Editor’s Note: We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of the terrible events in the news recently. Our guest, Bilge Ebiri, is a staffer at New York Magazine, and the editors there have assembled a great resource via The Strategist entitled 61 Ways to Donate in Support of Asian Communities. Please take a look and donate if you can. Be kind to each other, always.

Welcome to The B-Side, from The Film Stage. Here we talk about movie directors! Not the movies that made them famous or kept them famous, but the ones that they made in between.

Today we’re trying something new – again!. This is the second episode of what we are calling The Final Frame. Here we will dissect the final film of a great, well-respected filmmaker, wrapped in the context of said filmmaker’s entire career. Our subject today: the insurmountable Stanley Kubrick. His final film: Eyes Wide Shut, starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Released in 1999, this adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s 1926 novella Traumnovelle was given a plum, summer blockbuster release by its studio Warner Bros. It was sold as a salacious piece of work from arguably the world’s greatest filmmaker (who passed away months before the film’s release) starring the biggest couple in Hollywood.

Conor and I were humbled to be joined by the lovely Bilge Ebiri, film critic for New York Magazine and Vulture. Bilge discusses his great piece of reporting, “An Oral History of an Orgy,” in which he dives deep into the inception, evolution, and creation of one of the most iconic scenes in the film. We chat about the movie’s initial reception, its dwindling box office, and two-decade long rehabilitation. 

Additional topics include how many times I’ve watched Eyes Wide Shut, that ranking of every Tom Cruise that Bilge did for Rolling Stone, Roger Ebert and Martin Scorsese’s early defense of the picture, the eccentricities of Stanley Kubrick, and posisiting what a Luis Bunuel-directed Eyes Wide Shut would look like.

Much is referenced from the book Eyes Wide Shut: Stanley Kubrick and the Making of His Final Film, by by Robert P. Kolker and Nathan Abrams, and to a lesser degree co-screenwriter Frederic Raphael’s controversial memoir Eyes Wide Open.

For more from The B-Side, you can find every actor/director and the films discussed in one place here.

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