Stanley Kubrick´s Barry Lyndon -some brief thoughts

Hi all,

Although he´s far more famous for such amzing films such as 2001 and Full Metal Jacket, has anyone here seen the magnificent epic that is Barry Lyndon? Based on WM Takcery´s 19th century novel “The Luck of Barry Lyndon”, it follows the varying fortunes of a likeable Irish charlatan as he travels through 18th century Europe, (at one stage press ganged into the Prussian army of Frederick the Great), and finlly strike gold by marrying a beautiful english widow, who also happens to be an duchess.

Filmed in 1975, this is probably the most stylistically beautiful film ever made. As its Kubrick its long and a bit slow, but while that not be to teh tatste of teh modenr “instantly bored” generations, it accurately captures the rhtym of a world before electricity(no artificial light was used in the filming) and the railway where the fastest mode of transport was a horse. Time had a different meaning then and we should do well to remember that.
Of course at the time it was panned for Ryan O´Neals acting ability, but really he does a decent job here and being a Kubrick film, he is put a mere pwan, which is as it should be. A major actor might detract from the real message of the film.

However I was looking at a clip on youtube the other day and something very catholic/christian struck me about this film. It was the scene where the parents )Barry and teh Duchess= are sitting alone with their only child who is dying from injuries sustained in a terrible accident.
If you are not moved by this scene then really you need to check your pulse, because I dont know but it causes me to cry every time I see it.
The christian point is the way the child, their only son, who despite his parents denial of teh facts, knows he is dying, asks them to hold his hands, the last part of his body he can feel and make a promise that they will love each other so that they will all meet each other in heaven again.
The promise and the really heartbreaking part is that you know that there is no real love between the parents anymore, and in due course after the death of their only link they split up.(sorry for the spoilers but this films power is not based on uncovering a plot).

I found this an amazingly enlightining moment - one of the most enlightening in history as I saw in the child an anology to Christ asking us at the last supper to love each other, and we of course usually fail him.

Barry Lyndon is a masterpiece, in its way as good as 2001 and far more human.

Well, I know I’m not going to see it; there is enough sadness in my life already without spending time and money to add someone else’s fictional grief. YMMV.

Thank you Kildare however, for sharing a message that clearly meant a great deal to you.

God Bless and ICXC NIKA.

Hi kildare,
It is truly a great piece of film-making. A cousin of mine raved about it when it first came out.
He was right. Good on you for posting the link as well. As an Irishman, I love the beautifully-photographed settings.
God Bless,

I agree, Barry Lyndon was a remarkable film. The lighting was groundbreaking, as I believe it was all done with practicals? And as customary in a Kubrick film the cinematography is beautiful.

Been ages since I saw it, so I don’t remember the particular scene, but it is a well-made movie, as was so much of Kubrick’s work (Eyes Wide Shut is a glaring exception, but hey, even geniuses have their off days).

Hi LilyM,
Interesting that you mention Eyes Wide Shut. I heard behind-the-scenes talk that this movie acted as the catalyst for the break-up of Cruise/Kidman.
Not that it makes all that much difference. The movie is decidedly creepy.
God Bless,

“Barry Lyndon” WAS an extraordinarily beautiful film.
I never saw “Eyes Wide Shut” and never intend to. I understand it was borderline porno. Whether or not it was, I just was never interested in it.

It definitely is not “border line porno” but it is a VERY sensual film. So I understand if you don’t see much of a difference between the two. I will say that EYES WIDE SHUT is easily one of Kubrick’s most under-appreciated and enigmatic works. I think it’s way ahead of it’s time, just as “2001” was, and one day it will be “re-discovered” and gain a cult following.

Just as “Solaris” was Tarkovsky’s reply to “2001”, I believe “Eyes Wide Shut” is Kubrick’s response to “The Mirror”.

I have to say that, while I was abit uneasy with the content of “Eyes Wide Shut”, I felt compelled to keep watching. Kubrick certainly has the knack of keeping the viewer interested.
I’m not familiar with “The Mirror”. What’s the story there?
God Bless,

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