Barry Lyndon (1975) from Tuna, Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski), and The Realist

Tuna's comments in white:

Barry Lyndon is based on the novel by William Thackeray, and chronicles the life of a middle class Irishman in the mid-1700s. Sometimes soldier,
sometimes gambler, married to a real landed Lady, then losing everything, it is a mostly interesting life, but it is neither the plot nor the pace
that make this film great.

Kubrick refused to use light that wouldn't have been available during the period. Many interiors are lit by thousands of candles, and the visuals are among the best in film. Ryan O'Neil did justice to the title role, and Marisa Berenson looked every bit the lady in the part of his wife, Lady Lyndon.


Berenson is seen in a bath. Her nipples are covered by a bathing gown, but you can see her pubic hair in the bath water. Despite the lack of exposure, it is a very erotic scene.

There is also topless nudity from two tarts that Barry Lyndon amuses himself with.

The Realist's comments in yellow:

Barry Lyndon was a common-born Irishman who worked his way into a position in refined society, through a combination of blind ambition, lying, cheating, swordplay, genuine bravery, and enough charm to seduce a very beautiful and wealthy woman.

A movie of spectacular and tranquil beauty, in both sight and sound. I suppose this is kind of a forgotten movie, lost among Kubrick's greater triumphs, but it is very impressive. Thackeray writes with a sardonic and often ironic tone that can't be easy to transfer to another medium, but Kubrick is Kubrick. I suppose he just kept at it until he felt it was exactly right. 

The filtering techniques were supposed to be a great innovation for their time. I read on the DVD box that they shot this entire movie in natural light, which makes these scenes doubly impressive, especially the indoor shots. The music seems to be perfect for every scene. It's a slow movie, and three hours long, but it was interesting enough that I never stopped the movie to do any captures. I watched it through, and did the caps afterward. 

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen 

Scoopy's comments in red:

I like Barry Lyndon a lot. Most people rate it beneath Full Metal Jacket and Spartacus, but I disagree. In fact, I like it as much as 2001 and The Shining, placing it in the second tier behind only the Big Three from Kubrick (Strangelove, Paths of Glory, and Clockwork). It's certainly no shame to finish below those films, since they are all rated in the top 100 of all time at IMDb. 

The one thing that impresses me most about Stanley Kubrick is his ability to transfer very difficult literary works to the cinema. As The Realist points out, Thackeray is tricky to interpret because of his frequent and not always obvious use of irony. Kubrick also did a beautiful job, in my opinion, on translating the tone of the written words in 2001, The Shining, and especially A Clockwork Orange.

Although in the case of converting Traumnovelle into Eyes Wide Shut, I wish Kubrick had shown less reverence for the words, and/or more reverence for the original time and place. Kubrick did a beautiful interpretation of the tone in the text, but the whole premise made no sense when he brought it into the present instead of keeping it in gaslit Vienna. 

The Critics Vote

  • Maltin 3.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.7, behind eight of Kubrick's films, but ahead of five others. 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B.

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