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A Movie A Day: Quint on BARRY LYNDON (1975)
Gentlemen, cock your pistols. One… two… three…

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Today we follow Ryan O’Neal over from ‘80s gay buddy cop comedy PARTNERS to today’s Stanley Kubrick film, 1975’s BARRY LYNDON. This is why I love the A Movie A Day column. Those two films are connected. A Stanley Kubrick film and an “aren’t homosexuals cah-ray-zee?” comedy that feature the same lead. And when you watch two very different movies back to back you pick up on other similarities as well, other threads that thematically or visually tie the two radically different films together. Here we have our hero, Redmond Barry, steal the horse and identity of a higher ranking British officer while he is frolicking with his gay lover in a river. Bam! Ryan O’Neal and gay people. Two connections right there! Like I mentioned in a previous AMAD, this is the only Kubrick film I had not seen and I’m a little on the sad side that there is nothing else of the great master to watch for the first time. I remember vividly seeing A CLOCKWORK ORANGE for the first time, rented on video as a teenager. I didn’t get why I loved it, but I was enraptured. I can’t recall my first impressions of either THE SHINING or FULL METAL JACKET, but I did go see EYES WIDE SHUT at the first showing opening day. I’m a Kubrick fan and now there’s a shaky satisfaction, a real sense of closure with the man and his work. I guess I expected to feel fulfilled after finishing his last movie, but I feel a little empty. That’s not a knock on the flick. BARRY LYNDON was every bit as beautiful and engrossing as it was promised to be. It’s a little on the long side, I will admit. I felt the length of the film, but never lost interest in the characters or story. I’m tempted to say that Ryan O’Neal is a bad actor, but the more I see of his work the more I think he’s a good actor with a very, very short range. I dig his work in LOVE STORY, but he seems to have two or three expressions that he just changes out as the scene calls for. But in watching Kubrick’s epic tale unfold, I noticed that while O’Neal doesn’t give a better performance than he usually does per se the role really challenges him to give a deeper performance in the range he’s comfortable in. O’Neal plays Redmon Barry, an Irish lad who gets into a duel in the first reel over the love and affection of his cousin (!) who seems a slutty type. When he wins the duel he is forced to run to avoid murder charges. And so begins our 3 hour plus journey with O’Neal as he joins up with two different armies and sleeps with many women. Kubrick relishes in interesting or entertaining secondary characters and there are a lot on display here, my favorite being Patrick Magee as The Chevalier, a gambler who takes Barry under his wing about an hour and some change into the movie. The Chevalier is a cheat and a swindler, but with a heart of gold as they say. He just kind of disappears after the intermission, unfortunately, but he gets Barry to the point of him taking a new bride, the Lady Lyndon (Maris Berenson). O’Neal had, up to this point, played the character amicably. He’s a nice guy that you root for, but once he gets his rich bride he turns into a true cock-ass. Seriously. I thought at this point I was going to fall out of interest in the movie. If they’re going to turn the lead into a wife-abusing dickhead for the final hour and a half, then what am I going to connect with as a viewer? That’s not to say that it’s impossible to watch despicable characters in movies. I love anti-heroes and I love villains, but I still need something to emotionally invest in, especially in a period film like this. Thankfully he’s only an asshole long enough to see what that’s doing to his family and catch himself… but not in enough time to win over Lady Lyndon’s boy and Barry’s stepson, Lord Bullingdon. When we first meet this child of maybe 12 years old, he’s played by Dominic Savage (we later see the grown up version) who kind of blew my mind a little bit. One of the first things I did when I finished the movie was look him up on IMDB and found that he didn’t really act much, but is now a writer/director. Savage was great in this movie, avoiding the child-actor curse of being either too cute or scarily adult. Bullingdon distrusts this man married to his mother only a year after his natural father took a dirt nap. At first the child’s suspicions are justified as Barry openly fucks around on his mother, gambles away some of her fortune and treats her like crap. But when Barry changes his ways, has another son and tries to win the affection of young Bullingdon the kid doesn’t have any of it and becomes the instigator of Barry’s quick downward spiral to pain and misery.

John Alcott won many awards and accolades for his cinematography work here and he deserves it. The DVD I had, from the first Kubrick box set, isn’t up to par and I’m a little upset that this film didn’t make the jump over to high-def like all the other titles from the box set (minus DR. STRANGELOVE, which also didn’t get a high-def printing for some reason). The candlelit imagery is iconic and gives the film a rich visual identity, but I’d like to point out Alcott’s work in the final duel scene, set in a dirty and abandoned old church. There’s a blue hue to this scene and a palpable tension as Kubrick slowly sets up the rules of the duel and the suspense of just how far the two men dueling for their lives are willing to go. Wonderful work here. Also keep a look-out for the shriveling face nazi from RAIDERS (Wolf Kahler) as a Prince who gets into a fencing match with Barry and keep an ear out for the wonderful narration by Michael Hordern, who played the Alchemist Melius in THE PIED PIPER, a few AMAD columns ago. We’ll be seeing a lot of Hordern as this column continues, actually. Final thoughts: I wouldn’t call this the most entertaining Kubrick film or my favorite, but it is nonetheless a masterpiece of mood, scale and character work. Alcott’s photography is classic and cries out for a high-def disc, the leads are all immensely watchable and Kubrick’s use of classical music is once again used to great effect.

The schedule for the next 7 days is: Tuesday, August 12th: THE SKULL (1965) Wednesday, August 13th: THE HELLFIRE CLUB (1961) Thursday, August 14th: BLOOD OF THE VAMPIRE (1963) Friday, August 15th: TERROR OF THE TONGS (1961) Saturday, August 16th: PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER (1962) Sunday, August 17th: THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES (1964) Monday, August 18th: JESS FRANCO’S COUNT DRACULA (1973) Tomorrow we jump to the Amicus Productions flick THE SKULL via Patrick Magee, The Chevalier himself. The flick also stars Hammer staples Peter Cushing and Michael Gough! See you folks then. -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 11, 2008, 11:36 p.m. CST

    Ain't it ugly posters

    by SpencerTrilby

    The last pic is just arrgh... <p>

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 11:37 p.m. CST

    Bravo sir.

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    While I haven't read each of your movie a day reviews, I think that this is a cool idea that you are executing well. Good job.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 11:43 p.m. CST

    Finally, a movie I actually saw in the day.

    by Aloy

    Gotta say that I've never really liked these "powdered wig" flicks but remember going to see it because of the fact it was Kubrick and shot by candle light and was a technical tour de force.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 11:51 p.m. CST

    The one Kubrick movie I haven't seen...

    by DanielKurland

    and I OWN it. Just waiting to get in the mood for a 3+ hour historical drama.

  • Aug. 11, 2008, 11:55 p.m. CST

    I love Kubrick, but a glaring MISTAKE he made...

    by DanielKurland

    Is the end of Lolita. To have a text epilogue scroll on the screen to say "Humbert Humbert died of thrombosis while awaiting his trial" is completely assinine and unnecessary and undercuts what happened before hand. It's been awhile since I read Nabokov's book, but I don't believe that even happens in it. Does anyone know when Kubrick did this epilogue, which I think seems to be intentionally funny? It's almost identical to "Poochie died on the way back to his home planet."

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:06 a.m. CST

    An interesting movie from a technical perspective

    by KnightShift

    Kubrick insisted on filming all the interior scenes with authentic lighting: either natural light or by candles. No artificial lighting at all. He had special lenses ground for his cameras and did everything mechanically possible to maximize the exposures.<p>Now think about Kubrick's propensity toward shooting a scene hundreds of times. That musta been a hella lotta candles that got burned while making Barry Lyndon :-P

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:06 a.m. CST


    by Gilkuliehe

    I confess I ran from the movie like if it was the plague. I was interested in movies as a kid and I was definetely a Kubrick fan, but this one scared me... Until one day I finally rented it and it blew me the fuck away. <p> First there's that narrator. It's pure literature. I found myself very amused just by listening at what the guy had to say. "Aw... the first love!". So elegant and full of humor. And then there's the photography. I'm talking about a worn out VHS copy, guys, on a shitty 15 inch TV screen on some kid's room, and that kid doesn't even know what photography is, but this movie somehow taught me what it was. The colors, and specially the composition... So much like a painting. Somehow the "stillness" of this movie gives it such a period feeling, it almost feels like time travelling I can tell you that. There's nothing that takes you out of the movie, even the music cues seen effortless and natural. <p> And then there's the story. I felt so wrapped in it. All the characters are at least entertaining. You know, those polite thieves, that hideious asshole who steals the cock tease cousin... I love all of them. And so many things happen! It's truly epic, so full of surprises. I didn't feel the movie's running time, AT ALL. It feels like a hundred things happen every half hour. Oh and one of the things I love the most is how fast all this pristine world seems to go to hell... Did you notice that? I loved how Kubrick stages everything, so calm, so clean, and suddenly it's all yelling, kicking and screaming. Like the scene where Barry throws his glass at the asshole's face, or the scene where Lord Bullingdon publicly humilliates Barry. <p> And don't get me started on the scene where Barry catches de eye of Lady Lyndon... The pacing, the music. To hell with the Internet, I'm watching Barry Lyndon right now. Bye guys.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:07 a.m. CST

    My Reaction From Watching It 4 Years Ago

    by psychedelic

    I'm an obsessive-compulsive died in wool Kubrick nut, and felt this was overlong and directionless, which is ironic coming from my favorite director. Beautifully shot for sure, all the praise is deserved on that front, but not only are the characters not likable but uninteresting and dull too. Basically, O'Neal's character is a cynically greedy turd who behaves predictably. The duel near the end was probably my favorite part. I'll hold on to my DVD from the first Kubrick box set basically for reference purposes. Maybe I'll give it another try one day, but it won't be for a long, long time. Sorry to say, but watching it was a chore

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:14 a.m. CST

    Actually, this is my favorite Kubrick movie.

    by StarWarsRedux

    Much more mature in tone than "A Clockwork Orange". It's ruefully cynical instead of gleefully so. I'm really looking forward to when this is released on blu-ray.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:17 a.m. CST

    Just a horrible, forgettable film

    by Rupee88

    I love Kubrick and about five of his films just kick unholy ass, but this one sucks. It's incredibly boring and Ryan ONeal is crappy in it and there's just nothing there. It is not as pretentious as Eyes Wide Shut, but almost as lame.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:25 a.m. CST

    God's eye perspective

    by No Respectable Gentleman

    An extremely literate and acutely observed historical epic, the very definition of "wry" and "aloof" in tone -- that's the God's eye perspective -- meaning that it's not for all tastes; but numerous scenes are directed with peerless skill.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:27 a.m. CST

    I like Eyes Wide Shut

    by psychedelic

    I like it's portrait of a marriage, Kidman's perfromance, it's dreamy quality, and elegant visual style. Barry Lyndon is the only Kubrick I don't like. The only one I haven't seen is Fear And Desire, which is rarely screened.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:28 a.m. CST

    This movie is amazing, BUT

    by Mattyboy122

    Ryan O'Neal's best performance has got to be in Paper Moon. That movie is pure magic.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:31 a.m. CST

    Favorite Kubrick film

    by saintaugust

    It's strange all this hating going on. Barry Lyndon is probably Kubrick's most difficult movie but I really expected more love for it on here. This is my favorite Kubrick film but I'll concede that it's much more interesting than entertaining. Barry is very unlikeable and the one time he attempts to redeem himself as a "gentlemen" he's severely punished for it. I always thought the slow pacing really hellped sell the time period but whatever, to each his own.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:38 a.m. CST

    It's pretty good but why Ryan O'Neal?

    by BenBraddock

    Why was he, of all people, cast? Even back when he was hot, Kubrick must have seen that he wasn't exactly one of the great thespians of our time. Suppose he was OK in the role though.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:44 a.m. CST


    by Gilkuliehe

    I read somewhere that the studio would only finance the movie if Kubrick chose an actor from a certain A list from that day. O'neill was on the list because of the B.O success of LOVE STORY, and he and Robert Redford (also on the list) were the only ones that fit the part... And Redford turned it down. <p> Anyway I love O'neill as Barry, specially how he utters the phrase "I feel the ribbon" when his cousin grabs his hand and places it on her breasts. I spoke in the exact same way the first time I touched some girl's goodies you know.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:45 a.m. CST

    BTW, I misspelled O'Neal there.

    by Gilkuliehe

    Please ignore it. Thank you.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:46 a.m. CST

    like this one more every time

    by captainalphabet

    first time i saw it i needed a break in the middle. But keep coming back - it really is one of my favorites now. yes, it's slow, but that seems a comment on the slow [dull, repressed] times - and the whole thing is fucking AMAZING to look at! the zooms... try it again in a few years man, it'll be spectacular in HD...

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:46 a.m. CST

    like this one more every time

    by captainalphabet

    first time i saw it i needed a break in the middle. But keep coming back - it really is one of my favorites now. yes, it's slow, but that seems a comment on the slow [dull, repressed] times - and the whole thing is fucking AMAZING to look at! the zooms... try it again in a few years man, it'll be spectacular in HD...

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:50 a.m. CST


    by Rearden

    i can promise you that the depth of your appreciation for this film will only grow with the years and subsequent viewings. I gather that you and I are the same age. I wasn't in love with this movie as a kid, but over the years it has become one of the most cherished parts of my collection. The story of not a single period, but any period in history when the sweet and sad humanity of a man comes undone as he tries to fit himself into the world around him. Riotously funny, heart achingly sad. And for some reason, it seems to be impossible for anyone to take in on the first viewing. I show it to people who say it is too long, while now I find it to be all to brief. It is one of my few go-to, any-night-of-the-week movies. Come back to this one. You will be rewarded. I assure you.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:04 a.m. CST

    This film kicked my ASS...

    by Lukecash

    In a very good way. I love the fact Quint is holding out on the actual beginning.<p> One of the interesting things of the film is that this guy starts out as a well meaning honorable boy...and has rotten luck. He then begins to act like an arse, and gains the world. And being a tragic/satire type of film...tried to be honorable again, to the point of being COOL...and he looses it all.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:07 a.m. CST

    Absolutely requires HD.

    by s00p3rm4n

    Like all Kubrick films, it'll never be fully appreciated by everyone - but a certain amount of folks each year will gravitate toward and discover it, and just happen to be able to understand the full scope of Kubrick's vision when they see it. It happens with all his movies. Even Eyes Wide Shut will be increasingly watched and dissected as time goes on. Kubrick made literature, and literature will always find fresh eyes.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:10 a.m. CST

    Quint, how about Fear & Desire, Killer's Kiss, Paths of Glory,

    by Sith Witch

    The Killing, and Spartacus?

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:11 a.m. CST

    cant believe he's never seen this

    by ClockWorker

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:11 a.m. CST

    cant believe he's never seen this

    by ClockWorker

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:15 a.m. CST

    The narration is key to this film

    by Justafan_uk

    Kubrick is my favourite director and I like this film a little more each time I see it. But what really stands out more each time is the wicked and sly humour and observations of the narration. It also has some outstanding music that really draws you deeper into the tone of the film as it plays out.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:23 a.m. CST

    yep, better every time you see it

    by welbrick

    and like all of kubrick's films, the black humor emerges more w/ each viewing.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:44 a.m. CST

    Jess Franco

    by Prossor

    should do more of his shlocky stuff

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:48 a.m. CST

    First seduction scene is hot....

    by Smerdyakov

    After that Zzzzzzzz.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 2:36 a.m. CST

    Quint, I demand you obtain SATISFACTION

    by waltereg00

    I looked up Barry Lyndon clips on youtube and found this parody of the duel scene. It's particularly funny if you are familliar with a certain cheesecake techno video. Personally I found parts of Barry Lyndon unintentionally funny when I watched it in a film class. Right after the hyper-sentimental scene where the kid dies, his coffin is shown being pulled by a couple decorated sheep. It was just so precious and overwrought that I and several other people in the Kubrick class cracked up. Afterwards the guy teaching the class asked incredulously why we laughed at the funeral scene. I guess whether you are a fan or not of this film has a lot to do with whether you find that scene tragic or absurd.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 2:43 a.m. CST

    I Adore This Film

    by YND

    I will say I think it's one of the all-time best candidates for "Film That Absolutely Must Be Seen On The Big Screen". (There are some very good prints around that screen pretty regularly if you're lucky enough to live someplace with a rep theater.) But visual splendor aside, it's still a wonderful, witty, beautifully-made film.<p>This one stands alongside CLOCKWORK ORANGE and THE KILLING for me. Below 2001 and STRANGELOVE, but above FULL METAL JACKET and THE SHINING.<p>Damn, did that man know how to make a film.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 2:58 a.m. CST

    waltereg00 - Question

    by YND

    So a serious question for you: when you're laughing at something like that onscreen, is it because you don't buy into the film? Or is it just that you find the idea laughable despite the context. I guess I mean, if you actually saw a child's funeral in real life and the parents had arranged the ceremony that way... would you be laughing? By that same token, if you enjoyed the film more and bought into it rather than staying outside of it, would the scene have provoked a different response? I can see why the moment in the film might be amusing to you if you're not accepting the world of the film -- I find the scene heartbreaking because I buy into it -- but would you say that's the case for you?<p>I went to see THE APARTMENT this past weekend and there was a braying ass in front of me who thought it was HILARIOUS when the doctor was slapping Shirley MacLaine, trying to revive her after her suicide attempt. This guy seemed to love the movie -- laughed at all the right places as WELL as the wrong ones -- so I didn't get it. If you love the film, you feel for the characters. When one of them tries to kill herself, why are you so easily provoked to laughter? It seems to me to indicate a pretty shallow viewing experience on the part of that guy. Thoughts?

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 3:09 a.m. CST

    Barry Lyndon

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Hmm I expected you to like it more Quint. It's one of the greats in my eyes. The opening half hour is magisterial stuff.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 3:26 a.m. CST

    Spectacular movie

    by Stollentroll

    One of the most ambitious movies of all time. And the best thing about it: the twisted humor.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 3:35 a.m. CST


    by Boba Fat

    If you didn't see it recently, I think it was only screened in the UK, try to track down a copy of the Jon Ronson doc Kubrick's Boxes. In which he has unprecedented access to the Kubrick estate and the thousands of boxes Kubrick kept of the production process of his later films. It a fascinating and revealing insight into the man and his methods. Can't recommend it highly enough!

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:01 a.m. CST

    a true work of art

    by Colonel_Blimp

    this movie fully explores cinema's potential as art. christ, i can't even begin to wrap my mind around how good this movie is on all levels.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:06 a.m. CST

    permanently stuck in my head

    by walfrid

    so, does anyone else whistle the little melody that the english army plays in this movie.. I used to work at a video rental place and I'd watch this flick to start my day every once in a while, but that tune they play on the flute always, Always got stuck in my head for the rest of the day, even just reading the rss tag of the barry lyndon review made me start humming the song. #1 2001 #2 Dr. Strangelove #3 Barry Lyndon

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:11 a.m. CST

    YND - Good question.

    by waltereg00

    I love The Apartment and also think it is both funny and emotionally moving and tragic, because I related strongly to Jack Lemmon's character and found MacLaine's female character real and true to how similar women would act. I had the opposite reaction to Ryan O'Neal's character. Initially he was amusingly cocky but grew increasingly unsympathetic. Partly this is because Kubrick was directing him to act with robotlike slowness in order to match the gradual pace of the cinematography. But mainly Barry and by extension his family are unsympathetic because of the pampered opulent existence that their aristocratic status affords. In the funeral scene I wasn't laughing at the child dying, which I had found manipulative, but at the spectacle of a pair of sheep decorated with white feather headdresses pulling an opulent carriage displaying the coffin as the string section of the orchestra kicks in. Even now I'm not sure whether Kubrick truly inteded it to be sad or if he was unable to repress his macabre, cynical, and brilliantly dark humour (which borders on misanthropic).

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:12 a.m. CST


    by Quint

    I'm under the impression that I didn't make my enjoyment of this movie as clear as I thought I did. I call the movie a masterpiece, engrossing and beautiful, but I see people here implying I didn't really dig the flick. Not true... Just setting the record straight. I don't think it's Kubrick's most entertaining movie nor is it my favorite from the maestro, but that doesn't translate into "I was underwhelmed." It's a great flick.<BR><BR>Fear and Desire, by the way, is hard to watch. The performances aren't very good, but you can find Kubrick in the film, especially when you look at it from a photography viewpoint. You see his eye for angles in it.<BR><BR>As far as Killer's Kiss it's been about 10 years since I saw it (on video), so it's not exactly fresh in my mind, but I remember really digging the noir style and being tripped out by the dream sequence.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:16 a.m. CST


    by Mr Gorilla

    I'm so, so happy to see the love this film is getting here. Kubrick's other films all have something 'noisy' about them - the blood and Jack's performance in THE SHINING, the violence and memorable dialogue in FULL METAL JACKET, the nudity and Tom/Nicole in EYES WIDE SHUT - and BARRY LYNDON often gets overlooked. But it's a wonderful, wonderful film. I was very lucky to see it at a late night showing when I was at university. As often happens with movies that seem slow on the small screen, it was totally gripping on the big screen. That final duel seemed unbearably tense. And there is SO much meaning in every frame. You really do feel that you are in the hands of a master.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:17 a.m. CST

    The link to the duel scene parody video

    by waltereg00

    was buried in the text of my previous post somewhat. Am I the only one that gets this? maybe I've just seen the original Satisfaction techno video too many times.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:18 a.m. CST


    by Mr Gorilla

    One thing that's interesting is that people who love the Thackeray book won't really go for the movie, because the texture Kubrick has gone for doesn't replicate the prose of the book at all. This is a prime example of a brilliant movie that isn't necessarily a faithful adaptation.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:21 a.m. CST

    Quint, loved your review of Scarlet Street by the way.

    by waltereg00

    I saw that years ago and have been a fan of it ever since, I think it's Edward G Robinson's best performance. The toenail painting scene in it was great ("They'll be masterpieces...") and I brought that scene up in the same Kubrick class that I watched Barry Lyndon in when the class screened Kubrick's Lolita. The toenail painting scenes in the two movies made for an interesting contrast.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:30 a.m. CST

    Ryan O'Neill

    by TroutMaskReplicant

    Awful, awful, awful. I can't believe a perfectionist like Kubrick would hire actors as bad as Ryan O'Neill and Matthew Modine just to ensure his budget. Also there again, the Irish accent proves elusive to American actors.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:35 a.m. CST

    "a sexual deviant/swindler gone amuck in Europe is actually not

    by TroutMaskReplicant

    There's something wrong with you. Although maybe you're making a swipe at The Talented Mr. Ripley...

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:42 a.m. CST


    by RaRoMo

    You asked about the epilogue in Kubrick's adaptation of Lolita, where it states Humbert Humbert died afterwards. That actually is in the book, in the forward. (The forward also tells us that Lolita herself died after the events in the book, but we don't realize it during a first reading, because Nabokov refers to Lolita by her married name.)

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:43 a.m. CST


    by TroutMaskReplicant

    That text sounds like something the studio forced them to add to create the impression of divine justice. There was a lot of tooing and frowing to get Lolita "legitimized". You can compare it with A Clockwork Orange, where Kubrick didn't know that Burgess had added another chapter to the end that muted Alex's evil. He adapted the film without the chapter and was later told about it. Kubrick read it and said he was glad to have left it out.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:44 a.m. CST


    by TroutMaskReplicant

    Oh, ok then.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 6 a.m. CST

    about Kubrick's choice in actors

    by Bloo

    it's something that I've always been amazed about, but Kubrick's movies always seemed to be more technically good then acting good, he tended to use actors that didn't have a broad range. You can say it was budgetary issues but look at the facts, Ryan O'Neal, Matt Modine, even as great as Jack Nicholson and Malcom McDowell are semi-parodies of themselves now. The Joker (89) is a toned down Jack Torrance and McDowell has been turning in the saame schtick in increasingly worse and worse movies (Tank Girl, I-Spy, even his HEROS appearances, while good, are more of the same)<P>from a strictly ACTING standpoint, as in the movie of his that shows off the best acting work, best actors, has to be Dr. Strangelove

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 6:05 a.m. CST

    let me add

    by Bloo

    that it seems that it is Kubrick's later movies that have this problem with one note actors...and I'm not saying these movies are bad, they are some good movies, even great movies, and he seemingly chose the right actors for the roles as in I can't imagine anyone else in those roles, but those actors were more...stars then true thespians and craftsmen

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 6:33 a.m. CST

    Bullingdon - Leon Vitali

    by catlettuce4

    Actually became Kubrick's personal assistant for the next 20 odd years and is now involving with restoration of the movies, etc. A nice guy.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 7:20 a.m. CST

    2001 = Greatest Film Ever Made

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    It's a fact, do not argue.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Stanley Kubrick's Boxes

    by kwisatzhaderach

    For those who missed it:

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 7:22 a.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    I'll second that.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 7:22 a.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    Cool, I must have misunderstood you. Glad you like!

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 7:39 a.m. CST


    by kwisatzhaderach

    Redmond Barry is a slightly dim character and i'm sure Kubrick was keeping this in mind when he cast O'Neal.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Barry Lyndon just gets better and better with each viewing

    by zapano

    The first time i saw it as a kid i thought it was some crap bbc period drama with a seriously shit actor. but a few years later i watched it again and it just blew me away. seriously, every shot is like an oil painting, i don't think i've seen a better lit film in my life. even ryan o'neill's performance is rather wonderful for some reason. it is slow but once you get used to the pacing, it draws you right in. the use of music is brilliant and the performances are kubrickian. it deserves repeated viewings and it is a crime a new remastered version hasn't been released on dvd or blue ray.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 8:03 a.m. CST

    I Like It Because It's Overlooked

    by Aquatarkusman

    But let's not dance around the fact that it's an amazing film despite horribly miscasting both leads (at no point do you ever believe that model Marisa Berenson is the mother of a grown son). The supporting cast is great: Hardy Kruger as the Prussian general, Patrick Magee as the Chevalier, and even young Leon Vitali as the stepson (his reactions in the duel alone are priceless).

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 8:18 a.m. CST

    One of the most beautifuly shot movies ever.

    by Stuntcock Mike

    I just can't get into the story though.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 8:19 a.m. CST

    And I can't fucking spell beautifully

    by Stuntcock Mike

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Dumb review

    by La Frog

    "I thought at this point I was going to fall out of interest in the movie. If they’re going to turn the lead into a wife-abusing dickhead for the final hour and a half, then what am I going to connect with as a viewer?" haha. Very funny. Really, it's entertaining reading a silly kid's views on such a masterpiece. How old is this Quint person by the way? 12? When does he plan to do a review of Wild Strawberries? I can't wait. "if the character is like, huh, an old fart who gets along with no one, how am I supposed to connect with that guy as a viewer." I hope he doesn't get paid to write those though.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Kubrick: Paths of Glory

    by palewook

    Paths of Glory is a solid, little known Kubrick movie. If you were picking a little known gem, Paths of Glory should have been the choice. <P> That being said, Lyndon is one of the best visual movies Kubrick made.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Barry Lydon is Kubrick's best film

    by reni

    To me, at least, this is Kubrick's best film. Absolutely beautiful film making. When will it be released in HD?

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Memories-Of-Murder, your right on the money

    by Stuntcock Mike

    I can't stand Knight's Tale for that very reason. And Paths of Glory is an absolute gem of a film. As is The Killing.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Eyes Wide Shut

    by Magnum Opus

    Was Kubrick's favorite. There's a reason for that, and I think it's defined by the fact that mature folks unilaterally love it while kids (or dense "Grown-ups") were let down by its seriousness.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 10:34 a.m. CST


    by la_sith now his most misunderstood and underrated film. It used to be BARRY LYNDON. But it's good that some are finally coming to its defense. It's also very amusing to read comments like "I'm the BIGGEST Kubrick fan there is," and then go on to slander two films that capture his essence wonderfully.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 10:47 a.m. CST

    This film is wonderful, but....

    by Darthkrusty

    the true masterpiece, War of the Gargantuas is finally coming to DVD in September!!!!

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Gay Kubrick Rumors

    by saintaugust

    You guys remember all those rumors concerning Kubrick's alleged homosexuality? They were en vogue around the time of Eyes Wide Shut? That he was having secret trysts behind Christiane's back - and that the original interest he held in doing Eyes Wide Shut stemmed from his closeted lifestyle. This pretext became subtext for the film and the casting of Cruise and Kidman. Although while working with Frederic Raphael on the screenplay Kubrick decided to ultimatley leave out any conspicuous references to Cruise's character questioning his sexuality. Anybody else heard this?

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Thank you Quint!

    by Sith Witch

    You probably won't see this by now, but I do appreciate the micro-reviews you gave on Killer's Kiss and Fear and Desire. I appreciate it.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 11:46 a.m. CST

    I was waiting for this one..

    by Aeghast

    ..but I haven't sseen the movie yet so.. should I read it..? Hmm let me think for a while.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Lyndon in my opinion...

    by fassbinder79

    ...Is Kubrick's greatest masterpiece. My favorite film of his by far which is saying something since the vast majority of them are near perfect. One of the reasons I love this film so much is they way he brilliantly uses the narration. Its classic storytelling.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Best Kubrick Film

    by secretcylon

    Barry Lyndon is my favorite movie (tied with Glengarry Glenn Ross. "It takes brass balls").

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:19 p.m. CST

    Kubrick at his best

    by bobjustbob

    ...nuff said...

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:21 p.m. CST

    "Booooo" to your Raiders reference, Quint...

    by Wooksie

    ...when you should have said: "Watch out for Pat Roach, who gets into a lengthy fistfight with O'Neil, six years before his famous fight with Harrison Ford in Raiders. You'd also remember him as the crushed child-whipper in Temple of Doom, a Nazi again in Last Crusade, General Kael in Willow, and the Wizard/monster that swings Schwarzenegger around in Conan the Destroyer."

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Favorite Kubrick

    by Grand Moff Toht

    So many great things going on in this movie, I'm overwhelmed just remembering it. Have to watch it again now. Not bothered by Ryan O'Neill, because in working with Kubrick, he rose above what he was before and has become since. Kubrick had that way when working with stars who may not be the best actors. Modine's finest moments are in Full Metal Jacket. Tom Cruise was never better than in Eyes Wide Shut. Just like how Scorcese got more out of Sharon Stone in Casino than anyone thought possible. Kubrick's finest casts were probably Spartacus and Dr. Strangelove. Favorite Kubrick films in descending order -- Barry Lyndon, Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, Spartacus (don't start with the jokes). I admit 2001 is the best of the lot, but it's not a film I'd watch before any of the above. Just personal preference, that's all.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 12:49 p.m. CST

    I guess studio interference does make sense...

    by DanielKurland

    for Lolita's epilogue, as they were doing a lot of tampering. Paths of Glory's best part is the ending with the girl singing and all the soldiers crying. So wonderful.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Love this movie...

    by Hooded Justice

    I didn't really 'get it' the first time I saw it - but for some reason kept coming back to it. It's a stately, gorgeous-looking film that brilliantly (in my view) evokes the period in which it's set - not to mention that it's a fine adaptation of Thackery's rambling, picaresque novel. The three-hour-plus length is actually appropriate, for once. I'm not sure which I love more: the amazing photography or that haunting music. Some very nice cameos from notable Irish actors - and O'Neill's performance actually works: he's like a GOOD version of Orlando Bloom.<p>The one problem is that they haven't made a decent DVD transfer yet. The one that's out there doesn't do justice to the photography. A crime.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Barry Lyndon is Kubrick's Second Greatest Film...

    by grungies

    The first being 2001. I'd also like to point out that Eyes Wide Shut is the greatest film of the great year of 1999.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Fuck you La Frog...

    by Skyway Moaters

    ... you elitist pedant.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 2:20 p.m. CST

    La Frog: How old is this Quint person by the way? 12?

    by Skyway Moaters

    How old is the La Frog person BTW? About 90? (Before you start: I'm 48)

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 2:39 p.m. CST

    The Killing

    by Prossor

    is my fav Kubrick, proabably a obscure choice compared to his later works but i really liked the noirish heist how everything is minutely planned.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 3:15 p.m. CST

    In defence of Ryan O'Neal, he's great in ZERO EFFECT

    by palimpsest

    but then, everyone is. I love BARRY LYNDON, but it's a movie can only watch so often - once every couple of years aor so.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 3:24 p.m. CST

    I watched this and Caligula last weekend

    by SirLoin

    I went from one of the best movies of all time to one of the worst. But only one of them gave me a boner.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:16 p.m. CST

    And I agree with Eyes Wide Shut being misunderstood

    by SirLoin

    After leaving the theater when I saw it the first time I remember being haunted, but at the same time feeling like it wasn't very "Kubrick." It didn't have those amazing steady cam shots like in Shining or Full Metal Jacket. But in the years since I've come to notice that it is more his essence than the Shining Or FMJ, that it really captures not only his pessimism but also the personal aspects of his private life as a family man. And although I still miss those tracking shots, I think it's also the best-lit movie I've ever seen. And the mansion scene still electrifies.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Great Flick

    by Charlie_Allnut

    Some of the best cinematography ever. The unglamorous warts and all manner in which Kubrick shows the period changed the way I view that era. The lighting in the parlor scene and in the barn are exquisite. Encapsulates the concept of film as art.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 5:30 p.m. CST


    by Silverglade

    I want your review of Lolita. I might add it is one of David Lynch's favorite films. His exact words were "I am captivated by it."

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 8:10 p.m. CST

    Absolute Masterpiece

    by lioner

    Complete and utter masterpiece. I recommend.

  • Aug. 12, 2008, 8:55 p.m. CST

    The Duellists

    by thecoldwar

    Watch back-to-back with Ridley's THE DUELLISTS, released about 2 years later after BARRY LYNDON, and then compare and contrast. Both films are about as beautiful as it gets. I'm a big Kubrick fan, and BARRY LYNDON was the last of his films that I finally saw. Was a bit disappointed the first time I saw it, but it grows in stature every time I revisit it. In my opinion, it (like most Kubricks) should be watched multiple times for maximum effect.

  • Aug. 13, 2008, 6:04 a.m. CST

    never liked Costume Dramas BUT

    by the power of GREYSKULL

    Kubrick found a wonderful ironic humour in Barry Lyndon. <p> Also how could you NOT fall in love with the beautiful imagery - like renaissance paintings! NO ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING thanks to that low-light lens NASA somehow agreed to loan him... <p> Anyone seriously believe it was in exchange for him faking their moon landings with his 2001 sets?

  • Aug. 13, 2008, 11:31 a.m. CST


    by homer40

    Barry Lyndon is a great film, pulled from the ashes of Kubrick's anticipated film about Napoleon. I took a Kubrick class in college, and ended up with a pretty bad grade because of my disagreement with the teacher about this film. I have always thought that it was essentially comedic, a knowing homage to a certain type of English literature. It isn't "Young Frankenstein" or "Airplane". The film is long for a reason, unlike so many films today, as it takes time for Kubrick to weave his spell and start making you care about the characters. By the end of the film, Kubrick has transformed what seemed initially to be an exercise in style and irony into a genuinely moving experience. Trivia, Kubrick had to work to invent the lenses used to film the candlelit scenes, which largely use no artificial lighting whatsoever. I know how he feels about never seeing a new Kubrick film. I feel that way about Kubrick, as I do about never hearing Jerry play again. Still, both have left us with quite a bit of material to cherish, and re-watching Kubrick is more fascinating that watching any number of new films by lesser filmmakers. When I was at NYU, there were two Vietnam movies being made, Platoon and Full Metal Jacket. Platoon came out and I questioned whether Kubrick could top it, or even match it's brilliance. Word got out that Full Metal was going to be previewed, of course without being named, at the 8th Street Playhouse. I had read the book Short Timers, on which the film was partially based, but there had not even been a preview of the film shown. The theater was packed, and we had to sit through some terrible caveman comedy, but then Full Metal Jacket came on. Seeing it completely clean, with no idea what Kubrick had in store, was one of the great nights of my life. After the film ended, with the great Mickey Mouse song followed by Paint it Black, the audience just sat there dumbfounded. What the fuck? I don't think I really "got" the film until I saw it several more times when it was released, and it never ceases to amaze me just how weird it is. The opening section, with the constant screaming, every second almost, until our minds have essentially been subjected to the sort of brain washing necessary to turn nice American kids into killers. I saw the film with my uncle, who was in Vietnam, and went through Paris Island, and he was almost comatose when the film ended. I'll never forget the joy of seeing the film at what was likely one of the first public screenings, and spending months running it over and over in my mind, trying to wrap myself around the profound changes in tone and style. It may in fact be the best war film ever made, certainly the equal of any Kubrick, and they are all stunning works of art. Oh, how I miss him.

  • Aug. 13, 2008, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Skyway Moaters : Fuck moi? oh non....

    by La Frog

    "Elitist Pedant"? Flattery will get you nowhere, mon cher Moaters. Plus i don't do guys who are of my father's age (for your info i'm 26. Nah! :P).

  • Aug. 13, 2008, 2:26 p.m. CST

    [my uncle] was [...] almost comatose when the film ended.

    by Colonel_Blimp

    Is that good or bad? <p>BTW, La Frog: kudos.

  • Aug. 13, 2008, 9:04 p.m. CST

    The best of the Kubrick Canon.

    by PumpyMcAss

    I avoided this film forever before finally being forced to watch it in college. Now I can say that it is hands-down my favorite Kubrick film and even on my top ten of all time list. The thing people always fall back on with this film is that it is beautiful to look at, but not very involving and over-long. I've forced it on girlfriends, family members, and friends and only a select few have responded to it. This movie just grabs me for some reason. The first half is funny and exciting and the second is claustraphobic and dire. The last half hour devastates me every time. That might be part of its cult status, the sheer bleakness of Kubrick's vision. But then, Chinatown is a fan favorite and that has one of the most brutal endings ever as well. Who knows. If you've never seen it before, I suggest maybe watching it over two nights. There is a clear intermission an hour and a half into this three hour movie and it might help your appreciation of the film. But then again, if you hate the movie then you wasted two evenings instead of just one.

  • Aug. 13, 2008, 9:08 p.m. CST

    Also, why do people hate Ryan O'Neal?

    by PumpyMcAss

    A big reason I avoided this film at first was because it seemed like common knowledge amongst geeks that Ryan O'Neal sucks. After seeing this and a number of other O'Neal films (The Driver, Paper Moon, What's Up, Doc?) it is ridiculously clear that O'Neal kicks ass. Just because the man is pretty and was in Love Story doesn't make him shit, people. After all, Brad Pitt is pretty and in Troy, a movie almost as gay as 300 but I don't judge his entire career based on that one film.

  • Aug. 26, 2008, 6:18 p.m. CST

    Michael Herr's

    by kwisatzhaderach

    book 'Kubrick' is a must read, a personal memoir of his friendship with him. Alternately moving and hilarious, it's one of the best pieces of writing i've ever read.