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“Eyes Wide Shut”
The Austrian Connection

Arthur Schnitzler's Traumnovelle

The Austrian Arthur Schnitzler wrote
Traumnovelle in the 1920's. It is the
basis for the 1999 film "Eyes Wide Shut."

Released in North America on July 16, 1999, Stanley Kubrick's last film, "Eyes Wide Shut," starring Tom Cruise and his then spouse Nicole Kidman, is based on a novella by the Austrian author, playwright, and physician Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931). (See the DVD/video below.)

Schnitzler's Traumnovelle ("Dream Novella") was first published in 1926. It has long been available in English translation with the title Dream Story or Dream Novel. Schnitzler was a contemporary and friend of fellow Viennese Sigmund Freud, but the two had very different theories and approaches to human sexuality. Traumnovelle reflects Schnitzler's then shocking views on the subject in the 1920s.

Director Stanley Kubrick, who died on March 7, 1999, only months before the release of "Eyes Wide Shut," had wanted to make a picture based on Schnitzler's story ever since first reading it around 1968. (Kubrick was born in New York City just two years after the first appearance of Traumnovelle.) Kubrick bought the rights to "Dream Story" through an intermediary, but did nothing with it for over 20 years.

Dream Story When the Austrian novella finally became a screenplay, the original fin de siècle Viennese characters of Fridolin and Albertine turned into Bill (William) and Alice in turn-of-the-century New York. The married couple's "Doppelexistenz" and their struggle to distinguish between dreams and reality are the theme of the book and the film.

Below you'll find links to the video, film commentary, and to Schnitzler's Traumnovelle book in the original German or in English translation.

DVD - Video

Directed by Stanley Kubrick
The film based on Arthur Schnitzler's original Traumnovelle with a screenplay by Kubrick and Frederic Raphael. DVD.

Directed by Stanley Kubrick
The film based on Arthur Schnitzler's original Traumnovelle with a screenplay by Kubrick and Frederic Raphael. VHS version.

Related Books

by Michael Chion
This BFI/Univ. of California Press paperback edition is an analysis of Kubrick's film.

by Arthur Schnitzler
This is an English translation of Schnitzler's Traumnovelle upon which EYES WIDE SHUT is based. Set in early 20th-century Vienna, the novella was published in 1926 and was heavily influenced by Freudianism. It tells the story of a married couple's sexual fantasies and how they affect their relationships. See the original German book below.

by Arthur Schnitzler
The original German version from Amazon.de. Paperback.

Traumnovelle / Eyes Wide Shut
by Arthur Schnitzler, Stanley Kubrick
Schnitzler's original German Novelle and the "Eyes" Drehbuch (script) from Amazon.de. (This is the German version of the "Eyes Wide Shut" book above.) Paperback.

Related Links

The German-Hollywood Connection
About the many connections between Hollywood and the German-speaking world—yesterday and today. By Hyde Flippo.

Authors in German Literature
Austrian, German, and German-Swiss authors, including Schnitzler.

German Literature
Web links and other resources for German literature. From your Guide.

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