[ continued from page 3 ]
"We did shoot some of the street stuff on real London streets, and for those scenes I occasionally created an overall nighttime ambience with a big blue 18K fixture mounted on a cherrypicker. We didnt do that so much on our New York street sets, though, because the practical lights were usually enough to create a good atmosphere."
Smith notes that the filmmakers applied a classic trick in a rather unusual manner for a few medium shots of Harford walking restlessly along Manhattan streets. "In some of the scenes, the backgrounds were rear-projection plates," the cinematographer reveals. "Generally, when Toms facing the camera, the backgrounds are rear-projected; anything that shows him from a side view was done on the streets of London. We had the plates shot in New York by a second unit [that included cinematographers Patrick Turley, Malik Sayeed and Arthur Jafa]. Once the plates were sent to us, we had them force-developed and balanced to the necessary levels. Wed then go onto our street sets and shoot Tom walking on a treadmill. After setting the treadmill to a certain speed, wed put some lighting effects on him to simulate the glow from the various storefronts that were passing by in the plates. We spent a few weeks on those shots."
Eight more weeks were required to capture the films visual centerpiece: a baroque, ritualistic orgy staged in an elegant mansion by powerful members of societys upper crust. Concealed beneath a mask and dark cloak, Dr. Harford watches in astonishment as an imposing red-robed figure consecrates a circle of nearly nude women, who then select partners from the crowd of costumed onlookers. The physician soon finds himself touring the mansions many rooms, where the masked revelers engage in a salacious display of sexual abandon.
The sequence was shot in Norfolk, England, at an estate that featured an array of Indian architectural flourishes, including a very high, domed ceiling. "In order to light the mansions main room, we installed a big truss rig up in the dome," Smith explains. "Mounted in the truss was a Martin PAL 1200 unit, which we rented from a rock n roll lighting company in London; it has a 1.2K HMI lamp inside that bounces off an adjustable mirror, and you can put different kinds of gobos in it. The truss also held a couple of Martin MAC 500s, which are from the same family of lighting instruments; we used those to light the people standing just beyond the ceremonial circle. To provide some overall fill, we set up some space lights as well. That was our basic setup in the main room, although I did use a couple of small spots for close-ups of the man in the red cloak.
"The shots where Toms character begins gliding from room to room were done with the Steadicam," Smith adds. "Once again, we used practical lights for those scenes. I also had some wooden plinths made, and we used those to hide some lights that raked up the columns in the rooms, so youd never see a direct light. There were a few ceiling lights here or there, and a couple of wall lights, but that was it."
In U.S. prints of the film, digital figures were addedat the behest of the Motion Picture Association of Americato obscure the most explicit action in the orgy sequence. Asked for his opinion on this controversial edict, Smith says simply, "Naturally, Id have preferred if [the MPAA] hadnt required that, but Stanley had to comply in order to get an R rating. In Europe, the digital figures wont be there. Personally, I dont think its that big a deal, but European viewers will certainly see much more going on in those scenes!"
A key aspect of the films visual design is its meticulous color structure; throughout Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick uses a veritable rainbow of bold colors to underscore the emotional subtexts of various scenes. These hues cover the entire range of the spectrumthe seductive lavender of a prostitutes dress and bedsheets; the warm oranges and deep blues that dominate the Harfords apartment; the glaring, blank whites of the physicians office; and a crimson red that signals danger throughout the picture, particularly in the orgy interrogators flowing robes and the felt surface of Victor Zieglers pool table. The films script even seems to make sly reference to this strategy on several occasions: when the two leggy models approach Harford at Zieglers Christmas party, they offer to take him on a sexual excursion to "the end of the rainbow," and when the doctor seeks to obtain a mask and cloak for the orgy, he eventually rents them from the Rainbow Costume Shop.
Deluxe U.K.s Chester Eyre submits that the director "had his own ideas about what each picture should look like, and what he was trying to achieve with it. He had a fixed idea about the color of each sequence, and he would strive with you to obtain that color, even if it had no relation to the preceding sequence. He was always focused on the mood that could be achieved with a certain color. In the case of Eyes Wide Shut, Stanley actually supplied us with information about the red, green and blue [timing] lights. He would look at what had been shot the previous day, mentally adjust the colors, write the specifications on the camera sheets he gave to us, and then request certain color combinations that hed devised with Larry Smith on the set. Normally, its left to the laboratory to assess the color of the negative. A filmmaker might ask us to print something a certain waysay, dark and redbut Stanley was asking for specific combinations of colors."
A striking example of this strategy is the Harfords apartment, with its mix of warm tones and blue light. Although these scenes were lit mainly by practical household fixtures, Smith used other instruments to add the vivid blue tones. "The blue we used was very saturated, much bluer than natural moonlight would be, but we didnt care about thatwe just went for a hue that was interesting," Smith says. "I used open-faced clear glass arcs to get that particular color, and to create shafts of light that would bring out the sharpness of the blinds. It was an over-the-top blue, but it complemented the orange light very nicely and gave those scenes an intriguing look."
For close-ups, Smith would duplicate the colors with smaller fixtures. "If we were shooting in blue light, wed use a blue Chinese lantern for the closer shots," he details. "If we were dealing with the orange hue, Id simply dim down the household bulbs to get a warmer feeling. Most of the movie is at either extreme either very rich and warm, or very blue and cold."
Reflecting upon his collaboration with the one of cinemas greatest directors, Smith concludes, "Working with Stanley was a great privilege, and Im very thankful that I met him and got that chance. However, I dont think my lasting memories of him will necessarily relate to our interactions on the set. The moments Ill always remember will be those times when wed be in his office or at the house, drinking some coffee and talking about cricket, football or movies. Stanley had a great sense of humor, and he always had this mischievous little twinkle in his eyes. Thats what Ill miss the most."