May 14, 2012

Pompadours and Circumstance in Barry Lyndon

On Friday, I had the exquisite pleasure of watching Stanley Kubrick's luxuriously epic adaptation (it's over three hours long and contains an official "intermission") of Thackeray's Barry Lyndon  in the Arclight's Dome. Ryan O'Neal plays the title character, a mischievous Irishman who flaneurs his way around 18th century Europe, breaking hearts and taking names as he hobnobs with everyone from aristocrats to lowlifes.

The character of Barry Lyndon is an intriguing mix of naivete and roguishness and though the narrator relates the incidents in Barry's life almost as pure circumstance, one is left to determine for oneself how much more likely they are the result of his many personality defects.

Breathtakingly gorgeous with an incredible score, the film flopped at the box office but went on to win four Academy Awards including Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design. The sets are deliciously decadent and often lit by candlelight. --Kim

Trivia from IMDB:
"Production was moved from Ireland to England after Stanley Kubrick received word that his name was on an IRA hit list for directing a film featuring English soldiers in Ireland."
"According to Stanley Kubrick's biographer, Robert Redford was the original choice for the role of Barry Lyndon but turned it down."
More trivia.

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