sociology major would ever attempt. Alice has been around the block. She knows perfectly well that even if it’s not the only reason a man would talk to her, it’s obviously the major one, and certainly the reason Sandor approached her. But she’s really regretting not fucking Sandor now. That’s the second time (that we know of) she’s turned down a hot fuck for the sake of this dweeb husband – who may well have cheated on her – and now she’s gonna let him have it, and any half-baked excuse will do. It’s not clear that she intended to spill the beans about the naval officer from the outset, but by the time their spat creates an opening for it, she’s ready to tell all.

    • Replies: @Jung Freud
  29. Harford has the prestige of being a doctor, one of the most respected professions….

    Not any more.

  30. It’s like Kafka’s THE TRIAL and THE CASTLE, which once read like allegories of obstacles placed in front of Jews, now read like the manuals of how Jewish Power can drive the goyim crazy.

    I’m really not sure how you would interpret anything related to Jewish power from The Castle.

    It is really about an idealistic individual going against a bureaucratic government that has lost all sense of morality.

    Kafka was Jewish but felt like an outsider to everyone.

  31. I’m really not sure how you would interpret anything related to Jewish power from The Castle. It is really about an idealistic individual going against a bureaucratic government that has lost all sense of morality.

    How is he idealistic? He has a job to do, but it seems, subconsciously at least, his real wish is to enter the castle, and the people within are repulsed by what he IS than what he’s there to do. HE doesn’t belong.

  32. SafeNow says:

    Roger Ebert wrote that the movie takes place at Christmas time in order to utilize Christmas lights; to impart an emotional feeling through a style that is high-contrast, garish, and grainy. And that’s the “Christmas-movie” aspect.

  33. Alice loves her husband Bill, but he is the man of her life, not of her dreams. It is love, not LOVE. In a way, she almost loves him like a child, with a mix of pity. She settled down with him because she thought he was the best she could do. Obviously, he’s quite a catch(as a handsome doctor), but maybe she always thought she could do better as she’s an attractive woman herself, and taller than him.

    I’m glad your brought this up because this is one of the few movies where Tom Cruise is not depicted as average height. Usually they pair him with a much smaller woman to make him look bigger.

    What I think Kubrick is doing is showing that there is always the potential for greed. Alice has landed a catch but maybe she could have landed an upper class man that is also taller than her. This is the type of greed that breaks up relationships and leaves both men and women in regret. They switch to the taller man or the woman with more curves and then realize that the new fling leaves even more to be desired.

  34. @silviosilver

    Nice of you to eventually notice, lol.

    The thing is, she had to get it off her chest. It was therapeutic to finally release what she held in for so long. It was relieving, but she didn’t ponder the impact it may have on him. (Male psychology can be fragile, like when the guy just can’t handle Tess’s confession in the Hardy novel, which I haven’t read, and Polanski’s film.) She knew he might be upset but had no inkling of the chain reaction set off within him, something that would haunt him day-and-night and make him do things he normally wouldn’t, upending the very foundation of their relationship. Even if they stay together(probably), no matter how things return to normal, there’s no going back to how things were, just like virginity can’t be regained once lost. It’s a bad thing but also good thing because they’re wiser and weathered a storm together. At the very least, there was nothing about her kissing a Negro. That would come later after Kidman divorced Cruise and shacked up with Lenny Kravitz the Jewgro for awhile. And later idiot Cruise lost Katie Whoozits to Jamie Foxx. If the biggest white movie star can’t keep his women from going with Negroes, maybe the white race really is doomed.

    Obviously, that is something only a royal bitch would tell her husband.

    But she’s not a royal bitch, at least not normally. Her inner-royal bitch emerged that night, but there is probably a royal bitch in every woman(and a royal son-of-a-bitch in every man). In his fantasy, every guy wants to be top honcho, which may explain all the ‘niggaz’ and ‘whiggaz’. It’s like blue-collar guys look up to Donald Trump with his mansions and voluptuous ho’s. And even though most women end up with ‘dorks’ or beta-male types, they really want some alpha guy who makes her feel real special. Even modern women read ‘romance novels’ which are really fantasies about bare-chested Fabio making the reader feel like a real woman and beating up all the other guys.

    One part of woman nature is nurturing and motherly. Even Fonz in HAPPY DAYS knows this and shows Richie Cunningham how to pick up chicks by acting all hurt and vulnerable; it brings out their mothering nature. Woman’s nature wants to take care of children. It’s like the nurse falling in love with the wounded guy in FAREWELL TO ARMS. Still, a nurse is drawn to wounded soldiers because they are tough alphas fallen in combat. It’s like a wounded athlete is still hot stuff.
    So, that part of Alice’s woman nature remains intact with Bill. She still cares about him and adores him like a child. It’s the affectionate mothering side of female nature. But in order for a woman to have children, she must first have sex, which is about f***king than affection. It’s not the motherly side that emerges when a woman is in heat. She goes into whore mode and wants a man who can totally dominate her, like bare-chested Fabio in all those romance novels or that fella in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.
    It’s like in THE WHITE SHEIK where a woman feels affection for her dorky fiance but dreams of the fantasy lover. She has to come near this fantasy and be burned(and see it for the half-baked sham that it is)before returning to the dork fiance who she comes to appreciate.

    And in HAWAII, Julie Andrew’s Jerusha feels motherly affection for her husband the missionary(Max von Sydow earnestly exorcising the island natives of their hulahoop ways) but feels womanly desire for some dashing whaling captain(Richard Harris who laments his loss of her hand like the cake in MacArthur’s Park).
    Of course, Alice knows it’s not Bill’s fault that he falls short of her ultimate dream(but then, this never would have bothered her if she hadn’t caught a glimpse of the naval officer). She knows life is like the Stones song, “You can’t always get what you want”, but her feelings for the naval officer were such that it feels like a cosmic injustice to be chained to Bill for the rest of her life. She is ‘torn’, like in the pop song. But men can feel the same way. Take SUNRISE by Murnau where an apparently happily married man is becomes enchanted by some urban floozy, and suddenly his wife seems more a burden than a blessing.

    The key scene, which you completely skip over, is her encounter with Sandor, the handsome, grey-haired, silver-tongued Hungarian charmer.

    Like I said at the beginning, the piece is about a particular scene — Mandy overdosed in Ziegler’s giant bathroom — than the whole movie. By the way, his Hungarian-ness, the foreign-accent of the daughter of the dead man, Russian-ish hat on the street hooker, and the thick Slavicism of Milich give the film a very European feel even though it’s set in America. The Most AMERICAN thing in the movie is when a bunch of guys knock Bill over and mock him as a ‘fa**ot’ who should go back to San Francisco. Rather odd since NY was the ‘gay metropolis’ before San Fran became one.

    When he suggests that her husband surely wouldn’t mind if they danced, it’s easy to imagine her thinking “if that little dork complains, I’ll tell him it’s Christmas, it’s a party, I’m drunk, I’m alone, I don’t know anyone here,

    No, that would never enter her mind because Bill is perfectly fine with her dancing with other men. They are a modern couple, not uptight puritans. There’s an understanding that they cavort with others at the party as long as it’s social. On such occasions, Bill is more like Carlito than Kleinfeld who, though a hornball, is full of insecurities. He’s prejudiced against Italians.

    Sandor smells blood and moves in for the kill

    I don’t think Sandor is the type who seeks out vulnerabilities and ‘moves in for the kill’. I think he would have done the same regardless of whom Alice was with. A predator goes for the easier targets. A leopard doesn’t go for the fastest and heathiest impala but the slowest one. Sandor isn’t that kind of predator. Sandor notices Alice is one of the best-looking woman at the party, i.e. tougher to woo than the lesser women who’d make easier ‘kills’. Also, it’s not like Bill is some pudgy bald-headed guy with thick glasses, like Rusty Trawler in BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S. Bill may not have Sandor’s height, but he’s a lot younger and pretty dapper himself.
    If anything, Sandor is attracted to Alice as a challenge to his vanity. Sandor doesn’t want easy kills. He likes to play games and win. Alice is a worthy trophy. If he just wanted sex, a man like him could get it easily. It’s the rituality that turns him on. He has fine-tuned his act into a performance. Notice how he invokes haute culture/society to glamorize his moves on Alice and appeals to her subconscious sense of ‘royalty’. He’s European, whereas she is ‘American’, which connotes equality and democracy, but Americanism is a paradox. On the one hand, it’s about liberation from rigid strictures of Old Europe. It’s about being free and doing your own thing. But the egalitarian ethos and work ethic(necessary to transform a vast wilderness into a modern civilization) repressed much that is true of human nature. Human nature is hierarchical: women want to be princesses, not maids; and men want to be princes, not peons. We see this contradiction in MAGA. It is largely populist and blue-collar, but Trump’s appeal was that he had it all with private jets, mansions, and lotsa ho’s. For much of US history, people were too busy turning the wilderness into farms, towns, and cities — and work ethic was wed to the discipline of moralism — to have much time and energy left for fun, which finally became a mass thing with the boomers in the Sixties. But even boomerism was a contradiction. On the one hand, it was about everyone being equally cool and groovy, but what attracted them to events like Woodstock? Star-worship of rockers as the new gods and kings.

    At any rate, Sandor is appealing to what he assumes to be her repressed aristocratic nature. What he describes was the way of the aristocrats, who kept up with proprieties as a facade to cover the ‘improper’ things they really enjoyed. He’s getting at something, but Alice doesn’t buy it, at least not in the way it is presented. After all, Sandor’s pitch isn’t really about himself but about a culture, one that has officially vanished from history but lives on as vain displays at fancy parties. For Sandor’s shtick to really work, society must still keep with traditional, Christian, and/or ‘bourgeois’ values. In the past, aristocrats had to maintain the appearance of respectability(regardless of what they did behind closed doors) because morality really did matter, at least as a badge of status. But in the late modern world of EYES WIDE SHUT, it’d hardly be a scandal even for a rich man or woman to have affairs known to the public. They don’t have to hide anything. Thus, Sandor’s reasons, as alluring as they may be, come across as academic than romantic. He sounds more like a tour guide than an irresistible lover.

    He brings her this close to going upstairs with him, but she catches herself at the last and reluctantly backs out, refusing his wish to see her again with “…because… I’m married,” almost rolling her eyes as she says those words. What a drag this whole marriage business is, but eh, duty is duty.

    I don’t think so. At most, she finds it amusing than amorous. He’s tall and good-looking and a very smooth operator but too smooth, to the point of artifice. It’s like a girl watching Pepe Lepew on TV. It’s a bit too much. Also, even though Sandor has honed his act into an art, it is still ‘work’. It’s something that took a lot of practice and experience. He’s surely tried it on other women, and it’s not like Alice is the great love of his life(which is what the woman in EARRINGS OF MADAME DE is to the Vittorio DeSica’s character). To Sandor, she’s just another trophy, like art collected by rich folks. She can admire his bag of tricks and understand why some women would fall for it or play along, but it’s not for her. All said and done, it’s no sale.
    She could easily walk away, and showing her wedding ring is less a matter of moral duty than convenience to excuse herself. I think she would have walked away EVEN IF she was not married because she could see through the loverboy act. It’s polished but still brass than gold. He’s so vain, he probably thinks this song is about him, about him.

    The real significance of that scene is it stirs up something else within Alice. It serves as a lubricant in her mind. Just like there are supposedly six degrees of separation among humans, there are degrees of separation among feelings. Alice doesn’t feel any great desire for Sandor and will likely forget him sooner than later, but his George-Hamilton-ish loverboy act and later the marijuana stir up memories of the naval officer. Now, THAT was some strong stuff. Unlike Sandor who really had to work and pull every trick in the book to woo Alice, the naval officer didn’t have to do a thing. Likely, he had no intention to make her fall in love with him. But that’s all it took, like in the song, “Just One Look” or “You’re Beautiful”.

    It’s been playing on her mind ever since, and this is the context in which she brings up the two models she spied her husband talking to. Had it not been for Sandor, she might have let the models thing slide.

    But it’s not Sandor per se. It’s what was evoked in his presence. Though she could look past his shtick, she was reminded of the naval officer who still lurks in her dream space. She could do without Sandor and other such men, but she can’t get the naval officer out of her mind. And if it weren’t for the naval officer, she would probably be more or less like Bill. The naval officer stands as the ‘A.D.'(anno Domini) in her life. Everything before her glance of him has become what B.C. is to Christians: before Christ. It’s like Scotty in VERTIGO. All his life he was a cynical, skeptical, hard-nosed person who had no use for or understanding of passion. But once he falls for Madeleine, everything changes. When his female friend tries to humor him about his odd fixation, he takes it badly and personally. He reacts like a pious Christian would to sacrilege. Likewise, Humbert Humbert in LOLITA was a clever fellow, an academic with a rather modest and contented life. A man of no great passion or obsession. But one look at Lolita, and he was never the same. Like the naval officer, Lolita didn’t even have to try. It just happened, and it came to redefine his entire being. Something similar happened to Alice with the naval officer.
    It was from that moment onward that her way of seeing came to diverge from that of Bill who never underwent such an experience and emotions. It was then that Alice began to feel that her marriage with Bill was more discontentment than contentment. Not because Bill isn’t a good catch — he certainly is — , because what she saw and felt of the naval officer was so radiant. So, even though her motherly nature could still feel affection for Bill, her damsel-whore side longed for the naval officer. It’s like the moment in EXCALIBUR. Guinevere and Arthur come to love one another, and it seems like they’re a perfect match. But then, she gets one glimpse of Lancelot, and her heart is really thumpity-thump for Lancelot.

    It’s been arousing and agitating, and she wants to get it out. It’s like a pregnant woman eventually needs to push out the baby. In Alice’s case, it’s more like a spirit-child conceived within the dream of the naval officer. Her confession is akin to pushing out the god-child or star-child kicking inside her soul. Only by pushing it out can she finally feel some kind of relief, and indeed it has some salutary effect on her. The pot works like ex-lax. But for Bill, it’s like he’s stuck with the monster-baby in ERASERHEAD. He can’t make head or tail out of Alice’s confession, at least not immediately, and he wanders like Joseph upon discovering his wife Mary somehow got pregnant. It is a sort of Christmasy movie after all.

    This is the only way in which her pretext for causing a scene makes sense. “Are you saying the only reason a man would want to talk to me is because he wants to fuck me?” Come off it, that’s an “argument” only a femmtard sociology major would ever attempt. Alice has been around the block. She knows perfectly well that even if it’s not the only reason a man would talk to her, it’s obviously the major one, and certainly the reason Sandor approached her. But she’s really regretting not fucking Sandor now. That’s the second time (that we know of) she’s turned down a hot fuck for the sake of this dweeb husband – who may well have cheated on her – and now she’s gonna let him have it, and any half-baked excuse will do. It’s not clear that she intended to spill the beans about the naval officer from the outset, but by the time their spat creates an opening for it, she’s ready to tell all.

    No, it was the naval officer that was on her mind the whole time. It’s what she really wants to talk about. It’s her royal-queen way of putting Bill down as an inferior who doesn’t match up to her dream lover, but it’s also a way of apologizing for feeling this way… because he’s been a good husband and dear to her on every level except as the ultimate-dream-lover, Fabio in the sky. There’s an element of derision but also endearment. It was a way of blaming him for not being good enough for her dreams but also blaming herself for feeling this way over something so irrational, this crazy obsession over a man whom she merely glanced at and didn’t even speak to or even get his name, probably Admiral Fabio.

    The thing is she couldn’t just drop the bomb about the naval officer, what she really needs to do in order to get it off her chest. So, she uses the degrees-of-separation among emotions(related to issues) to get to that point by twisting Bill’s meanings and intentions. Bill is rightly confused by Alice’s willful misinterpretation of his words because he hasn’t a clue as to where Alice is taking this. He has no idea that Alice is trying to steer the conversation to her confession about the naval officer.

    Alice isn’t interested in generalities about men and women and all that stuff. Indeed, her problem is particular and deeply personal. It doesn’t happen to every man or every woman. It happens to a few, like her and Humbert Humbert. And Scotty in VERTIGO. But she cannot just, out of the blue, bring up that issue, so she hops on social issues to finally jump on the thing that she’s most hung over about: her utterly insane dreams about the naval officer, something that defies generalities about people, men and women. Indeed, what Alice reveals about herself doesn’t apply to most women, but it happens to some. Lady Lyndon obviously feels that way about Barry. Even though Barry grows despondent after his son’s death, is rejected by haute society, loses a leg in a duel, and fades away, he was the great love of Lady Lyndon, and in a way, if he did conquer something, it is her heart. In that sense, he did sort of win because winning that kind of love is something that lies beyond the reach of most men, no matter how rich and powerful.

    There is a darker aspect to the dream however. Even though Alice’s feelings for the naval officer approach the mystical, it is ultimately about sexual desire. And past the initial bloom, the dream of romance is consumed by animal carnality, which is what Alice’s dream turns into, an orgy with men gone apelike. It’s like a girl falling for some dreamboat but being invited to a place where he and his buddies gang-rape her like a piece of whore. The dream is gone, and all that is left is animality. It’s like ALTERED STATES by Ken Russell where the scientist begins an experiment with hallucinogenic substances to access the mythic Jungian dimensions of man but, the farther he goes, the more he turns into the primal ape.

    P.S. I wonder if Kubrick had ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA in mind when he made EYES WIDE SHUT. Noodles too is haunted by a myth that finally brings him face to face with the truth, but one that makes no sense without the myth.

  35. @Jung Freud

    She knew he might be upset but had no inkling of the chain reaction set off within him, something that would haunt him day-and-night and make him do things he normally wouldn’t, upending the very foundation of their relationship.

    There’s no way she can’t know that. That’s why I prefer the spontaneous confession in a fit of pique interpretation than a planned revelation based on some alleged “need” to fess up. People hide romantic indiscretions from their partners all the time without experiencing irresistible urges to confess all. (If you’re going to tell anyone, you tell a friend (or maybe a therapist) – and it’s less a “need” than a “want,” if you felt your sexual conquest raised your status.) In Alice’s case, it makes no difference that she didn’t actually do anything; it’s enough to know that she wanted to, that she evidently regrets not having done so. So there isn’t the slightest chance any good can come of telling Bill, which she surely must have realized whenever she contemplated telling him. But roiled and resentful, and now stoned, she blurts it out without considering the consequences.

    It’s a bad thing but also good thing because they’re wiser and weathered a storm together.

    Well, yeah, sort of. But only after he pays her back, which he’s clearly on the verge of doing. When his piano friend, Nick, tells him of the orgy, he’s thrilled. Any chance of pussy and he’s there. That would be out of character for Bill, but now he’s out for revenge and he’s taking the bull by the horns.

    No, that would never enter her mind because Bill is perfectly fine with her dancing with other men. They are a modern couple, not uptight puritans. There’s an understanding that they cavort with others at the party as long as it’s social.

    Sure. But it’s the fatal conceit of many a modern couple that they’ve completely overridden their possessive instincts, which is why they still subject each other to interrogations despite the vaunted openness of their relationships. (“Those two girls you were with at the party – did you happen to fuck them?”) Any average Joe, and I agree that Alice wouldn’t bother preparing excuses, because she knows nothing’s going to happen. But with Sandor, she sensed a real possibility that something illicit might occur. And when Alice espied Bill talking to the models, her reaction wasn’t “oh there goes my Bill again, haha, he’s such a flirt.” She was taken aback, her jaw dropped. The impudence of that little prick – and the babes were smoking hot too. (What was Bill thinking as they led him away, anyway? This was a weak point in the plot. If Bill doesn’t get called away by Ziegler, he’s going upstairs with those models. Does he wait till they start undressing him before he realizes what’s up? And does he then back out or go through with it?)

    I don’t think Sandor is the type who seeks out vulnerabilities and ‘moves in for the kill’. I think he would have done the same regardless of whom Alice was with.

    You misunderstood me. Of course Sandor would have tried his luck no matter who she was with. That’s him, that’s his game. By “move in for the kill” I simply meant that he takes Alice’s response as a green light. He can dispense with the small talk, he doesn’t need to soften her up any more, he can advance towards a concrete proposition. If he doesn’t get that green light, he’s not going to give up. He can continue the banter, no biggie, he’s in his element. But in his mind, at that point, Alice is signalling that she’s up for it.

    Thus, Sandor’s reasons, as alluring as they may be, come across as academic than romantic.

    Come on, he’s not propounding a thesis, he’s trying to get her in pants, he’s being flirtatious. And Alice is eating it up. Sandor also knows from long experience that women, even when they’re hot for it, their brains conjure up last minute excuses in order to avoid looking too slutty, so he’s also greasing the skids. He’s not worried about any scandals, he’s making it easier for her to say yes.

    To Sandor, she’s just another trophy, like art collected by rich folks. She can admire his bag of tricks and understand why some women would fall for it or play along, but it’s not for her.

    I’m not so sure of that. She knew from the get-go what he was after, so if she had zero interest, she could have backed out a lot earlier. But the man had an allure, she was intrigued. That everything flowing from his lips might be bullshit isn’t the point. She’s having fun, and it’s gratifying to be pursued by a man like that. Furthermore, he seems to have something Bill lacks: he’s at least superficially cultured in a way that Bill isn’t, and maybe even much more than superficially. Bill might have heard the name Ovid mentioned at some point, but he probably doesn’t know anything more about him. But Sandor does, he’s probably read him. Alice, she of the art world, probably has too. And this opens the door to shared understandings and conversational possibilities that don’t exist with Bill. Bill has some status because he’s a doctor, but doctors have status because all of us eventually find ourselves helpless in their presence at some point in our lives, and doctors often hold the very power of life and death over us. But besides that they’re just technicians, little different in principle to motor mechanics. Whatever she and Bill talk about, it’s probably not poetry, philosophy, art – things of interest to Alice. This aspect of her brief flirtation with Sandor may have reminded Alice of just how much she’s compromising by being with Bill.

    • Replies: @Jung Freud
  36. Beauty is something gazed at and admired, something that others desire to access and own. But the dynamics is seductive than transgressive. It tempts others to aggress towards it. Indeed, Bill Harford, a looker himself, can’t help casting spells on those who come in contact with him. His presence is seductive regardless of his intentions, like when the daughter of the dead man smothers him with kisses he didn’t expect or want. Beauty is like a drug. Drugs are mere chemicals, but consider their power over the junkies who gotta have their fix.

    Beauty, is a form of natural wealth. Unlike other forms of natural wealth, such as intelligence and desirable personality traits, which are largely heritable, but can also be honed over the course of one’s life, beauty is almost completely fixed at birth. And unlike material wealth, whose many varying forms can all be reduced to differing monetary values, beauty’s degrees defy easy categorization; but that they exist, and that cavernous differences separate the highest degrees from the lowest, is obvious for all to see.

    Material wealth enjoys an existence separate from its possessor. What material wealth one man owns can be taken from him and given to another. Natural wealth cannot be separated from the individual in whom it incarnates. One man’s intelligence cannot be taken from him and given to another man. Intelligence can be diminished, beauty can be disfigured, their possessors can be killed, but when their possessors dies, their natural wealth dies with them.

    Intelligence (and other personality traits) can hide, it can disguise itself, it can even pretend to vanish, and each such gambit may bring advantage to its possessor. Beauty cannot be hidden or disguised without bringing disadvantage to its possessor; those who possess beauty are seldom keen to hide it, and never permanently.

    Because beauty is obvious, because it desires to display itself, because others desire to view it, to draw nearer to it, to control and claim ownership over it, and by so doing hope to share in its splendor, beauty poses an insurmountable challenge to egalitarianism. What can an egalitarian do but helplessly look on and lie to himself and to others about what he is seeing, to pretend that “beauty is skin deep,” that it’s “what’s on the inside that counts,” that beauty standards are “socially constructed”?

    Well, they do have one option: they can always elect to destroy what they can never possess.

    (The thoughts expressed here were adapted from Chapter 2 of Richard McCulloch’s unfortunately titled “Destiny of Angels,” a book whose truths are so harsh that few could stand to read it, and far fewer still internalize its ideas.)

  37. @Jung Freud

    The Most AMERICAN thing in the movie is when a bunch of guys knock Bill over and mock him as a ‘fa**ot’ who should go back to San Francisco. Rather odd since NY was the ‘gay metropolis’ before San Fran became one.

    It comes off as what we’d today call gratuitous virtue-signalling, as though someone thought hey, we should try to work in an anti-discrimination message into this film at some point. But it rings hollow. A bunch of white boys in late 90s Manhattan decide to homophobically unload on a complete stranger even though there was nothing about his appearance or demeanor to suggest gayness? Not buying it. It only works if the message is white men are dangerous, they can turn on you at any instant, so you can never lower your guard. (I can think of a race or two that that is far truer of, lol.)

    • Replies: @Jung Freud
  38. @silviosilver

    It comes off as what we’d today call gratuitous virtue-signalling, as though someone thought hey, we should try to work in an anti-discrimination message into this film at some point. But it rings hollow.

    Actually, it fits in with the theme of the story. It is after all about Bill being ‘rudely interrupted’. In a way, the film suggests that even normality is a kind of a dream, an oasis from the chaos of reality. The whole thing about peace, harmony, and contentment, the conjugal bliss, is a kind of realized illusion.
    Bill is ‘interrupted’ or shaken from this slumber of quasi-bourgeois normality by his wife’s confession. He’s knocked down. Paradoxically, he is shaken awake from his seeming awaken status of normality or relative ‘squareness’ with the rules about fidelity and “I trust in you”, the pat self-assurances. Thus, normality isn’t THE reality but A reality among many other layers of reality, like Alice’s recollection of that day when she saw the naval officer and how it haunted her all these years without Bill not only not knowing but not even suspecting of what was in her mind. Never mind the orgy ritual; his wife has been wearing a mask all this time that hid the Inner Her. He’s been living with a mask, the Outer Her. Bill has been rather content, even a bit glib and smug, about his relation to her all these years, but her confession knocked him off his feet, psychologically of course.

    Mankind are animals, and there is no peace in nature. It’s like a struggle for survival day in and day out among the apes in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. An ape can be eaten by a leopard. Apes kill and devour other animals and are devoured in turn. Apes fight and kill over a waterhole, much like the Arab tribes in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. And in the 20th century, Europeans slaughtered each other over what now seems like trifles.
    In a way, the novel’s setting is significant. It’s the fin-de-siecle era, when Europe had enjoyed more-or-less a hundred years of peace. There was the war of German unification but it was among the Germans, with Prussia winning swiftly and decisively. And the Franco-German ended very quickly. For most of the 100 yrs after the defeat of Napoleon, there was peace followed by peace. In this period, the bourgeoisie grew in wealth and power(and found accommodation with the aristocracy, and Germany led the way in reconciling the conflicts between capital and labor), and it seemed like there would be a steady march of progress to a better future. Something like World War I, let alone the communist revolution and World War II, was inconceivable to people of the Fin-de-Siecle era.
    Like Bill, European civilization was full of self-contentment, as if peace and harmony were the new norms of history to be taken for granted. But then, one calamity fell after another. Fin-de-siecle was followed by the begin-de-psychos. EYES WIDE SHUT came out in 1999, one century since the Fin-de-Siecle era, and one might say it was yet another such time when all seemed to be at peace(but Kubrick new better). In the early 90s, communism pretty much ended with Soviet Union collapsing and China more or less entering into the Western business sphere. Cities like NY got tough on crime, and they began a revival. Dot.com seemed to make everyone rich. Liberals and Conservatives fused into a singularity, with Bill Clinton adopting ‘free trade’ and Margaret Thatcher praising Tony Blairism(the New Labour platform) as her proudest achievement.
    Was it really the End of History with ‘liberal democracy’ and economic growth for all the world? But then, the dot.com crash happened, followed by 9/11 and then the Iraq War, and then globo-homo nuttery, and new ‘cold war’. Still, it seemed the streets were safer and there was growing wealth, but then the housing bubble burst, and then ‘wokeness’ took off and culminated in the trans lunacy and BLM thuggery that wrecked cities once again, and then there was the Covid monstrosity unleashed upon the world. In a way, Bill is a microcosm of humanity that has grown self-assured of its snug place in the world. He’s like a billiard ball that has no idea it will be struck next and sunk into the pocket. He has no concept of black swan events or revelations. On the same night, he’s knocked down by Alice and literally so by the punks in the street, who act like the new breed of Alex and his crew in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, though probably just a**holes than psycho-rapist thugs.
    In boxing, you never let your guard down. When modernity works with its technology and rule of law, it’s easy to grow complacent and let our guard down. We become like deer in the headlights. We grow so accustomed to the peace that we think it is the normal state of things. Take the film FAR FROM HEAVEN(better titled Fart from Hell) where, in an idyllic suburban setting, a white woman thinks she’s living the perfect life… only to discover her husband is a tooter who sucks penises and then finds herself kissing a Negro, on the lips too.
    If Jews have a leg up on the white goyim, it’s because they are more likely to look around the corner for dangers. They’ve been a minority, hostile onto others and treated hostilely in return, for centuries. Jews feel contempt for complacency. So, Jews are always more paranoid about things and prepare more than white goyim do. When peace is all around, white goyim tend to relax and take it easy. Even when things are peaceful, the Jewish heart is never at peace. It’s the difference between a bear and a fox. A bear is a big animal and has few natural predators. So, a bear can be more relaxed in the natural setting. It fears bigger bears and packs of wolves, but otherwise, it has little to fear. So, when a bear is in a quiet setting, it just rolls around and sleeps. In contrast, a fox is a small creature and can survive only in a constant state of fear. It can be killed by cougars, wolves, bobcats, coyotes, badgers, eagles, hawks, wolverines, bears, and etc. Constant fear is such a characteristic of foxes that, even in quiet settings, they are always in a state of fear, always anxious.
    The positive side of such fearfulness among Jews is that they are more cognizant of the dangers ahead. But the downside is that, in looking further than goyim, Jews seek to gain advantage over goyim by rigging the system in their favor, like the characters in David Mamet films. We see this in finance, for example. And even in the covid nuttery. This sort of thing has led to rise in ‘antisemitism’ among goyim, and this backlash, however unpleasant at time, had the virtue of teaching the Jews a lesson to not push too far. But since WWII, what with the rise of Holocaustianity, it’s virtually impossible to be ‘antisemitic’ and express critical views of Jews, and this led to Jewish Power getting more abusive, nastier, and downright insane, if 2020 is any indication.

    Even though shaken out of his complacency by Alice’s confession, he nevertheless goes from new complacency to new complacency, only to be ‘rudely interrupted’ every time. He sneaks into the orgy-porgy mansion, so confident of his cleverness, only to be found out and humiliated. Next day, he plays private eye and feels rather debonair in ferreting out the truth of what’s really up. But Ziegler tells him that he was followed and observed all along. It’s almost like Bill’s ploys are mere toys for Ziegler. And, the film ends with a rude interruption. Just when Bill and Alice seem to be tenderly patching things together, the film ends with Alice’s suggestion that they FUC*.

    What the guys who accost him in the street do is similar to what Alice did earlier. If Alice knocked him out of his sense of self-assurance and contentment(so sure of the relationship between her and himself), the toughies knock him out of his doldrums of self-absorption. He’s been wrapped up so tight with what his wife revealed that his own hurt becomes his only reality with a mix of fascination, jealousy, confusion, and self-pity. But then, the guys knock him out of the new reality he’s wrapped himself with. Ironically, his bundle of insecurities has become a new kind of security blanket, until it is snatched by the street punks.
    Once again, he’s rudely interrupted from his ‘safe space’, the difference being he’s knocked out of discontentment than contentment. Either way, however, it is a luxury for a man to think that his inner feelings have any bearing on the larger reality. Whatever he thought of himself and Alice, she had OTHER ideas and feelings. And no matter how much he obsesses over his own feelings, they mean NOTHING to a bunch of half-drunken rowdies who just see him as a ‘fa**ot’. Even in our ‘woke’ times, such guys exist. Granted, most street thugs are black, but young white guys of blue-collar background who had too much to drink sometimes act that way. And this was 1999 before BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and the ‘gay’ stuff really got off the ground, culminating in civilization-destroying ‘gay marriage’.

    Also, keep in mind that Alice’s dream hero was this naval officer, a man of the warrior caste. Some guys say, “I’m a lover, not a fighter”, but the two are linked as women fall in love with fighters. Bill was psychologically beaten by Alice’s mentioning of the naval officer, and this insecurity is manifest literally when he’s made to feel small by a bunch of street punks who play the warrior and treat him like a ‘fa**ot’, indeed as if he’s a girly man.
    In a way, Bill has been the woman of the house in relation to Alice. Generally, the idea is that men are more adventurous whereas women are more centered on home-and-hearth. But from their conversation, it seems Bill is more into following the rules of conjugal bliss, and Alice is the more adventurous one, at least in imagination. If anything, Bill has some catching up to do when it comes to sexual boldness, real or imaginary.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  39. @Jung Freud

    Even though shaken out of his complacency by Alice’s confession, he nevertheless goes from new complacency to new complacency, only to be ‘rudely interrupted’ every time.

    Okay, so it never rains, but it pours. My complaint wasn’t about his being shoved, though, it was about his assailants’ unaccountable focus on his supposed gayness. Again, what was there about his appearance to even hint at gayness? Nothing that I can tell. They would have seen a “preppy” or a “yuppie” walking towards them, not a faggot. But the very first words out of their mouths zero in keenly on his supposed gayness – “Hey hey hey hey, what team’s this switch hitter playin’ for?” And then the rest of them immediately jump in with their own anti-gay insults. Totally unrealistic. They don’t even look like street toughs, more like drunken frat boys. Watch it again and pause the scene after they’ve passed him and are walking off. The second guy from the left and the guy in the middle look like more convincing ‘faggots’ than Bill, any day.

    I know that gays weren’t yet worshiped as avatars of diversity in 1999. But complaints about political correctness by conservatives were at least a decade old by then, and it was fast becoming clear that it wasn’t going to be some passing fad. Very few people – very few white people, in Manhattan of all places – would have been unaware that, while it was still permissible to think poorly of homosexuality, it was pretty uncool to accost someone for being gay. Now, while you might shove a yuppie out of envy, you probably wouldn’t call him a damn yuppie without revealing that envy to others, so ‘faggot’ could be an acceptable stand in. But the idea that your friends would immediately pile on unrestrained with gay insults of their own is phony baloney.

    And, the film ends with a rude interruption. Just when Bill and Alice seem to be tenderly patching things together, the film ends with Alice’s suggestion that they FUC*.

    How is that a rude interruption? It’s a welcome interruption. It’s the calm after the storm. It’s all’s well that ends well. It’s the anti-thesis of your argument that the film is about normality being a kind of dream, an oasis from the chaos of reality. With the nastiness behind them, it’s happy days are here again.

    • Replies: @Jung Freud
  40. @silviosilver

    There’s no way she can’t know that.

    She knew it would piss him off and meant to belittle him a bit. But she had NO IDEA that its effect would be so profound and ‘epic’. Indeed, once the phone rings(about a dead patient), Alice’s misty fantasy clears instantly, and it’s like they’re back to normal, as if none of it happened. And the next day, she acts as if NOTHING strange happened between them, and Bill keeps up this facade as well. He pretends to be the same old self, all smiles and nice hubby. But just like Bill had NO IDEA what had really in her mind the past few years, she has NO IDEA what she really set off in his heart. To Alice, she got it off her chest, and it’s all back to normal between them. But what she said lingers in Bill. It’s like the smell of burnt toast. It ‘shines’. Jews have an edge over goyim in that they got more ‘shining’. They can wink-wink pick up each other’s signals without having to spell it out. They shyne.

    That’s why I prefer the spontaneous confession in a fit of pique interpretation than a planned revelation based on some alleged “need” to fess up.

    It’s not that she pre-planned to spill the beans on his head. The fact that she didn’t say a word about it until then is a clear indication that she did her best to keep her lips sealed on the matter. But humans are social creatures and want to share stuff. This is even truer among women who are gossip-maniacs. At least men have this honor thing of keeping their word. Women have no such sense of honor and want to gossip and tell all. Alice kept quiet about her secret and obviously didn’t tell anyone, but she wants to let it out somehow and on someone. In the beginning of the film, we see her on the toilet peeing. Peeing is natural and if you go crazy if you hold it in. This secret was her psychological urine, and it had to be let out, and boy, does she give him one special golden shower.

    The peeing scene at the beginning foreshadows the problem between them. When she asks how she looks, he doesn’t even notice and just says the obvious thing, that she looks good. It’s like he has these lines memorized and plays them accordingly. Everything about him is a bit ‘pat’ and predictable. He’d say she looks good even when she looks terrible. In that moment of marijuana fog later, she wants to speak some truth. It’s not like she was planning to divulge her secrets there and then on THAT NIGHT, but the secret had been bedeviling her for some time. So, it was not a conscious plan but a subconscious urge that’s been building up inside her.

    People hide romantic indiscretions from their partners all the time without experiencing irresistible urges to confess all.

    This is true, but for most people, it’s nothing so special. Some usual hornball stuff, a little flirtation or maybe fling here and there. A dime-a-dozen. But Alice’s dilemma is far more serious. Technically, it wasn’t an indiscretion because NOTHING happened. She didn’t even speak to the naval officer, never mind kissing and making love and other stuff. Nothing took place between them. Yet, in her mind, she offered her entire being, body and soul, to him as her godhead, or godpud. Thus, the infidelity is more ‘spiritual’ than merely sensual, and this is what Bill can’t get his mind around. Mere fleshly temptations, he can understand. But Alice’s kind of mythic love is beyond his imagination.

    If it were just a ‘indiscretion’ of the usual sort, Alice could have forgotten about it. It’s like we are accustomed to little lies all our lives, but there is sometimes The Lie that utterly changes the way we see ourselves and the world. Her dance with Sandor is the kind of ‘indiscretion’ she can handle. Bill wasn’t bothered by her dancing with Sandor, not in the slightest. But her thing with the naval officer is something else even though she came in no physical contact with him. It is about what she FELT about him.
    In a way, she resents Bill because it was her fidelity to him that prevented her from going to the naval officer. And yet, the officer looms so much larger in her heart precisely because she couldn’t have him or have him have her. What is unattained always seem grander than what is attained. It’s like Christmas presents are always far more magical BEFORE they’re opened. Once opened, it’s just another toy or pair of socks. So, repression is both a hindrance to pleasure and the fuel that creates these delicious fantasies. We live in sexually ‘liberated’ times, and there is no more romance; there is just the big butt ‘twerking’ up and down, like the movie ‘Ass’ in IDIOCRACY.

    In Alice’s case, it makes no difference that she didn’t actually do anything; it’s enough to know that she wanted to, that she evidently regrets not having done so.

    She is both regretful and grateful. After all, she also says that, ‘at the same time’, Bill was more dear to her than ever. With the naval officer, it’s like she met a god, like in Greek mythology where mortal women make love to gods and give birth to half-gods like Achilles and Heracles. But awesome as such a man is, it’s too much, too blinding: the Homme Fatal. Bill may be less of a man, but he’s the boy-next-door type, more human, more reassuring, more personable. Also, she can be both wife to him and mother to him whereas the naval officer looms in mind as Pure Man, a towering figure of strength.
    It’s sort of like the case in UGETSU where some commoner/potter wanders away from his wife & child and enters a fantasy world with a beautiful aristocratic woman. It’s all dreamy and wondrous, but it’s somehow not real, not connected to matters of the human heart. And it does turn out to be a ghost world, and he crawls back home to find his wife, who is homely but down-to-earth and real.

    So there isn’t the slightest chance any good can come of telling Bill, which she surely must have realized whenever she contemplated telling him.

    But some good did come of it. She got it off her chest, and she feels better for it. The problem is it really messed up Bill. But then, he got something out of it too. It made him adventurous and wander out of the comfort zone, and as a result, he found out something about himself he otherwise wouldn’t have. It was a hurtful process, but they did gain knowledge in the end. It’s like maybe Eve shouldn’t have taken a bite of the forbidden fruit and given it to Adam. It sure messed them up. But it also made them wiser than remain ‘innocent’ in a blissfully ignorant state. No pain, no gain.
    There’s a saying in THE WILD BUNCH: “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” After all that happened, would Bill wish Alice hadn’t said what she said thereby sending him off on a wild sheep chase that led him to realizations he otherwise wouldn’t have gained? Despite all the pain and agony, I’ll bet Bill wouldn’t have it any other way. He gained more from those two days than over most of his life. In a way, the crisis was the real start of his marriage with Alice, on terms deeper and richer(and darker) than ’til death do us apart, you may kiss the bride, and etc’.

    But only after he pays her back, which he’s clearly on the verge of doing.

    But it’s not so simple. Besides, how would he pay her back? The only way would be if he cheated on her and if she found out. But, would he be willing to cheat on her and say, “Hey, I screwed another ho!” Of course not. So, his infidelity would be pointless.
    Besides, all said and done, she did not cheat on him, at least not physically. So, to get even with her, he would have to be sexually attracted to someone but also NOT cheat on his wife. Only then would he have been on equal terms with her. She was totally mind-blown with the naval officer, but she still didn’t go to him. If Bill went off with some whore, it would mean he’s weaker for giving into sexual pleasure.

    Also, he can be truly equal with her ONLY IF he falls for some woman in the way she fell for the naval officer, and that kind of infatuation cannot be willed. Bill meets some gorgeous street hooker — critics have said that’s unrealistic as street hookers tend to be lower quality — , and even though he’s turned on, he’s nowhere near worshipful of her. Indeed, he almost seems relieved that his wife called him just then which serves as excuse for him to leave.

    When his piano friend, Nick, tells him of the orgy, he’s thrilled. Any chance of pussy and he’s there.

    I don’t think so. Look, Bill isn’t someone who has to worry about pooter(or cooter as the case may be). In the dead man’s room, the daughter was totally crazy over him. She felt towards him what Alice felt for the naval officer. She dreams of him even though they hardly know each other. She wants to live close to him and dreads the idea of moving to Michigan with her fiance, the math professor. So, if Bill wants pooter, he can easily get it. And if he really wanted to, he could have done the hooker that night. If Bill were like the fat shlub in RISKY BUSINESS, we can understand why he’d be desperate to get some action. But getting women(if he so desires) wouldn’t be his problem.

    He wants entry into the mansion because it’s a secret, like the hidden corners of Alice’s mind. After having been shown a glimpse of Alice’s secret mind-chamber, he wants to enter deeper into The Secret, and Nightingale’s account of what goes on — of course, he also only caught a glimpse of it as he plays blindfolded, another case of ‘eyes wide shut’ — tantalizes Bill. It’s the secretiveness than the sexiness of it that really excites Bill to enter and find out. Indeed, at the mansion once the orgy breaks out, Bill shows zero interest in taking part in the ‘boing’. He just wants to see, and he wanders around as if lucid-dreaming.

    But it’s the fatal conceit of many a modern couple that they’ve completely overridden their possessive instincts, which is why they still subject each other to interrogations despite the vaunted openness of their relationships.

    It’s gone way past that. There’s a whole big subculture with white guys hiring black guys as ‘bulls’ to do their wives right in front of them. This culture has been featured in mainstream news, and supposedly, even Republican men in D.C. area are into this stuff.

    KALIFORNIA is like a demented version of SOMETHING WILD. In it, the decent modern couple is cosmopolitan, and the white guy’s hobby is apparently shooting photos of his wife having sex with black men. The villain is the ‘racist’ redneck played by Brad Pitt. That’s ‘liberal’ thinking for you. If you’re a dork boy whose artful hobby is taking pictures of your wife screwing black men, you’re the good guy. If you have any manly white pride and disdain that sort of thing, you’re a psychotic redneck lunatic. One of the vilest and stupidest movies ever made but Roger Ebert’s idea of a masterpiece.

    But with Sandor, she sensed a real possibility that something illicit might occur. And when Alice espied Bill talking to the models, her reaction wasn’t “oh there goes my Bill again, haha, he’s such a flirt.” She was taken aback, her jaw dropped.

    I didn’t see her jaw dropping. If anything, being somewhat tipsy, her words were slightly slurred. Also, all she could see was him talking to the two women. She surely didn’t see him getting led away by the two, which would have been more questionable. Of course, Bill pulls herself clear of the two women.
    In a way, Alice might have wondered if something happened between Bill and the two girls. But it could also be that she’s rather disappointed that he’s such a square that he most certainly didn’t do anything with them. In part, a woman is jealous and wants her man all to herself. And yet, an alpha man’s worth comes from being attractive to lots of women and doing lots of them. Women know rock stars and athletes have been with lots of women, but this is a turn on. So, while Alice is appreciative of Bill’s fidelity, it’s also a turn-off because a Real Stud would be like 007 and hump a lot of women.
    In so many 19th century novels, women prefer some dashing guy who’s really been around than her own devoted faithful husband. She prefers Mr. Boing to Mr. Boring. It’s like in FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and WUTHERING HEIGHTS. And there is a male counterpart to this in the fascination with the Femme Fatale.

    Also, if Bill were indeed unfaithful, she would feel less guilty about her own unfaithful feelings. But as Bill is so devoted to her, she feels obligated to reciprocate in kind, which fills her with even more resentment towards him.

    He can dispense with the small talk, he doesn’t need to soften her up any more, he can advance towards a concrete proposition. If he doesn’t get that green light, he’s not going to give up. He can continue the banter, no biggie, he’s in his element. But in his mind, at that point, Alice is signalling that she’s up for it.

    But he never stops with the banter. In a way, he’s all about the banter. He’s had plenty of women, and sex isn’t his top priority. He enjoys the game of wooing women. He loves the talk more than the walk. He’s utterly vain and what he loves most is himself, his attractiveness to women, his ability to melt their hearts. So, he’s not eager to jump into bed. He could go on all night dancing and speaking softly. What he loves more than anything is himself. Alice is secondary to his ability to play her like a violin. He’s like Warren Beatty, the subject of the song “You’re So Vain” that suggests that Beatty is more in love with himself than with any woman. They matter to him for stroking his vanity that he can have just about any woman. No matter where he goes, women fall all over him. HE is the real beauty. Sandor can always find another Alice, another woman to woo, but the big constant in his life is that HE is the great lover. Every woman serves as a mirror to him.

    And Alice doesn’t signal she’s up for it, which makes it more of a challenge for him to keep softening her up. But she sees through the act, which though smooth is a bit thick and phony. It’s just a fancier variation of how Ziegler greeted her. He said she looks exceptionally beautiful and that he doesn’t say it to every woman, whereupon her husband says, “Yes he does.” Likewise, Sandor surely pulled the same shtick on other women.

    Come on, he’s not propounding a thesis, he’s trying to get her in pants, he’s being flirtatious. And Alice is eating it up.

    He’s wooing her with Art History 101. His act is a kind of art, a kind of performance. Thus, he too is like a museum piece, especially as his style is a throwback to Old European manners gone defunct. Of course, he wants it to culminate in sex, but ‘get in her pants’ is a more of an American notion, one of instant gratification and immediacy. Get paid, get laid, or sex as fast food.
    But the European aristocratic way of pleasure is to take it slowly, one course served at a time at the table with wine and good conversation. And with dances and courtship rituals before the act is consummated as sex. Indeed, the fact that Sandor asks to see her some other day suggests he didn’t necessarily have sex with her THAT VERY NIGHT. He’s in no hurry. He has all the time and patience in the world. He doesn’t see Alice as fast food but a five course dinner and it can wait. Alice is certainly charmed to a degree, but there is enough good ole ‘Americanism’ in her to feel, “Just cut it out.”

    She knew from the get-go what he was after, so if she had zero interest, she could have backed out a lot earlier.

    But she never moved in. All she did was dance, so there was nothing to back out of. She merely needed to walk away from him. Kubrick’s point is that true passion isn’t something that can be predicted or manufactured. Sandor has an almost perfect formula of seduction. He has it down to a tee. And yet, Alice remains unmoved and only slightly titillated. It’s not something that takes possession of her. And yet, the naval officer cast his spell without even trying, and no amount of will or rationality could have shielded Alice from the emotions that came over her. THAT is a crazy kind of power.

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  41. @silviosilver

    Again, what was there about his appearance to even hint at gayness? Nothing that I can tell.

    Tough guys call other guys ‘gay’ all the time. It’s like one bunch of ‘niggaz’ always be calling the other bunch of ‘niggaz’ as ‘fa**ots’.

    It’s like kids used to call anything lame as ‘gay’.

    How is that a rude interruption? It’s a welcome interruption. It’s the calm after the storm.

    I don’t mind it but a lot of people were tiffed, even angry with it.

  42. @Jung Freud

    After all that happened, would Bill wish Alice hadn’t said what she said thereby sending him off on a wild sheep chase that led him to realizations he otherwise wouldn’t have gained? Despite all the pain and agony, I’ll bet Bill wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Why though? What did Bill actually learn, how did he grow from that experience? Far as I can tell, not only did nothing that happened by the end of the film absolve Alice for the wanton humiliation she subjected Bill to, the film ends with her wearing the pants more than ever. It’s Bill who breaks down and tearfully confesses (“I’ll tell you everything”) as though it had all been his fault. Although by visiting the mansion and putting himself in the midst of all that fucking, which he could have taken part in, and which he was assuredly tempted to, he is now essentially in the same position as Alice – ie in thought crime territory only – by breaking down and crying like a little bitch, he doesn’t even get to enjoy the psychological satisfaction of getting even with her. In some weird way, he is left owing her. Nigga got played.

    So, he’s not eager to jump into bed.

    So when he’s inviting (pressuring) her to go upstairs to see Ziegler’s art collection, it’s because he actually wants to show her the art collection. Right.

    And Alice doesn’t signal she’s up for it, which makes it more of a challenge for him to keep softening her up.

    When he’s talking about going upstairs, and their lips are virtually touching, any red-blooded male is going to interpret that as her being up for it. Okay, so in this case he was wrong, she wasn’t as up for it as he thought, but that initial interpretation was still the right way to bet, because most other times it would result in the expected outcome.

    Tough guys call other guys ‘gay’ all the time.

    Believe me, I don’t need you to teach me about my favorite insult. I grew up street. I had no compunction about calling anything I didn’t like faggot. Still don’t. You should hear me cursing during a close football game which I’ve got a big stake riding on. It’s fucking faggot fucking faggot fucking faggot on every little mistake start to finish. (Kinda funny/sad, since I’m mathematically well aware of how little the outcome of anyone one game matters to the overall track record, but I still haven’t developed the ability to maintain equanimity during the close games.)

    But there’s a big difference between that and what I am talking about in the scene, which is that these ‘tough guys’ (who in my book actually look like a pack of non-gay faggots themselves) are not just giving Bill a hard time because there’s something they don’t like about him, but because they’re convinced he’s an actual homosexual. It’s not just one word, eg “move faggot,” when the blondie shoves Bill into the car (the only one of the pack who could actually pass as menacing). It’s the barrage of gay insults that follows, from the whole group, and lasts way too long for it to have been a case of “we don’t like this guy, but umm, but we can’t really figure out why, so let’s just just go with faggot as a catch-all insult.” The only way that carrying on about his supposed gayness makes sense is if they actually thought he was gay. Which, again, is technically possible, but not very realistic, and the best interpretation is that it was thrown in as a bit of anti-discrimination propaganda.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  43. Ray P says:

    Even though shaken out of his complacency by Alice’s confession, he nevertheless goes from new complacency to new complacency, only to be ‘rudely interrupted’ every time. He sneaks into the orgy-porgy mansion, so confident of his cleverness, only to be found out and humiliated. Next day, he plays private eye and feels rather debonair in ferreting out the truth of what’s really up. But Ziegler tells him that he was followed and observed all along. It’s almost like Bill’s ploys are mere toys for Ziegler. And, the film ends with a rude interruption. Just when Bill and Alice seem to be tenderly patching things together, the film ends with Alice’s suggestion that they FUC*.

    I get a lot of laughs imagining Woody Allen as Dr. Bill (nineteen seventies’ Allen in his earlier, funnier movies) or Tom Cruise delivering his lines Allen-style with a few additions.

    Dr. Bill Harford: The password for the house?

    Red Cloak: Yes?

    Dr. Bill Harford: I’m sorry… I seem to… have forgotten it.

    Red Cloak: That’s unfortunate! Because here, it makes no difference whether you have forgotten it… or if you never knew it. Kindly remove your mask.

    [Bill slowly removes his mask. The red cloaked cult leader continues talking in a pleasant tone]

    Red Cloak: Now, get undressed.

    Dr. Bill Harford: [nervously] Get… undressed?

    Red Cloak: [Sternly] Remove your clothes.

    Dr. Bill Harford: Uh… gentlemen, please…

    Red Cloak: Remove your clothes! Or would you like us to do it for you?

    Just add Bill saying “I have this thing about not getting naked in front of other men. What can I say? I- I have the kind of body that is irresistible to both sexes.”

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  44. Wokechoke says:

    I always interpreted Alice as being one of the sex slaves and that Bill’s wife has been at these parties all along…

  45. I always interpreted Alice as being one of the sex slaves and that Bill’s wife has been at these parties all along…

    But when he was out, she was at home putting Helena to bed. And why would she so shaken by her sexual nightmare if she such a ho?

  46. @Ray P

    “I have this thing about not getting naked in front of other men. What can I say? I- I have the kind of body that is irresistible to both sexes.”

    Then Red Cloak would say, “Then, you’ve come to the right place.”

  47. @silviosilver

    It’s Bill who breaks down and tearfully confesses (“I’ll tell you everything”) as though it had all been his fault… by breaking down and crying like a little bitch, he doesn’t even get to enjoy the psychological satisfaction of getting even with her.

    But it matches her tearful breakdown the night before. She’d been full of herself when she put Bill down but upon relating what happened in the dream, she seems shaken and ashamed of what had come over her. (To be sure, we don’t how sincere she is. Is she hamming it up a bit to make Bill sympathize with her? After all, when he woke her up, she was giggling in her dream, or seemingly having a good time, not panic-stricken over being gang-raped).

    Anyway, she broke down before him the night before, and I guess it’s his turn.

    In a way, it make sense. After Alice’s confession, I think she kinda felt sorry and guilty about what she put Bill through. So, her sorrowful telling of the dream was her way of apologizing to Bill. That she let her fantasies burn out of control. She’s especially contrite and remorseful because she assumes that while she was having orgy-dreams, Bill was being an upstanding doctor who stayed all night with a dead man and his relatives out of a sense of duty.

    But then, it turns out that while Alice was having an orgy in her dream, Bill was actually out and about visiting a real orgy-porgy, and not only that, but he came pretty close to cheating on her by going with a street hooker. So, he has some confessing to do as well. That makes them somewhat even-steven.

    Nigga got played.

    He a bitchass ho. She should strap on a dildo and peg his tooty ass.

    So when he’s inviting (pressuring) her to go upstairs to see Ziegler’s art collection, it’s because he actually wants to show her the art collection. Right.

    For him, there is no differentiating between art/culture and sex/pleasure. His idea of sex is to become like the art collections, two ideal figures engaged in sex. In a way, the orgy-porgy at the mansion is also ‘arty’. It’s rather sexless as everyone’s wearing masks. It looks more like sculptures or mannequins having sex. It looks almost choreographed, and most of the attendees are there to watch, not to engage. It’s like a sexhibition in a gallery than a real orgy porgy where Ron Jeremy’s dong hits you in the face. Incidentally, the orgy-porgy makes us appreciate the importance of the face in eroticism. Without the face, sexuality lacks personality. After all, it was the naval officer’s face that really turned Alice on. There are nice bodies, but it’s the face that really distinguishes one person from another. Indeed, a beautiful face with a less perfect body is more enticing than an ugly face with a perfect body.

    When he’s talking about going upstairs, and their lips are virtually touching, any red-blooded male is going to interpret that as her being up for it.

    He drew his lips near hers but she didn’t close the gap. And his blood is rose-tinted, not red-blooded.

    You should hear me cursing during a close football game which I’ve got a big stake riding on. It’s fucking faggot fucking faggot fucking faggot on every little mistake start to finish.

    But that’s so ‘homophobic’!

    because there’s something they don’t like about him, but because they’re convinced he’s an actual homosexual.

    I heard there were rumors that Cruise was a homo, that this was common knowledge in the ‘gay’ community.

    I don’t think so.

    • Replies: @Ray P
    , @silviosilver
  48. Ray P says:
    @Priss Factor

    Queers love to claim famous persons as one of their own (‘All great men are’) and gossip is rife in such quarters. I’d have thought that something more substantial would have emerged over the forty years of stardom that Cruise has enjoyed. Personally, I have the suspicion that a lot of male actors are part-time poofs if only on an expedient basis of getting along in a field rife with them. Eyes Wide Shut does seem to play off this gossip. There is the encounter between Dr. Bill and the hotel desk clerk played by Alan Cumming who gives a very fruity performance and clearly likes Bill a lot and looks quite keen to help him with his enquiry. It could be that he thinks Bill is one of his kind since he came to the hotel looking for his old pal Nick. Nick seems to be hetero though – Pollack tells Bill/Cruise that he’s been roughed-up and sent home and is likely banging Mrs. Nick even as they speak though Pollack may know nothing of Nick’s private life (OTOH he has Bill followed). And Nick originally bragged about the secret orgy and told Bill of how incredible the women were when he sneaked a peek under the blindfold which perks Bill’s interest. Bill seems odd in his awkwardness around women throughout the film given his handsomeness and his pleasant manner and the fact of his being a doctor an male occupation highly attractive to many women. His reluctance to get anywhere when he receives so much female attention raises questions. Is he supposed to be very rusty after years of monogamy? As a medical student/intern wouldn’t he have gotten a lot of action? (What is the reputation of young doctors and nurses even in the nineteen fifties?) Would it be that hard to get back in the swing of things especially when a man like Bill/Cruise is pushing at an open door?

  49. There is the encounter between Dr. Bill and the hotel desk clerk played by Alan Cumming who gives a very fruity performance and clearly likes Bill a lot and looks quite keen to help him with his enquiry.

    If you buy my theory that the scene with Bill being taunted as a faggot was only included as a gratuitous anti-discrimination message, then this scene with the hotel clerk should be seen as its complement. Whereas the first scene educates the audience about how awfully gays are treated by society – by white male devils, in particular – this scene educates the audience about how gays should be treated – ie don’t even notice they’re gay – particularly by respectable pillar-of-society types like Bill, the doctor. (Every time Bill flashes that doctor’s ID card the seas just part for him – makes me wanna print up a fake and try that lol.) And the reason the clerk’s behavior is so conspicuously fruity is to leave no doubt that he’s gay, else the audience might miss it.

    • Replies: @R.G. Camara
  50. @Priss Factor

    To be sure, we don’t how sincere she is. Is she hamming it up a bit to make Bill sympathize with her? After all, when he woke her up, she was giggling in her dream, or seemingly having a good time, not panic-stricken over being gang-raped

    That thought did occur to me as I was rewatching it for this thread. Not just hamming it up, but actually continuing the humiliation. By caressing him as she’s faux-tearfully relating the details of the dream, she’s foreclosing on the possibility of him getting upset while still rubbing his face in sexual humiliation. Now if that’s what she was up to, that is simply apex royal bitch territory, it’s Jew-cries-out-in-pain-as-he-strikes-you levels of manipulation.

    But that’s so ‘homophobic’!

    Yeah, in much the same way that Jesus! (as a curse) is ‘Christophobic’. Just as Jesus-as-curse signifies a defiance of the Christian value system, so my use of faggot as curse signifies defiance of the globohomo value system.

  51. This is the movie that convinced me that Kubrick, an apparent life-long atheist/agnostic, had finally come to believe in God.

    Because the movie depicts “wrong” and “evil” that we all know is evil, and yet the difficulty is trying to figure out why we know such things are evil. And Bill struggles with understanding why he instinctively knows that cheating on your spouse, selling your daughter into prostitution, sleeping with a prostitute, murder, and satanic orgies are “evil” without any outside reference.

    By setting it at Christmas, but without any mention of Christ or Christianity, Kubrick is saying: because that outside reference is God. We cannot know why we know why these things are wrong and evil without the outside influence of God, which Kubrick skillfully keeps out of reach of Bill just as he keeps it out of frame or mention to us.

  52. @silviosilver

    particularly by respectable pillar-of-society types like Bill, the doctor. (Every time Bill flashes that doctor’s ID card the seas just part for him – makes me wanna print up a fake and try that lol.)

    Bill’s doctor ID gives him a pass into a higher world to which he doesn’t belong but can visit.

    Irony: Nick failed med school, and Bill succeeded, so Bill got the “passcode” to be a doctor and visit the rich and powerful in a limited way, while Nick cannot use the doctor passcode. But Nick got the passcode to the orgies in a limited way (blindfolded, and not as a participant), while Bill cannot use the orgy passcode — and when he does he is soon sniffed out and severely scared into never using again.

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