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The Surprise Connection Between Martin Scorsese and Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ Orgy

Something Kubrick axed from the infamous orgy sequence found its way into Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York."

"Eyes Wide Shut"

“Eyes Wide Shut”

Warner Bros.

The “Eyes Wide Shut” orgy scene is the gift that keeps on giving this week thanks to Vulture’s oral history of the iconic sequence. On the heels of the revelation that Cate Blanchett had a secret cameo during the orgy scene comes a new reveal that the scene created a surprise connection between two masters of cinema: Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. English composer Jocelyn Pook was hired by Kubrick to handle the “Eyes Wide Shut” original music score and the composition she originally wrote for the orgy got cut and found itself being used by Scorsese for “Gangs of New York” four years later.

“For the orgy scene, Stanley was a bit vaguer musically, because it was going to be less stylized,” Pook told Vulture. “He said, ‘Yeah, I really don’t know what the music should be here, but try something — sexy music.’ That was my brief! I came up with a weird piece called ‘Dionysus,’ which didn’t ultimately get used in the film. It actually got used in ‘Gangs of New York.’ I don’t know if Martin Scorsese knows it was originally written for ‘Eyes Wide Shut.'”

Pook’s “Dionysus” is a five-minute piece of music that pulsates with a stimulating beat and airy vocals. Listening to the track (see video below), it’s not hard to imagine it playing over the “Eyes Wide Shut” orgy scene. The music translates the seductive and thrilling atmosphere of Kubrick’s scene rather perfectly. Kubrick ultimately decided not to use “Dionysus” for the orgy and instead took a track off her album “Flood” entitled “Masked Ball.” The choice led to a bit of controversy.

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“It used a vocal sampled from another earlier recording. The vocalist had been improvising and had used some words from the ‘Bhagavad Gita,'” Pook said. “Some in the Hindu community happened to notice those few words, and it became a bit of a media frenzy. In the end, the Kubrick family felt rather uncomfortable about it, and they recalled all the films and I had to rerecord it again with a different vocal. It was an expensive mess-up.”

Head over to Vulture to read the “Eyes Wide Shut” oral history in its entirety.

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