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
Stanley Kubrick initially wanted to film William Makepeace Thackeray's most famous novel "Vanity Fair", but then decided that he couldn't do justice to its expansive plot within the limits of a three-hour film. He then decided to film "The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq." instead. The announcement of a TV miniseries production contributed to his decision. See more »
When Barry breaks up the meeting between his cousin Nora and Capt. John Quin, the light shifts from right to left and back again several times. 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 »
I can't believe that there are people who find this dull.
In fact it's one of Kubrick's most gripping pictures, with a narrative drive second only to that of "Dr. Strangelove" (and it's unquestionably a more glorious creation than, say, anything he made in the 1950s). English director Michael Powell (while attributing a similar failing to one of his own works) says that Kubrick fell into "the trap of the picturesque", but while I admire Powell as a creator, the judgment is absurd: at the VERY least, each lush image shows us people not just occupying a part of the screen but inhabiting a world, and tells us much about their relation to that world. Many shots are indeed amazing and beguile the eye, but they don't have the effect they do simply because they would make nice postcards.
THIS, I feel sure (without having read Thackeray), is the proper way to adapt a long story from novel to screen. Each scene is either allowed as much time as it needs to make its point and its impact, or it's cut altogether - you won't catch Kubrick skating too quickly over his material for no better reason than to fit it all in. The third-person narration (consisting of witty, beautifully crafted sentences - it's about time I did read Thackeray) almost performs a kind of dance with the images, gliding in just when we need it, taking a step back when we don't. (So rarely is even third-person narration used so well.) And as always, Kubrick's musical sense is unerring. My impression at the time was that I was listening to mid-eighteenth century music that gave way to pieces from the classical era as the hero started to move in higher and higher circles. I was more or less right. But then I noticed Schubert's name in the credits - and I realised with a start that I'd been listening to, had even started tapping my feet to, a Schubert piece I was familiar with, without the anachronism registering.
It's a pity Kubrick stopped making epics after this. Look at the ones he's responsible for: "Spartacus" (not a project Kubrick was fond of, admittedly, but still the most magnificent of all Roman epics) "2001" (the most magnificent of ALL epics), and "Barry Lyndon". The last of the three is by no means a poor cousin.
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