Movie locations being faked has been a bit of a fascination for me these last few years. Many different places have been used to replicate the likes of Afghanistan, Myanmar andVietnam but who would’ve thought that this Stanley Kubrick film did the same trick. Whilst its no surprise that some of those aforementioned far-flung places have been faked it’s quite rare to see New York city filmed elsewhere but that is what happened in ‘Eyes Wide Shut‘ as Kubrick’s fear of flying meant it was predominantly shot in London.
Don’t be fooled by the edit. Sure, there are lots of New York street scenes featuring the ubiquitous yellow cabs but these shots were picked up by a Second Unit team and are all interspersed with what was filmed on sets at Pinewood. The Greenwich Village street scenes were dressed to look like those from New York.
This erotic thriller actually takes place at Christmas and opens with a big festive party filmed at Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa in Bedfordshire which has been used in ‘Four Weddings & A Funeral‘ (1994) and as the interior of an Azerbaijan palace in ‘The World Is Not Enough‘ (1999). In the wake of that and the news that his wife Alice (Nicole Kidman) had a sexual fantasy about another man, a rather disturbed Dr. Bill Harford (Tom Cruise) goes on a sexual odyssey so that he can feel equal in some way.
He meets a prostitute called Domino but back at her place he does nothing and so leaves and heads on to ‘Club Sonata’ which in reality is Madame JoJo’s (below) on Brewer Street in Soho. It’s here that Bill catches the end of his old pal Nick’s piano performance on 55 minutes at the New York jazz club and manages to get the password to the orgy out of him.
Bill returns to Domino’s apartment (by yellow cab of course as it is in the United States right?!) with a gift and her roommate Sally informs him that Domino has just tested positive for HIV. Bill leaves soon after that (120 minutes) and notices someone is following him. That sinister man is on Worship Street with Nicon House (below) at number 21 very clearly visible in the background. Shoreditch High Street station in East London is the nearest station.
As for Bill, he is actually a couple of miles away on Hatton Garden where New York-style payphones were installed between numbers 32 and 38 and shops were adorned with the 555 phone numbers which are the fictitious NYC dialling code used in American films. He continues on past Diamond House (below) which is at 36-38 Hatton Garden and very close to a couple of locations used in Guy Richie’s ‘Snatch‘ (2000). It is reported that Berner Street and Eastcastle Street also stood-in for other Greenwich Village scenes.
On 124 minutes Bill walks through the revolving doors of Chelsea & Westminster Hospital (below) as he goes in search of Mandy; the beauty queen who he saw in the newspaper had died of a drug overdose.
The Royal Suite of the Lanesborough Hotel at 1 Lanesborough Place is where Bill meets the Christmas party host (from the start of the film) Victor Ziegler (Sydney Pollack) who fills him in on many details regarding the ritual orgy and Mandy’s unfortunate fate. This huge complex, located on Hyde Park Corner, was built in the 1830’s though sadly it’s been under reconstruction since the end of 2013 (hence the rather dull photo below) and is all set to re-open this year.
This slightly weird but highly watchable movie concludes on the ground floor of the famous toyshop Hamley’s (below) in London’s Regent Street on 141 minutes as Bill and Alice take their daughter Christmas shopping and have some kind of reconciliation.
For other London filming locations click on the links below:
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Trainspotting Mission: Impossible Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Bourne Ultimatum Harry Potter & The Philosophers Stone James Bond About A Boy Quadrophenia Bridget Jones’s Diary Goodnight Sweetheart Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels Basic Instinct 2 Batman Begins/The Dark Knight The Italian Job Snatch Rom-Com Special Skyfall Notting Hill The World Is Not Enough Paddington Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Re-Visited) Entrapment Sliding Doors