During World War II, 19 year old soldier Alyosha gets a medal as a reward for a heroic act at the front. Instead of this medal he asks for a few days leave to visit his mother and repair ... See full summary »
The film is set during the late 1930s: the occasion is the first meeting between Mussolini and Hitler. Left alone in her tenement home when her fascist husband runs off to attend the ... See full summary »
In the Eighteenth Century, in a small village in Ireland, Redmond Barry is a young farm boy in love with his cousin Nora Brady. When Nora gets engaged to the British Captain John Quin, Barry challenges him to a duel of pistols. He wins and escapes to Dublin but is robbed on the road. Without an alternative, Barry joins the British Army to fight in the Seven Years War. He deserts and is forced to join the Prussian Army where he saves the life of his captain and becomes his protégé and spy of the Irish gambler Chevalier de Balibari. He helps Chevalier and becomes his associate until he decides to marry the wealthy Lady Lyndon. They move to England and Barry, in his obsession of nobility, dissipates her fortune and makes a dangerous and revengeful enemy. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Warner Bros. would only finance the film on the condition that Stanley Kubrick cast a Top 10 Box Office Star (from the annual Quigley Poll of Top Money-Making Stars) in the lead. Ryan O'Neal was the #2 Box Office Star of 1973, topped only by Clint Eastwood. Ironically, this was his only time in the top 10, as exhibitors - who voted the list - attributed the success of Love Story (1970) (one of the top grossers at the time) to O'Neal's co-star Ali MacGraw, and named her to the list in 1971. The other top 10 stars were 3. Steve McQueen, 4. Burt Reynolds, 5. Robert Redford, 6. Barbra Streisand, 7. Paul Newman, 8. Charles Bronson, 9. John Wayne, and 10. Marlon Brando. Thus, the only actors Kubrick could cast in the role and receive Warners' financial backing for his decidedly noncommercial project were O'Neal and Redford. The other Top 10 stars were too old or inappropriate for the role (particularly in the case of #6, who would not assay a "male" role until Yentl (1983) in 1983). Both O'Neal and Redford were Irish, both had box office appeal, and both were young enough to play the role, though Redford was five years older than the thirty-two-year old O'Neal in 1973. At the time, O'Neal was the bigger star, having also garnered a Best Actor Oscar nomination for "Love Story". However, Kubrick apparently offered the part to Redford first, but he turned it down, and thus O'Neal was cast. Redford's star would soon eclipse O'Neal's, as he would zoom to the top of the Box Office charts the next year after the successes of The Sting (1973) and The Way We Were (1973), clocking in at #1 in 1974, a position he also would anchor in 1975 and 1976. O'Neal dropped off the Top 10 list after 1973. His '73 appearance to this day, represents his sole appearance on that premier barometer of box office success for a thespian. See more »
While the Chevalier is gambling with Lord Ludd (after he and Barry escape into Saxony), we see the Chevalier cheating: there is a cut to his right hand, under the table, where he drops a card (the four of clubs) from his sleeve and into the palm of his hand. Immediately before this cut, his right hand is resting on the gaming table and his left arm is by his side. Immediately after this cheat-cut, his right hand remains on the table and he brings his left hand above the table to drop the palmed card (the card that we just saw him palm into his right hand). See more »
[two figures visible on the horizon prepare to duel. Three witnesses stand between them]
Gentlemen, cock your pistols! Gentlemen...
...aim your pistols!
...had been bred, like many other young sons of a genteel family, to the profession of the law.
And there is no doubt he would've...
...made an eminent figure in his profession...
[...] See more »
When I was in high school, it was considered "cool" to watch Stanley Kubrick movies as they were seen as "more enlightened forms of entertainment" over stuff by Steven Spielberg and John Hughes. If you didn't memorize the opening speech to Full Metal Jacket or hadn't seen Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut then you were rejected from the clique. This was at the time when I was first viewing Kurosawa's Rashomon and Ran and accidentally came across this gem. Sure, the rest of the gang would be quoting along with Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange, but not one of them would dare sit down and watch this or 2001: A Space Odyssey. Fools.
Barry Lyndon is another sign of sheer genius on behalf of Kubrick. Notice that in his career he is never concerned about making money, just creating an image and telling a story. Imagine if Michael Bay did the same, he'd be out of the business in no time and having to sell his own movies at the Video Hut. This movie is one of his better detailed (and yet mysteriously unsung) masterpieces that is so beautiful to look at that it almost becomes artistic pornography (in the sense of creating intense emotion). This isn't to say that Barry Lyndon is vulgar. By comparison to Eyes Wide Shut and The Shining, this is a kid's cartoon.
Kubrick is once again a certified genius with his camera. The elaborate and glamorous scenes ranging from duels to gardens and even just the opening prologue are beautifully rendered in a style reminiscent of Monet or other artists. I found it interesting how Kubrick includes pigeons (doves?) in the final duel. Perhaps John Woo gained some inspiration from this.
The story is paper thin compared to 2001 and lacks much of the symbolism. In fact, it is very hard to either sympathize with Ryan O'Neil as the title character because of his lack of portrayal. As a whole, none of the characters gain either support or disapproval because of their fleeting presence. The sets and costume designs themselves become more of a character than the actors. Thankfully, the story is not as convoluted as I expected. It flows nicely and never gets boring because of the variety of powerful elements infused into it.
First off, kudos to both Ken Adam and Vernon Dixon for their brilliant production design. I loved what Ken did with Dr. Strangelove (smart move for him to ditch the Bond series for that). John Alcott is one of Kubrick's lesser cinematographers, but he is still very talented here. I'm certain that, if he had lived longer, Kubrick would've kept using him. He is not as concerned about symmetry, that or the topics aren't, as the rest of Kubrick's work. The biggest irony about Barry Lyndon would have to be that everyone in the categories EXCEPT Kubrick won an Oscar for their work. I think the Academy has something of a grudge against him because of his superior quality of work.
Overall, a phenomenal quality of film that they just don't make anymore. I put this in my Top 10 required viewings for anyone who wants to be in film. Kubrick has transcended Shakespeare with this film. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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