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Author Topic: Barry Lyndon (1975)  (Read 16815 times)
cigar joe
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2007, 02:33:56 PM »

yea its a cool film

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« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2007, 04:03:29 PM »


I wouldnt go as far as to say "Lyndon" is on par with say..."Once Upon A time in the west" or "Giu La Testa" but yes it is a wonderful film.
I believe the second half  starts to drag for far too long though...
I agree with every word you just said.

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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2008, 10:56:20 PM »

Watched my new DVD of this tonight, WOW what a feast for the eyes.  I forget how great this film is, everything is perfection, this time around I really gravitated on the candle lit sequences, damn there must be over 100 candels in some of those scenes and in a few of those chandeliers alone.

Anybody who hasn't seen this check it out, beautiful!!!!  Afro

Now I got to find the best DVD release of Tom Jones as a period companion piece.

DJ you know which is the best DVD of Tom Jones?

« Last Edit: June 30, 2008, 10:58:21 PM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2008, 11:51:49 PM »

I dunno. I have the standard R1 MGM release and I'm satisfied with it.

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« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2008, 05:13:26 AM »

I've read that some thought the transfer less than perfect, good to know.

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« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2008, 11:15:10 PM »

If I recall, it's not an anamorphic transfer, just letterboxed. A much better edition could certainly be made.

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« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2008, 09:25:16 PM »

There is a thread on this film! Shocked Let us reknew discussion of Marisa Berenson's gaze. Cheesy

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« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2008, 11:16:53 PM »

There is a thread on this film! Shocked

I hate to be a forum nazi but...
we should also put this in the Off Topic section.

Better you hear it from me than some old grump like Jenkins...

...oh... and this film is the shitz! Afro

10/10

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« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2008, 11:52:01 PM »

This thread must be really, really old if it's in this section. Granted, its Leone-ish style probably warranted its being placed here.

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« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2008, 06:04:59 AM »

It's a disguised Western, anyway.

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« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2008, 08:16:23 AM »

You must have a very broad definiton of Western.

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« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2008, 08:20:13 AM »

Here's my blog comment on this film, to perhaps re-initiate discussion. A bit snarky no doubt, but given how much I disliked the film, you should expect nothing more (or less).

Quote
It's taken two weeks, but I'm finally getting around to bashing that much-beloved Stanley Kubrick "masterpiece" Barry Lyndon. It's very convenient for me that this film bears so much resemblance to the other entry in this, the equally tedious piece of drek Amadeus. Both films were set in the 18th Century, both visually stunning and ornate, with lots of great classical music, and both are stultifyingly, indescribably dull.

Stanley Kubrick is generally regarded as one of the greatest directors in cinema history - just ask the bloviating dweebs on IMDB. Perhaps the most misanthropic of the "great" directors, his movies tend to have a decidedly cynical view of humanity as a bunch of violent, selfish, amoral, pathetic and all-around horrible, with few redeeming features and worthy only of contempt. There's no small degree of truth to this characterization, and it's led to a number of great films, but Kubrick's apparent contempt for his characters occasionally gets a bit tiresome and grating, leading to a sense that the director is trying to convince us he's better than the slobs he's showing - and, by implication, us as well.

Of course, of the seven or eight Kubricks I've seen, I have a few I love. I have a great affection for Spartacus, even though it's not a "real" Kubrick film, and I find Full Metal Jacket and Dr. Strangelove to be masterpieces - movies where Kubrick's vision of the human race plays brilliantly with the material. Then there's The Killing, a dull and derivative formula crime caper, and Paths of Glory, a stiff, solemn and didactic (but well-made and occasionally powerful) anti-war sermon. There's A Clockwork Orange, a curious film that I enjoyed while watching it, but have no great desire to see again, perhaps due to its overweening, self-conscious smarminess (an IMDBer once called it "A smartass kid's vision of an adult book", and I think there's something to that). I'm not denying Kubrick's talent, or that he was a great director. (Nor am I claiming to be an expert on the issue; I'm merely commenting on what I've seen.) I'm merely pointing out that on occasion, his misantrhopy could be a bit much to swallow. Such is the case with Barry Lyndon.

Barry Lyndon tells the story of Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal), an ambitious but poor Irish lad who dreams of growing up rich and famous. After a duel with a British officer (Leonard Rossiter) over the affection of his cousin (Gay Hamilton), he flees, penniless, to Dublin, where he joins the British Army. He deserts during the Seven Years' War, only to be conscripted in the Prussian Army by Captain Potzdorf (Hardy Kruger). Cited for gallantry, Barry becomes an intelligence officer, spying on the gambler the Chevalier (Patrick Magee), and through him falls in love with Lady Lyndon (Marisa Berenson), the pretty wife of a dying aristocrat (Frank Middlemass). After his death, they marry, lead to soap operatic inter-family tensions, as Barry ignores his wife for the sake of his political connections and his son and stepson quarrel and bicker and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

It's pretty obvious that Kubrick wants to take the piss out of historical romance novels and stories with this film, by giving us a stately, handsome but empty with an amoral dullard as our protagonist. That may be fine and good on an intellectual level, as I've heard many praise the film for doing just that. It's not a bad idea in theory, but in practice, it makes for a dreadful bore of a movie.

What does the film get right? Everything technical, which is a very back-handed complement. Every single frame is composed like a painting, leading to some of the most beautiful images ever captured on film. The climactic duel, Lady Lyndon's dissent into isolation, Barry's travels through war-torn Europe, all utilize striking images and cinematography, creating. The art direction is without peer throughout, with fabulous costumes and set design. Kubrick makes fabulous use of music, too, collection an assortment of classical pieces by Handel, Schubert, Vivalid, Mozart and others and using them brilliantly. But what is the point of all this jabberwocky? What is it in service of?

The movie is simply excrutiating to sit through. It's slow, stately, and generally dull. It grows really old, really fast, and at 184 minutes it's nothing short of painful. The first half of the story has some interest, with its anti-heroic adventure gone awry, but the second half is absolutely dull, retreating to the most treachly, hackneyed soap opera narrative imaginable. How are pictures supposed to make this bearable? The film does have a few glimmers of humor which shine through - Arthur O'Sullivan's courteous Irish highwayman, Barry's short-lived affair with a German woman (Diana Koermer) who "has been stormed and occupied many times", Lord Lyndon's confrontation wtih Barry - but the satirical intent of the film is largely stultified by its overall dullness. How can you laugh when you're asleep? Everything is meticulously shot and carefully orchestrated, but the film generates no interest in the events on screen. The movie seems completely empty; there's very little point to much anything that goes on, beyond subverting the old cliches of the Romantic novel, which granted are done well - but not in an entertaining fashion. The story progression is also somewhat spotty and suspect; key moments like Barry's defection to the Chevalier seem to happen for no reason at all, the pacing is stilted, and the narrative flows like a squeeze. It's a handsome piece of work, but it would seem simply for the sake of being handsome. People criticize David Lean for being stiff and sacrificing characters for pretty pictures and spectacle? I guess they slept through Barry Lyndon and were thus unable to apply that criticism to Kubrick.

Perhaps the best way to criticize the film is to go after its protagonist. Barry isn't sympathetic, which isn't surprising - he's supposed to be the amoral mirror image of the romantic hero of Georgian literature, who engages in a variety of adventures while remaining a selfish rogue. But Barry isn't even an interesting character. He's completely passive, doing nothing but allowing himself to be manipulated by events around him, and as such he's a complete bore. His wife remains a non-entity, almost never speaking, remaining in the background, her face an empty, catatonic gaze which registers nothing and says even less. If we got to know her at all it might be effective, but as it is she's simply a wax dummy staring at us from the periphery of the story. The supporting characters are broad caricatures or pencil sketches, confirming it would seem my above suppositions about Mr. Kubrick. When your viewers don't care a pile of goose poop about the story or the characters, you have a problem, regardless of how artistic you are.

Casting Ryan O'Neal as our lead character is another huge mistake. Perhaps the worst big-name actor in cinema history (he's up there with Keanu Reeves and Orlando Bloom in my book), casting him as an Irishman-turned-aristocrat is laughable. It may serve a purpose and is appropriate for the dull stateliness of the affair, but O'Neal is simply dead weight. The rest of the cast barely even rates a mention, in my book; Harry Kruger, Frank Middlemass, Arthur O'Sullivan, and Marie Kean (the bigoted Irish couple in Ryan's Daughter) are the only cast members who contribute anything of value in my book. When all of the characters are cyphers, it's not surprising that the equivalent performances are weak.

So, is Barry Lyndon worth watching? Depends. Do you enjoy torturing yourself with three hours of boredom? Are you, like so many on IMDB, a Kubrick cultist who does nothing but grovel at the feet of Stanley and decapitates anyone who dares disagree? Maybe if you like pretty pictures, and want to hear some bitching classical music, you'll love this one. But the rest of you have been warned.

http://nothingiswrittenfilm.blogspot.com/2008/11/your-classic-movie-sucks-2-barry-lyndon.html

And here is an excellent, in-depth analysis of the movie that Jinkies and others may appreciate.

http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/0086.html

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« Reply #27 on: December 03, 2008, 09:25:28 AM »

An amusing review, Groggy. Of course I disagree. By calling the film slow all you've done is admitted you've never seen anything by Tarkovsky. And how can you exclude Leonard Rossiter ("Capt. Quinn") from "the only cast members who contribute anything of value"? I think I came across something recently that suggested he would have been better casting for Barry--that may well be true, although the scenes as a young man might have proved a difficulty.

Anyway, Groggy, good review, you made me laugh. 8/10.

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« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2008, 10:09:47 AM »

Did you look at the article I linked at the end of it? That would be more up your alley I think.

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« Reply #29 on: December 03, 2008, 11:40:18 AM »

I think I've read it before (I've been to that Kubrick site a few times). That piece is not without merit, but the fact the guy doesn't know the novel hurts his analysis. He can't really talk about an "unreliable narrator" in the film without taking into account that the novel REALLY has an unreliable narrator, and that Kubrick went to great lengths to shed that approach when making his adaptation. And anyway, there's a difference between a narrator who is unreliable and one who is merely ironic.

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