Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Eyes Wide Shut (1999, UK)

In Stanley Kubrick's final film about marriage and sexual jealousy - see review (link above) for full set of images and scenes:

  • the opening full length shot of the backside of a woman in high heels who slid off her black dress and revealed her slender nude body; Alice Harford (Nicole Kidman) and her wealthy husband, NYC doctor William "Bill" Harford (Tom Cruise) of nine years, dressed in a tuxedo, were preparing for a Christmas party
Opening Strip-Tease Pre-Credits Sequence
  • the annual, fashionable Christmas season party of high-society elites held at on Madison Avenue in mid-town Manhattan at the apartment of host Victor Ziegler (Sydney Pollack); the slightly drunken Alice - miffed that she was left alone and knew no one - was the first to be propositioned at the bar by cooly suave Hungarian Sandor Szavost (Sky Dumont), who questioned her betrothal vows: "Don't you think one of the charms of marriage is that it makes deception a necessity for both parties? May I ask why a beautiful woman who could have any man in this room, wants to be married?...You know why women used to get married, don't you?... It was the only way they could lose their virginity and be free to do what they wanted with other men. The ones they really wanted"
  • meanwhile, Bill was being led away by two flirtatious models dressed in skin-tight, almost sheer gowns: ash blonde Gayle (Louise J. Taylor) in silver-green and brunette Nuala Windsor (Stewart Thorndike) in a burgundy-colored dress; however, he was called away by a sexually-immoral incident involving hooker/drug-abuser Amanda 'Mandy' Curran (Julienne Davis), who was completely naked and passed out in Ziegler's bedroom-boudoir; Dr. Bill Harford attended to her and revived her, saving Ziegler's reputation
Overdosed 'Mandy' in Ziegler's Bedroom During Christmas Party
  • after returning home from the Ziegler party, the highly sensationalized love-making scene of the narcissistic Harfords sexually aroused and caressing and kissing each other, to the tune of Chris Isaak's "Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing"
  • the scene in Dr. Harford's office in an examination room, when he briefly examined the heartbeat of a beautiful, starkly, half-naked female patient with his stethoscope, and then passively instructed: "That's fine, you can put your gown on"
  • the intense pot-smoking conversation - a confessional-disclosure scene between the couple as they began to talk about their separate encounters with their would-be seducers at Ziegler's Christmas party; he asserted that his profession was "very impersonal," that he always remained "professional," and that sex was the last thing on his mind; when he also strongly asserted that women were very different from men, and did not fantasize about immoral deeds: "Women don't - they basically just don't think like that" - for the sake of argument - she mocked his idea that only men, in contrast to women, had very base, sexual instincts after millions of years of evolution: "If you men only knew!"
Alice's Bedroom Confessional Scene

The Harfords: Both in their Underwear

Alice's Recollection of Fantasy

Bill's Imagined Fearful Fantasy of Alice's Affair with Naval Officer
  • in the next part of their discussion, she confessed to an imagined, lustful fantasy of infidelity (an 'affair') a year earlier with a white-suited naval officer (often viewed in Bill's mind in bluish tones, interspersed throughout the film); she contemplated risking her domestic life and marriage by carrying through on the dalliance for just one night ("I was ready to give up everything")
  • the beginning of Bill's long two-night wanderings and amorous odyssey when he received numerous tempting offers of marital infidelity from many different women (including an engaged female and a prostitute); he was first tempted at the bedside of a deceased patient by the dead man's grieving daughter Miss Marion Nathanson (Marie Richardson), who was engaged to be married; later in the evening, he was invited into the "cozy" place by a street hooker in a black/white striped fur jacket named Domino (Vinessa Shaw), but when he was about to engage in sex for $150, he was 'saved' by a phone call from Alice who subliminally 'knew' that Bill was about to cheat
  • another stop along Bill's journey was a dream-like sequence experienced in the Rainbow Fashions Costume Shop - where he ordered "a tux, a cloak with a hood, and a mask" from shop owner Mr. Milich (Rade Serbedzija) - with plans to attend a nocturnal event (a ritualistic orgy/party); he also met up with the shop proprietor's underaged, innocent, bra and panties-adorned, teenaged daughter (Leelee Sobieski) who was entertaining (pimping herself out) to two thong-wearing Japanese men
  • the central sequence was a superbly-choreographed and directed orgy scene held in Long Island (at a remote country manor); Bill entered using the significant password: "Fidelio"; other male members wore black cloaks and extravagant masks and females nothing but high heels, black thongs, and masks (with the eerie organ score "Masked Ball" by Jocelyn Pook); a Black Mass was in progress - Satanic-like incantations by the party's host were made by a crimson-cloaked high-priest Master of Ceremonies (Leon Vitali) in the middle of a "magic circle" of black-cloaked figures
Masked Ceremony In Progress at Long Island Manor
  • the masked Harford was paired up with a mannequin-like female (Abigail Good) (a Mysterious Woman in the credits), identified by a large dark blue feathered headdress, who gave him a soulless, ritualized and dehumanized kiss, and then led him down a red-carpeted hallway-corridor; she whispered words of caution to him: "I'm not sure what you think you're doing. But you don't belong here...Please, don't be foolish. You must go now - before she was interrupted and taken away
  • the most controversial sequence (noted for its sexually-explicit images) followed as Bill strolled through the various rooms - although various images were digitally-edited/obscured in some versions; emotionless, depraved, loveless copulating couples were seen in mechanical and sterile stances of intercourse - front and rear entry, also a 69 sexual position, and a lesbian three-some, while many participants passively and voyeuristically watched
  • soon after, an unidentified nude female came up to Harford and asked: "Have you been enjoying yourself?" She propositioned him: "Do you want to go somewhere a little more private?" When he replied: "That might be a good idea," they were interrupted by the appearance of the Mysterious Woman again (was it Mandy?) - she led him away, but promised to return him in a few minutes. She again warned him about more danger: "You can't fool them for much longer. You've got to get away before it's too late." When he asked her identity, she responded: "You don't want to know. But you must go, now!" She refused to leave with him: "It could cost me my life and possibly yours."
  • when Bill was discovered to be an interloper, he was brought before the entire black-garbed court, and ordered to remove his clothes; the Mysterious Woman (on the second floor balcony) called out: "Stop! Let him go! Take me! I am ready to redeem him." Harford was freed and led away, while she sacrificially volunteered herself to be punished instead of Harford
  • upon his return home at 4 am, Bill came upon Alice and woke her up from a horrifying and lewd nightmare that she was having of experiencing an orgy ("Then there were all these other people around us, hundreds of them, everywhere. Everyone was f--king. And then I-I was f--king other men"); later as he watched Alice from the kitchen, he realized how angelic, intelligent (with her glasses) and motherly she was, although just a few hours earlier, she had portrayed a prostitute-whore in her nightmare dream; in voice-over, he heard her repeat her rendition of the dream, as she smiled at him

Right After the Nightmare

The Next Day Bill Recalled Alice's Words
  • as Bill revisited places from his nocturnal journey the next day, Bill was told the results of Domino's blood test that morning; they revealed that Domino was HIV-positive - fortunately, he had not slept with her
  • the scene of Bill's realization, through a newspaper article titled: "Ex-beauty queen in hotel drugs overdose" - that 30 year-old ex-beauty queen Amanda "Mandy" Curran, a former Miss New York, was found unconscious in her Florence Hotel room - she was rushed in her unconscious state to New York Hospital where she later died; Bill visited her at the morgue (had she deliberately overdosed or was it simply an accident or suicide?); when Harford looked down at her, he was urged to kiss her face - her death mask; Was she the Mysterious Woman at the orgy - and was her death the end result of saving him?
  • as the film concluded, Bill was summoned to meet with Ziegler in his luxurious apartment - Ziegler threatened Bill for attending the orgy, and cautioned about the dangerous situation that he had put himself in with supremely powerful and influential people; he also delivered a veil threat: "At the house. I saw everything that went on. Bill - what the hell did you think you were doing? I couldn't even begin to imagine how you'd heard about it, let alone got yourself through the door...I don't think you realize what kind of trouble you were in last night. Who do you think those people were? Those were not just ordinary people there"; Bill asked the crucial question about the mystery of Mandy's death, wondering how her "fake" act or "charade" (of saving him) could end up with her in the morgue? ("Do you mind telling me what kind of f--king charade ends with somebody turning up dead?"); Ziegler - who appeared to be lying and covering up the circumstances surrounding Mandy's death, turned aggressive and intimidating as he tried to reassure Bill that Mandy's death had nothing to do with the masked party ("Nothing happened to her after you left that party that hadn't happened to her before. She got her brains f--ked out. Period. When they took her home, she was just fine and the rest is right there in the paper. She was a junkie. She OD'd"); it was very conceivable that Ziegler was involved and present with Mandy during her OD in the hotel when the police arrived, but wanted it covered up; Ziegler's last few words to Bill masked a death threat: "Life goes on - it always does, until it doesn't"
Ziegler's Threats Toward Dr. Harford Regarding the Orgy -
A Cover-up of Mandy's Murder???
  • in the film's truth-telling resolution, Bill's misplaced rental mask was resting on his pillow next to Alice; it represented his own self-deception and lost individuality during his two-night search; now chastened, he realized the damage that he had potentially caused for his relationship and marriage with Alice; his sobbing awakened Alice, who embraced him in her arms - as he admitted his guilt and confessed everything that had happened to him ("I'll tell you everything") - that he had almost cheated on her
  • the final sequence was the Harford family's Christmas shopping trip to a toy store; Bill and Alice seemed to have safely emerged from their dangerous adventures of infidelity - reconciled and now both valuing marital fidelity; they had both survived traumatic, deceptive, baffling 'dream' encounters in the shadowy night to return 'redeemed' to each other - grateful to be alive (Bill noted that they could learn from their dreams: "And no dream is ever just a dream"); Alice expressed to him her uncensored desire to make love without their deceptive masks, but with real 'eyes wide open' intimacy - in the film's final lines of dialogue: "I do love you and you know there is something very important we need to do as soon as possible...F--k."
Film's Last Lines

The Harfords Dancing Together at the Ziegler Christmas Party

Alice with the Debauched Hungarian

Bill with Two Young 'Models': A Threesome

After Ziegler Party: The Infamous Kissing Before Mirror Sequence

Dr. Harford's Exam Room

Dr. Harford Tempted by Dead Patient's Engaged Daughter Marion

Bill Offered Sex by Prostitute Domino (Vinessa Shaw)

Costume Shop Owner's Daughter (Leelee Sobieski)

Harford at the Masked Orgy

Sterile and Soulless Kiss

Harford Selected by Woman in Blue Feathered Headdress - and Warned

Controversial Scenes of Sex During Harford's Stroll

Unidentified Female
with Bill Harford

Mysterious Woman: "May I borrow him for just a few minutes?"

Another Warning: "But you must go, now!..because it could cost me my life, and possibly yours"

Bill Unmasked

Mysterious Woman on Second Floor Balcony: "Stop! Let him go! Take me!"

"Mandy" in Morgue

Bill's Rental Mask Next to Alice

Bill's Confessional to Alice


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