09 July 2010

A Man's Movie: Barry Lyndon (1975)


It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarelled; Good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor they are all equal now.

The 18th century according to Stanley Kubrick (and William Thackeray). If you've never seen this - you're a twat. Just kidding. Sort of. Don't rent this. Buy it. And wear it out. It's perfection in every way.

In a world of 'awesome' big budget, Adam Sandler stupidity - your viewing this will graduate you from a black, notch lapel, "tux" from The Men's Wearhouse to a midnight blue, Mohair dinner jacket with peak lapel. You will see art move on screen. You will be moved. And not just into a bigger house.

If you don't know Lyndon - - I envy you the experience of seeing it for the first time. Not a word is said in this clip. Res ipsa loquitur, baby.

39 comments:

TC said...

Excellent, excellent flick. And its excellence is only enhanced when you know that backstory: the gamble Kubrick took in making it, the cinematic innovation he gave birth to, and the painstaking attention to detail that went into every single frame.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Tintin,
Thank you for suggesting this. It has been many years since I watched this film. It will be like watching it again for the first time.

~Hilton

Anonymous said...

The bleak beauty of the Irish landscape comes to life and those wonderful houses of the Irish asendency,make for superb viewing.Plus the soundtrack.

Brummagem Joe said...

One of my half dozen favorite movies(list at end). It's brilliant from start to finish. Costumes, sets, dialogue, cinematography, music, lighting and some wonderful performances even in the minor roles(Rossiter as the cowardly captain, Hardy Kruger as Captain Potsdorf, Murray Melvin as the Rev Samuel Runt, Michael Hordern's narration). Anyone who loves Barry Lyndon can't be all bad Tintin. (Favorites: The Third Man, Lawrence of Arabia, Double Indemnity, The Cruel Sea, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon)

Brummagem Joe said...

btw as an addendum to the above comment Marisa Berenson who plays Lady Lyndon in BL is also playing the family matriarch in the new Tilda Swinton movie I am Love.

Brummagem Joe said...

"Anonymous said...
The bleak beauty of the Irish landscape comes to life and those wonderful houses of the Irish asendency,"

...Actually it's Northern England, Yorkshire to be precise, only the early part of the movie is set in Ireland. Most of the British outdoors/indoors were filmed at Castle Howard (which was also Brideshead) although some of them look as if they were shot at a place called Stourhead in southern England which has a most magnificent garden and lake.

tintin said...

TC- It's an amazing feat visually. I think there was a story there as well despite some folks who find it slow. When I smoked, it was perfect viewing with a Padron Anniversario and Laphroaig.

Hilton- Then I do envy you.

Anon 7:54 - Every shot in this film reminds me of a painting. Full of mood. If you haven't already, check out, The Duelists. Not this level but damned close.

Joe- I've never seen Cruel Sea.

Joe- Check out the 1st pic of The Older Woman post. Guess who?

Joe- I'm not sure the location is as important as how it was shot. Every damned scene - int or ext- is perfect. I read about the lens Kubrick invented for available light (candles) interiors but the exteriors are mind boggling in their 18th C authenticity. Can anyone pull the same thing off today without computers?

Brummagem Joe said...

tintin:

The Cruel Sea is a great war movie about the Battle of the Atlantic starring the quintessential Englishman Jack Hawkins (Allenby in Lawrence and the explosive major in Bridge on the River Kwai)

Berenson still looks pretty good 35years later. For some reason she never had a big movie career but her serenity has always been striking.

For the exterior shots natural light has much to do with it. Northerly latitudes like Maine, Northern England, the Hebrides give you fantastic late afternoon ambient light and Kubrick took full advantage of it.

ADG said...

Can't believe Berenson didn't make your "mature" ladies post. She remains a stunner...along with Charlotte Rampling and Jacqueline Bissette(sp). I bumped in to Berenson-literally-at the Ritz in Paris one afternoon. I still haven't bathed my right shoulder.

Brummagem Joe said...

"Can anyone pull the same thing off today without computers?"

......Merchant Ivory are probably the guys who came closest and with much less to spend than Kubrick. Some of these British TV series are also incredibly good at recreating extinct environments. Totally different but those Jeeves and Wooster dramatizations are brilliant or did you ever see a series from about 25 years ago called Edward & Mrs Simpson (at the end of it you didn't know who was the real DoW)

tintin said...

Joe- I'll check it out.

ADG - Do you read other comments? She's the first woman in the Older Woman post. You have the attention span of a ferret on a double expresso.

Joe- You meant this?

http://thetrad.blogspot.com/2008/03/trad-dvd.html

I loved it.

skorpeo said...

a colleague at work just yesterday recommended this to me.

(and i've spell-checked my own comments this time. *sigh*)

Brummagem Joe said...

Joe- You meant this?

....tintin, you and I must have shared genes or something. Fox WAS the DoW.....and since all those clothes were made for him and he's tiny he got to walk away with lot!!

ADG said...

Taintain...if that's her then they've ruined her with the hair straightening thing. Also, I can't ghostwrite The Trad AND be expected to read all the comments too.

Damn.

brohammas said...

Sigh...
I must still be twelve inside because first, I had never heard of this movie, and second, My initial and involuntary reaction the moment I saw the clothing was to mock my little sister for being obsessed with Sense & Sensability/ Pride & Prejudice / Sarah Plain and Tall / or any other dress up movie where woman are smart, witty, and in peril. Peril of course being a corset.

Sorry, its not you, its me.

Brummagem Joe said...

brohammas said...

" moment I saw the clothing was to mock my little sister "

....it's not in the least cutesy. It's based on a short novel by W.M. Thackeray who wrote some fairly bleak books. Vanity Fair, which often gets a rather chocolate box treatment, is in fact an exceptionally bleak novel. It's anti heroine is a complete gold digging bitch who hates her child and, it is implied, is a murderer!!

Anonymous said...

To Joe Lots of the Exterior and interior for the movie were shot in Ireland Powerscourt in the Wicklow mountains as well as Dublin castle and a few minor georgian house around kildare.I worked as a runner for this production and it was wonderful to be able to get into some of there houses.Only the exterior of Castle Howard was used.Waterford Castle for some exteriors A large cross section of english country house exteriors and interiors.Federick the great Palis at Postdam and Ludwigsbeg Place.

Brummagem Joe said...

Anonymous said...

.....well you have the advantage of me but I've seen the movie many times and often visited both Castle Howard and Stourhead in Wiltshire and recognize a lot of exterior locations from these sites. No idea where the interiors were shot but I thought I recognized a couple of Castle Howard interiors although I could be wrong. I've often wondered what they used as the double for the Neue Palais at Potsdam because I've never recognized it. Was it Powerscourt? It must have been a great experience working on making this movie. I can never really understand why it's not been more popular. Another movie that rather falls into the same category is Lord Jim which O'Toole made after Lawrence and it bombed.

Anonymous said...

i thought it sucked

Brummagem Joe said...

"i thought it sucked"

not the greatest movie ever made but it told the essence of the story rather well and in many ways O'Toole fitted the role of Jim better than that of Lawrence, certainly physically. Lawrence made O'Toole but apparently Albert Finney was in the frame for that role and physically he was a much better fit and he was at least as good an actor as O'Toole so it would have been interesting to see what he made of it. What exactly did you consider bad about Jim?

ADG said...

Come on man. It's Sunday. We need another post. What the hell's going on over there? Did you join some kind of bloggers union that says you get weekends off?

tintin said...

I'm rusting in DE.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, not the 'midnight blue' fallacy - this is for appalling provincial vulgarians only, don't even mention the red bowtie you were going to wear with it, old fellow.

Never mind. Wonderful film; I hope you also like the equally brilliant and catastrophic Heavens Gate (Michael Cimino).

Who'syourfatfriend.

tintin said...

Anon 18:03 -
Mr Brummel, I've grown to miss the anonymous, air of superiority snorts around here. If wearing a peak lapel, mohair, midnight blue dinner jacket is for provincial vulagrians, I assume you must shine the bottom of your shoes.

Main Line Sportsman said...

I love Harvey Keitel in "The Duelists"... a wonderful little known and little played film.The Hussar costumes are very accurate from a histroical perspective. "Barry Lyndon" is a great story and visually compelling. The Soundtrack is also superb.Love the card playing scenes and the duel with the half wit step son....

tintin said...

Skorp - Would be interested to know what you think.

Brohammas- Nothing wrong with that. I reckon Barry Lyndon still has a niche (and devoted) audience.

Joe- I took 18th Cen English lit in college and rememember trying to get through Vanity Fair. I gave up but your summary intrigues me. I'll have to give it another go.

Anon 17:23- Amazing. How old were you? Any pictures? Would love it if you would be open to some other questions aboout the experience. Please email me: the.trad@yahoo.com - if you'd be willing to do a short interview.

Joe- Never saw Lord Jim. I'll have to give it a try.

Anon 11:33 Try not to be so verbose.





Main Line- Back in 1975, there seemed to be a lotta cop movies. That being the fashion of the time (if it was - I'm guessing) then a film about an 18th C ladder climber must'a been a tough sell. I didn't see Barry until the early 80's and even then I was hard pressed to watch it again. Every year it teaches me something new. I like the idea of growing old with it.

Anonymous said...

Earth to Vulagria: some traditionalists consider correct spelling worthwhile, even proper names such as Brummell, unless of course you are referring to some random Panzer commander I've not heard of. Keep up.

Who'syourfatfriend.

tintin said...

Who'syourfatfriend- Where's Vulagria?

Anonymous said...

Duh! Where 'provincial vulagrians' come from, obviously (see your earlier post above). They all wear midnight blue mohair suitings, by the way.

Who'syourfatfriend

tintin said...

Anon- I was referring to your spelling, slick.

Brummagem Joe said...

"and the duel with the half wit step son...."

.....I can see you score a 3 out of ten on perception. The son is not a halfwit. He loves his natural father Sir Charles Lyndon, regards Redmond Barry as an uncouth interloper who humiliates his mother with his blatant affairs with housemaids and is destroying his patrimony, is brutally and continually caned by his stepfather as a child, and when he's of age (say around 18-21) has the guts to challenge a former soldier to a duel......I'm sure you'd be just as heroic

Brummagem Joe said...

tintin said...
"Vanity Fair. I gave up but your summary intrigues me. I'll have to give it another go"

.....the trick I find is taking a deep breath and imagining you are in Victorian drawing room with all the time in the world to read them while the servants keep the fire piled with coal. I'm a great fan of Trollope who has to be approached in the same spirit. You have to read between the lines because Victorian novelists couldn't talk openly about sex, prostitution etc etc. VF is a very bleak novel.

Josh said...

Best loooong Sunday Afternoon Movie ever.

thecontinentalcat said...

BL is an intresting choice but I can't honestly say that it is one of my favorite Kubrick Films. I think Ryan Oneil killed it for me. He just didn't seem believable to me.

Like all of Kubrick's films he did pay extrodinary attention to detail. The tragedy is that he never had a chance to make his, "Napoleon". How rich do you think that would have been?

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
initials CG said...

One of those rare moments where I honestly think the film was much better than the book. Deeper, more emotional...and sleek. And I thought Ryan O'Neil was damned good in it.

tintin said...

CG- I'm with you 100%. It ain't easy for most American actors to pull off classic roles. Case(s) in point- John Malkovich in Dangerous Liaisons and Leonardo DiCaprio in Gangs of NY. Both men are painful to watch and they look anachronistic.

I think O'Neil pulled off the 18th C well. Often times he even looked the part. The scene where he approaches Berenson on the terrace has to be one of my top 10 favorites in film.

Main Line Sportsman said...

B-Joe...all you state is true about the kid's reasons for wanting to duel Barry...neverthless the kid was a sniveling little wanker and a pathetic swordsman who was portrayed in the film as a half-wit. So I reject your subjective and strident scoring.

ELVISNIXON.com said...

I am surprised that you did not mention that Barry Lyndon is the finest hour of Leonard Rossiter -star of another of your favorites-The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
Rossiter is seen as "Quinn" victim of Barry's first duel in the films opening sequence.