Rob Brunner
August 06, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In Eyes Wide Shut, Tom Cruise’s cruise through New York City’s carnal underworld is made much smoother by his handy ”New York State Medical Board” card, which seems to bestow upon him some sort of Agent Mulder status. Cruise flashes it to get information from a waitress, to interrogate a hotel clerk, to reassure a skittish shopkeeper, and to get face time with a dead body at a hospital. So what is this rather useful medical carte blanche?

A fictional creation. Although some physicians have hospital IDs, medical doctors aren’t issued open-sesame passes. In other words, you can’t really be a card-carrying member of the doctors’ club. And though an ersatz badge might fool a waitress or a store owner, according to Lynda Lees Adams, a spokesperson for the Medical Society of the State of New York, unless you work at the hospital or city morgue, no card would get you access to corpses. Says Adams: ”A private doctor would have to have a medical examiner write out a permission slip. There’s nothing they could just flash.” Not even an artistic license?

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