the bathroom operates as a weapon storage rooms, in addition towhere Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) is keeping the people hostage.
Despite theentire film revolving around crime, the actual demonstrations of such acts takeplace in and around the bathroom. Kubrick’s obsession with using bathrooms askey locations is seen to have begun with Spartacus(1960). This was the film that led to Kubrick withdrawing from Hollywoodfor good, and moving to and continuing his career in England, where he hadcomplete creative control over all his films. Spartacus was the first film to contain multiple bathroom scenes,and regarding the plotline, it is within a bathroom where the men’s treacherousnature is brought out into the open. In the primary bathroom scene of the film,the Roman general is shown to have the same animal-like urges as the soldiershe commands. This is much further exploited in Lolita (1962), not only does the tour of the house end in thebathroom, as also seen in The Shining (1980),but it is in the bathroom that Humbert Humbert’s (James Mason) feelings towardsDelores ‘Lolita’ Haze (Sue Lyon), and his distaste of his wife, Charlotte Haze(Shelly Winters) are emphasised.
As ‘along with the privacy usually linked withbathrooms comes associations of hiddenness and filth’. (White in Kolker, 2006),the bathroom in Lolita is the settingfor the private obscenities of male desire. Humbert hides away in the bathroomto write in his diary about his forbidden love, and by the end of this scene,Charlotte has not only found out the truth about Humbert and Lolita’srelationship but is killed in an accident when she runs away distraught.Humbert is next seen lounging in the bathtub, before friends arrive to offtheir condolences him over the death of his wife. However, despite havingexperienced this tragedy, Humbert is pictured as being very calm about thesituation, whereas in comparison, his friends are obviously more upset aboutCharlottes passing. Additionally, the shower curtain is placed between Humbertand the other characters all the while he is lying about his true emotionalstate, which acts as a physical representation of a veil for his emotions. Thisallows for the conclusion to be made that bathrooms are settings in which thenegative traits of humanity can flourish, shown on the screen as Humbert in adominant position, completely exposed in the bath, whilst friends and strangerscome and go. One such stranger reminds him of his step-daughter, Lolita, whichsparks Humbert’s plan to take her away and begin a relationship.
The scene inwhich Humbert tells Lolita of her mother’s death takes place with Humbertplaced in front of an open bathroom door, suggesting that the effects of thebathroom’s negative space are infiltrating this new room. The shot has beenframed in such a way to place both Lolita and Humbert into the bathroom withoutthem being in the room itself, allowing for Humbert’s dominant andoverwhelmingly negative traits to encompass Lolita. Lastly, the bathroom is theplace in which Humbert begins to lose all control. He witnesses Lolita chattingto a stranger by the car in the gas station while he is in the bathroom, whichconsequently kickstarts his obsessive and paranoid downward spiral, ending withhim not only losing Lolita, but murdering Quilty (Peter Sellers). Humbert’sjourney to this desperate ending is escalated with each bathroom scene, as eachnew bathroom further brings forth his animalistic nature.Additionally, the two main bathroom scenes within Dr. Strangelove (1964) are used tocement the future of the world. During the first one, near the beginning of thefilm, General Turgidson (George Scott) is interrupted whilst he is in thebathroom by his secretary, who informs him he is needed.
As he is not onscreen, the tone of his voice implies that his personal time has been disruptedby this news, something he deems less important in that moment. Later, GeneralRipper is the only person who knows the code which can end the strike andprevent nuclear war, however, he enters his bathroom and commits suicide byshooting himself. This enables the understanding that the world was destroyedbecause one man went to into the bathroom. Also insinuating that even militarymen with the power over life and death retreat into the safety of the bathroomto get away from their troubles. This is not the first time that Kubrick uses abathroom to suggest a breakdown in communication.
Such a theme can also befound in 2001: A Space Odyssey. In 2001, when Dr. Floyd