Saturday, December 10, 2016

Schnitzler's DREAM STORY: A Nymphet's Invitation to a Three-Way


Schnitzler's Dream Story was the inspiration for Eyes Wide Shut (1999). The scenes that are the most relevant for this blog are very similar in the novella and Kubrick's film. 

In the film, Dr. Harford (Tom Cruise) visits the Rainbow costume boutique to purchase a cloak and mask to attend a masquerade (i.e., orgy). While perusing the racks, Milich, the owner, discovers that his young daughter is having a three-way with two middle-aged Asian men. When Milich violently confronts the Asian men, "Couldn't you see she's a child?" They inform Milich that his young daughter invited them to the orgy: 

"Are you crazy? We were invited here by the young lady." 
"This is preposterous. The young lady invited us here?" 

However, Milich eventually consents to the three-way between his "child" and the two Asian men.

In the novella, a "graceful little girl" who was further described as a "young and charming girl, still almost a child, wearing a Pierrette costume" was discovered frolicking with "[t]wo men, dressed in the red robes of vehmic judges" as "a fragrance of roses and powder arose from her delicate breasts". "There was a smile of impish desire in her eyes."

"Gentlemen," cried Gibiser [the nymphet's father], "you will stay here while I call the police." 

"What's got into you?" they exclaimed, and continued as if with one voice: "We were invited by the young lady." 


A subtle difference between the novella and film is that only one of the men exited the nymphet's room the next day "with an open top-coat over his evening clothes [...] waved his hand to Gibiser, lighted a cigarette with a match from the desk, and left the apartment."

There was another scene in the novella that featured "quite a young girl, possibly fifteen years old, with loose blond hair hanging over her shoulders and on one side over her delicate breast." Fridolin, the novella's protagonist, said, "Her eyes welcomed me, beckoned to me, and at the same time slightly mocked me, as she glanced at the strip of water between us. Then she stretched her young and slender body, glad of her beauty, and proudly and sweetly stirred by my obvious admiration."

And Fridolin indulged in the services of a prostitute who was described as a "young and pretty little thing".