" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

August 23, 2016

The Wonderland and Rainbow World of The Wizard of Oz in Eyes Wide Shut?

I finally read Arthur Schnitzler's novella, 'Dream Story', which was the basic story-line Stanley Kubrick used to construct his movie 
'Eyes Wide Shut'.
My Eyes Wide Shut book that I bought for $5, Easter Monday in Brunswick Heads.
I wrote a few months ago about picking up the book pictured above in a second hand store at Easter in this post linked below in red -
Sidewalk Oracles: Walking with Eyes Wide Open
But I never did get the complete series of Allan Moore's Prometha comic books the store owner promised me in that post, as he wouldn't split the set and promised me I could have the set when he found the missing comic when he unpacked the rest of the stock he had out the back of the shop.
After calling the guy a few times and telling him to ring me when he found the missing book, he never got back to me about them and I decided that it wasn't meant to be and saved my money.
Can't say that I'm not pissed off about it though.
Anyway, getting back to the insights I gained from reading  
'Dream Story' and Kubrick's movie script it became clear to me that Kubrick was going to associate Bill's journey to the rainbow world of 'The Wizard of Oz' and Alice's journey to the reflective mirror world of Wonderland.
Alice and Bill's journey is about to get curiouser and curiouser

Do you see the cat painting on the wall (above) behind Alice?-)
Hence, after the Christmas party where Bill saves the "girl" OD'd in the the bathroom, who later saves him from Red Cloak at the masked ball, Bill's journey in Oz is shown through the use of rainbow coloured Christmas lights, and Alice's journey in her fantasy dream/drug induced Wonderland world is shown through shades of blue and mirrors.

Helena watching a rabbit (Bugs Bunny) while Alice is off in Wonderland

I wonder why July 16th?-)
It is Alice who is looking into the "silver" Mirror in the movie poster for the movie after-all and it is Alice who keeps her drugs behind the bathroom mirror.
Shades of Alice's blue dress in that shower curtain?-)

Hmm...holding pot in the hand that Alice's wedding ring is on?
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland takes place in Alice’s dream, so that the characters and phenomena of the real world mix with elements of Alice’s unconscious state. The dream motif explains the abundance of nonsensical and disparate events in the story. As in a dream, the narrative follows the dreamer as she encounters various episodes in which she attempts to interpret her experiences in relationship to herself and her world. Though Alice’s experiences lend themselves to meaningful observations, they resist a singular and coherent interpretation.

Alice quickly discovers during her travels that the only reliable aspect of Wonderland that she can count on is that it will frustrate her expectations and challenge her understanding of the natural order of the world. In Wonderland, Alice finds that her lessons no longer mean what she thought, as she botches her multiplication tables and incorrectly recites poems she had memorized while in Wonderland. Even Alice’s physical dimensions become warped as she grows and shrinks erratically throughout the story. Wonderland frustrates Alice’s desires to fit her experiences in a logical framework where she can make sense of the relationship between cause and effect.

Kubrick has shot this movie on multi-layered levels of storytelling like most of his movies since "2001", I presume, but I'll tell you why I think Kubrick went the Oz/Wonderland route with Bill (banknote?) and Alice.
Bill somewhere over the rainbow way up high?
Kubrick I think has used the allegory or metaphor for the political, economic and social events of America in the 1890s like   
L. Frank Baum's story most probably did, and tried to bring that allegory up to date for the time of making 'Eyes Wide Shut'.
Political interpretations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
"Biographers report that Baum had been a political activist in the 1890s with a special interest in the money question of gold and silver, and the illustrator Denslow was a full-time editorial cartoonist for a major daily newspaper."
Bill (banknote?) ripping a $100 dollar bill in half for the Yellow cab driver
One half  of the bill is in a sinister looking black gloved hand the other in an ungloved hand
"In a 1964 article, educator and historian Henry Littlefield outlined an allegory in the book of the late 19th-century debate regarding monetary policy. 
According to this view, for instance, the "Yellow Brick Road" represents the gold standard, and the silver slippers (ruby in the 1939 film version) represent the Silverite sixteen to one silver ratio (dancing down the road)
The thesis achieved considerable popular interest and elaboration by many scholars in history, economics and other fields, but is not universally accepted."
The dollar bill isn't linked to any precious metal today though.
Bill in a Yellow (brick road?) Cab on the "Highway to Hell"?
Kubrick changed the names in the original story to Bill for Fridolin and Alice for
Albertina and named the daughter Helena.
The author of 'The Wizard of Oz' was also a member of the Theosophical Society, with Helena Blavatsky being a major influence in that society.  
"Theosophy comes from the Greek theosophia (θεοσοφία), which combines theos (θεός), 'God' and sophia (σοφία), 'wisdom', meaning 'Divine wisdom'. 
From the late 19th century onward, the term Theosophy has generally been used to refer to the religio-philosophic doctrines of the Theosophical Society, founded in New York City in 1875 
by Helena Blavatsky, William Quan Judge, and Henry Steel Olcott
Blavatsky's major work, The Secret Doctrine (1888), was one of the foundational works of modern theosophy."
What I didn't know until I read the script to EWS is that the girl in the "silver" dress is named Gayle, as in a nod to Dorothy Gale of 'The Wizard of Oz' who gets blown to Oz in a dream tornado, maybe?
Gayle tells Bill how she first saw him while doing a photo shoot at Rockefeller (banker) Plaza
on a very windy day.
Alice with her pot-headed fantasies against the blue light of the bathroom
Alice is mainly seen in front of, or looking into mirrors until she smokes the joint she pulled out from behind the mirror and then she confronts Bill with her jealousies and fantasies and from then on Kubrick seems to put Alice in Wonder-land by setting her in front of a mirror, or in blue clothing, or against blue lit backgrounds and in blue (nighttime) light settings.
In this scene Alice moves between the mirror, blue window and blue tinged bathroom
Bill on the other-hand when he starts his adventure when he leaves his apartment and hits the "road" will seem to be nearly always around rainbow like Christmas lights, like he is on some dark-side of the rainbow trip.

We're off to see the wizard?
In fact, Bill seems to end his journey from Oz later in the movie by switching his own Christmas tree off when he returns home and finds Alice sleeping next to his mask. 
From Oz and...
...into Alice's blue world?
Kubrick remains fairly true to the original Arthur Schnitzler's novella's themes (for once;-), but he also seems to be showing something way more frightening when it comes to society's secrets and not so much secret societies. 
Historian Quentin Taylor says the Cowardly Lion in 'The Wizard of Oz' story is a metaphor for William Jennings Bryan.
Could this also have been a reason for Kubrick to change the name Fridolin to Bill for his movie and why Bill seems to chicken out on his quest to see who is behind the curtain?
Mentmore Towers
The Grand Hall at Mentmore. Aged just six months, Hannah de Rothschild laid the foundation stone for the great mansion on 31 December 1851
Of course the Red Cloak/masked ball scene was filmed inside
Mentmore Towers, which is a 19th-century English country house built for the Rothschild family (bankers) in the village of Mentmore in Buckinghamshire.
We even see a maid and a baby-sitter are named Roz and Rose.
"The Latin phrase sub rosa means "under the rose", and is used in English to denote secrecy or confidentiality, similar to the  
Chatham House Rule
The rose as a symbol of secrecy has an ancient history."
"The rose has held a deeply symbolic significance in many times and cultures as a symbol of maternal creativity and of the yoni or feminine generative power. 
The literal rose and its essence or attar has also played a role in religious and spiritual rites which ofttimes would have been held in secret."
'Eyes Wide Shut' was Kubrick's last film, as he died four days after showing his final cut to Warner Bros. Pictures.
The rumour mill was suggesting Stanley displeased some VIPs in the real world with this film and was silenced, much like Mandy in EWS.
My censored shot of Mandy OD'd in the bathroom at the Christmas party
In the opening of the movie Bill saves the life of a "lady of the night", who has OD'd on heroin and coke in
Ziegler's bathroom at the Christmas party he and his wife had thrown and Ziegler is caught with his pants down in this situation literally.

Cupid and Psyche

Poppies and sleep in 'The Wizard of Oz'
"Run fast," said the Scarecrow to the Lion, "and get out of this deadly flower bed as soon as you can. 
We will bring the little girl with us, but if you should fall asleep you are too big to be carried."
Heroin is of course made from poppies.
And to quote Cristina Hartmann,"Poppies have a long history of symbolism in literature that transcends the Chinese Opium Wars."    
Brings to mind the East India Company, you might want to look them up in histories Yellow Pages?-) 
The East India Company: The original corporate raiders
Company flag after 1801

Maybe that explains Alice's naval officer fantasies a little better, as well?-)
And check out those bizarre dragon/fish/lions decorating the fireplace in that bathroom shot in EWS above.
Looks a bit like something you might see on the East India Company coat of arms, don't you think?
Cristina Hartman also tells us that, "civilizations have used poppies to represent sleep, peace, and death throughout history.
Greek and Roman myths referred to poppies as offerings to the dead. 

Specifically, Greeks laid poppies at Demeter's shrine. 
Egyptians placed poppies in burial tombs. 
Tombstones also often featured poppy emblems, solidifying the connection between the flower and death.
I'd surmise that poppies remind people of sleep, peace, and death because of their effect on people. 

When you're high on opium (I assume, of course), you enter a slumber-like state where you don't much care about anything. 
The apathetic state is quite peaceful in a way, but quite dangerous."
I think it was interesting that Kubrick cast all the major seducers in Bill's adventure as red headed, or strawberry blonde women, who looked like variations of his wife Alice.
And all those paintings of gardens and fruit on the walls of the Hartford's apartment could it mean something like this -
The Garden
Nearly every object in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland functions as a symbol, but nothing clearly represents one particular thing. The symbolic resonances of Wonderland objects are generally contained to the individual episode in which they appear. Often the symbols work together to convey a particular meaning. The garden may symbolize the Garden of Eden, an idyllic space of beauty and innocence that Alice is not permitted to access. On a more abstract level, the garden may simply represent the experience of desire, in that Alice focuses her energy and emotion on trying to attain it. The two symbolic meanings work together to underscore Alice’s desire to hold onto her feelings of childlike innocence that she must relinquish as she matures.  
I also think it was a master stroke of Kubrick to cast a real-life A-list Hollywood husband and wife couple as the main characters in this movie.
Talk about art imitating life and vice versa, but Stanley did you have to die for your art to make it more eerier?
I mean WTF?! (see ending of movie to get this "joke"...maybe?-)
I think Stanley went to the grave with a load of big secrets, some he seems to have hinted at with cryptic clues he placed in his greatest movies and fans will be trying to decipher those for years to come, I think.
No wonder he wanted to be buried under a monkey-puzzle tree.

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