Frederic Raphael’s book Eyes Wide Open covers his experience and relationship with Stanley Kubrick while both worked on the adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s Dream Story into Eyes Wide Shut.
I’m drawn to this book not because I might gain a greater understanding of Kubrick’s last film, or even from an interest in the description of his recluse environment and eccentric ways (which are nonetheless enjoyable) but what really drives me through Raphael’s pages are the conversations, the tidbits of information divulged about Kubrick’s ideas about and taste in film.
Since Schnitzler’s novel concerns dreams and the question of what is real and what is not, it is inevitable that Raphael and Kubrick must confront the subject and how to handle it. As recent movies seem dominated with dreams, I found these two excerpts appropriate.
When Raphael hints that the whole of Schnitzler’s story is meant to be read as a dream…
Kubrick: It can’t all be a dream.
Raphael: Because that’s not what Schnitzler meant, or beacuse it’s not what you want?
Kubrick: If there’s no reality, there’s no movie.
A similar notion is communicated later, this time by Raphael in a small Hollywood anecdote…
“The story about Louis Malle, when he had just made Black Moon at a budget of two million dollars. Billy Wilder asked him what it was about. Louis said, ‘Well, Billy, it’s sort of… a dream within a dream.’ Wilder said, ‘You’ve just lost two million dollars.’ And so they had.”