MARK KAMRATH University of Central Florida ROUNDTABLE Eyes Wide Shut and the Cultural Poetics of Eighteenth-Century American Periodical Literature The image of ``A FEMALE Algonquin being taken by the Iroquois . . . [and] carried by them to one of their villages, stripped naked, bound hand and foot'' can, at first glance, hardly be compared to Stanley Kubrick's erotic camera shot of Nicole Kidman's bare backside or the sequence of soft-porn orgy scenes in Eyes Wide Shut. According to reviewers, Kubrick's film fared miserably at the box office, failing, on the one hand, to convince us that Cruise's or Kidman's character pursues sexual desires in realistic ways and, on the other, to develop the screenplay in a manner that rises above the plot and concerns of the 1929 Viennese novella-- Arthur Schnitzler's Dream Rhapsody--upon which it was based. To paraphrase more than one critic, with its anachronistic use of marijuana and sexual foreplay, heavy formalist tendencies, and, at the end, self-indulgent morality concerning marriage, Kubrick finally made a movie that is so discordant or schizophrenic that it is actually more interesting to ``analyze'' than to see.1 Similar perhaps to the manner in which a film like Eyes Wide
Early American Literature – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Dec 5, 2002
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