Abbey Road and 237

I just thought I should mention that the third and fourth tracks on the album, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, and Oh! Darling, are officially listed as 3:27 and 3:27 respectively. And Maxwell is famously the worst recording session in Beatles history, where McCartney forced everyone to re-record the track relentlessly, to get everything just right. Both these tracks, and the album generally, were recorded during the Apollo 11 mission. So we’ve got these twin 237 jumbles side-by-side on the album, right in the middle of side one, that are the only tracks by McCartney on side one. So, I mean, there’s so many 237, 273, 732, etc. numbers in the film, it’s hard to say if these two tracks were given special consideration, but dig this.

Right near where these tracks trade hands in Round 1, Wendy climbs 37 stairs, and at the 23rd stair, there’s a painting called Moon and Cow. In case you haven’t seen it anywhere else on this site, my thought is that room 237 represents the success of the Apollo 11 mission, so this 23-37 and this Moon and this Cow seem rather pointed to me.

But we can get more specific than that. We can get right into the moment that the tracks transition between each other.

Here’s the moment right between the tracks in Round 1. Wendy’s flight up the Moon and Cow stairs has just ended, and Jack is staring out on a bluish snowy field that has a mild “surface of the moon” quality, and I could say more about that, but, more easy to explain is this: behind Wendy we have the circular Woman and Terrier painting (another Alex Colville painting, in fact), and later in the film, Wendy and Danny will mimic this image after Danny’s flight from room 237 (see below).

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The second moment between these songs in Round 2 requires no explanation.

And this moment in Round 3 is just shy of sheer perfection. The lounge fight sequence, which involves Jack pushing Wendy closer and closer to room 237, till she cracks his skull, features a track playing under it for 732 seconds called Polymorphia (in fact, after she cracks his skull, it keeps playing for 237 seconds). Oh! Darling starts playing at 233 seconds into this Polymorphia. I can only imagine Kubrick’s frustration if he even tried to make that work perfectly. But again, this scene is dominated by a 237/732 subtext, and forward Jack’s shirt features a large eagle picture, which could be a “The Eagle Has Landed” reference. In fact, Neil Armstrong uttered those words on July 20th, which can be written as 20/7, and 3:27 in seconds is 207. (I’ve probably made my point, but Wendy looks first at two pages of the All Work papers in detail, then sixteen as we flip through them with her, and then nine more where we’re looking at her face. 2/16/9, or 21/69, which would be the return date of the Apollo 11 team. And if that seems like a leap, because there’s no 7 for July, consider that every other shot of this typewriter has had a pack of Marlboro’s next to it, which have always carried a quote from Julius Caesar on the pack. That pack is gone in this sequence, but there’s still an ashtray, full of stubs. July is named for Caesar.)

I know, I probably don’t have to reach that hard. The point is, while there are certainly plenty other little 237 jumbles around the movie (the stairs that Wendy and climb are in sets of 23 and 7), the transition between these tracks, definitely has a certain moony, 237y groove to it, and that’s what Redrum Road‘s all about. Finding these moments that gel thematically from Round to Round.

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