Barry Lyndon (1975)

PG | 183-184 or 187 mins | Drama | 1975

Director:

Stanley Kubrick

Writer:

Stanley Kubrick

Producer:

Stanley Kubrick

Cinematographer:

John Alcott

Editor:

Tony Lawson

Production Designer:

Ken Adam

Production Company:

Hawk Films Ltd.
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HISTORY

Third person voice-over narration is provided intermittently by Michael Hordern, who is not a character in the film. Title cards, similar to chapter titles in the original book, divide the film and read: “Part I: By What Means Redmond Barry Acquired the Style and Title of Barry Lyndon” and “Part II: Containing an Account of the Misfortunes and Disasters Which Befell Barry Lyndon.” An intermission divides the two parts. An oncsreen written epilogue reads: “It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled, good or bad, handsome or ugly, richer or poor. They are all equal now.”
       The story is based on a work by William Makepeace Thackeray, which was published as a serial in Fraser’s Magazine from January through December 1844 (excluding October). The work was titled, The Luck of Barry Lyndon, Esq., A Romance of the Last Century , and was attributed to Thackeray’s pseudonym, G. S. Fitzboodle. In 1856, the story was published under the title, “Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq., Written by Himself,” in Thackeray’s multi-volume set, Miscellanies . In Thackeray’s novella, unlike the film, the story was narrated in first person by the title character, “Barry Lyndon.” Among other differences between the book and the film was the final duel between Lyndon and “Lord Bullingdon,” which was created for the movie. Another scene depicting “Lt. Fakenham” and his lover was created to provide a shorter and simpler way for Lyndon to escape the British Army than was written in the book, according to Kubrick in a modern interview.
       According to a 15 Dec 1975 Time article, American expatriate director Stanley Kubrick spent ... More Less

Third person voice-over narration is provided intermittently by Michael Hordern, who is not a character in the film. Title cards, similar to chapter titles in the original book, divide the film and read: “Part I: By What Means Redmond Barry Acquired the Style and Title of Barry Lyndon” and “Part II: Containing an Account of the Misfortunes and Disasters Which Befell Barry Lyndon.” An intermission divides the two parts. An oncsreen written epilogue reads: “It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled, good or bad, handsome or ugly, richer or poor. They are all equal now.”
       The story is based on a work by William Makepeace Thackeray, which was published as a serial in Fraser’s Magazine from January through December 1844 (excluding October). The work was titled, The Luck of Barry Lyndon, Esq., A Romance of the Last Century , and was attributed to Thackeray’s pseudonym, G. S. Fitzboodle. In 1856, the story was published under the title, “Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq., Written by Himself,” in Thackeray’s multi-volume set, Miscellanies . In Thackeray’s novella, unlike the film, the story was narrated in first person by the title character, “Barry Lyndon.” Among other differences between the book and the film was the final duel between Lyndon and “Lord Bullingdon,” which was created for the movie. Another scene depicting “Lt. Fakenham” and his lover was created to provide a shorter and simpler way for Lyndon to escape the British Army than was written in the book, according to Kubrick in a modern interview.
       According to a 15 Dec 1975 Time article, American expatriate director Stanley Kubrick spent three years and $11 million to bring the Thackeray story to the screen. Kubrick was initially interested in doing a biographical film about Napoleon, but after deciding the project would be too expensive and difficult, he turned to Thackeray’s novel, which he read several times. The same article stated that when he approached Warner Bros. with an outline, he kept the title of his story secret, changing all names, places and dates so that his idea for using the public domain source would not be stolen. Modern sources report that Kubrick’s secrecy led to speculation that he was developing Traumnovelle , the 1926 novella by Arthur Schnitzler that inspired his final film, Eyes Wide Shut (1999).) After getting Warners’ backing for Barry Lyndon , Kubrick began writing the script and, with production designer Ken Adam, researching eighteenth-century art to help him create the atmosphere of the story.
       To replicate the look of the eighteenth-century art, Kubrick decided to shoot in natural light and candle light. As noted in the SatRev review and many other sources, Kubrick purchased a Zeiss f0.7 lens that was the fastest available at that time and that had never been used for a motion picture. According to modern sources, to add to the historical ambience, the costume designers bought actual eighteenth-century clothing for the actors to wear, but as they were too small for twentieth century people, new costumes were made based on the historic clothing.
       While scouting locations, according to the 15 Dec 1975 Time article, Kubrick hoped to film near his home in Borehamwood, England and initially checked out great houses in his vicinity. A modern source reported that he was convinced by Adam to photograph in Ireland. A portion of the story takes place in Ireland, and a 15 Aug 1973 Var news item reported that Kubrick was scouting locations in that country. A 10 Aug 1973 HR production chart indicates that filming was taking place in London, and later charts confirmed that the troupe was filming in Ireland and in particular, in Dublin.
       On 12 Dec 1973, a DV news item reported that the principal photography was approximately one third complete, and that the production, which had gone on hiatus, would resume in 1974. Although there were rumors that the film was being scrapped, the same DV news item stated that Kubrick was using the time off to reorganize. A 20 Feb 1974 Var news items reporting that the production team had moved to rural southern England and also stated that Kubrick denied rumors that the Irish Republican Army had forced the filmmakers out of the country. As acknowledged in the end credits, portions of the film were shot on location at Corsham Court, Stourhead House and Castle Howard and Glastonbury Rural Life Museum. A 19 Jul 1974 HR news item reported that Kubrick was shooting at Wilton House, Salisbury, Wiltshire. The NYT review reported that German locations were used and modern sources report that second units were sent to Germany. The LAT review reported that the principal photography occurred over three hundred days.
       A 18 Dec 74 HR news item announced that although the film was expected to be completed by mid-summer 1975, the studio would delay a simultaneous U.S.-Great Britain release until December, as the “epic quality” of the film would be in keeping with the holiday season and the extra time would be used to publicize the film. In a 20 Dec 1974 LAT news item, a studio executive described Barry Lyndon as "easily Kubrick's most ambitious work." However, according to a 6 May 1976 DV article, the three-hour-plus film was a disappointment for the studio at the box office. Despite the low audience turnout, the film received many commendations. The Cue review called it “one of most beautiful films ever made.” The NYT review reported that it suggested the work of painters Thomas Gainsborough and Antoine Watteau, and the SatRev critic was reminded of “Old Masters.” As noted by the Films & Filming review, the use of mostly period music is heard throughout approximately two-thirds of the film. Georg Frideric Handel’s Sarabande, which the same review describes as “ominous and foreboding,” serves as the film’s theme music and is reprised several times. According to a 16 Apr 2000 NYT essay, Barry Lyndon was a hard-to-sell period drama, but may in retrospect have prophecied the later popularity of the works of James Ivory, Ismail Merchant and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.
       Barry Lyndon won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design and Music (Scoring: Original Song Score and/or Adaptation), and was nominated for Best Picture, Directing and Writing (Screenplay Adapted from Other Material). The film won two BAFTA awards, for Direction and Cinematography, and was nominated for Best Film, Art and Costume Design. In addition, the film received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture-Drama and Best Director-Motion Picture. Kubrick received nominations from the DGA and WGA for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures and Best Drama Adapted from Another Medium, respectively. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
4 Mar 1974.
---
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1973.
---
Daily Variety
12 Dec 1975
p. 3, 26.
Daily Variety
6 May 1976.
---
Films and Filming
Oct 1977
pp. 40-43.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Aug 1973
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Feb 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jul 1974
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 Dec 1975.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
19 Dec 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 July 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Jul 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
20 Dec 1974.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 Dec 1975
Section IV, p. 1, 29.
Los Angeles Times
21 May 1976.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Dec 1975.
---
New York Times
19 Dec 1975
p. 52.
New York Times
21 Dec 1975.
---
New York Times
18 Apr 2000.
---
New Yorker
29 Dec 1975.
---
Newsweek
22 Dec 1975.
---
Saturday Review
10 Jan 1976.
---
Time
15 Dec 1975.
pp. 72-78.
Variety
28 Feb 1973.
---
Variety
15 Aug 1973.
---
Variety
6 Feb 1974.
---
Variety
20 Feb 1974.
---
Variety
17 Dec 1975
p. 23.
Village Voice
29 Dec 1975.
---
Wall Street Journal
22 Dec 1975.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Film by Stanley Kubrick, A Peregrine Film
A Peregrine Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITER
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
2d unit cam
Cam op
Cam op
Focus puller
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam grip
Cam grip
Gaffer
Chief elec
Lenses for candlelight photog made by
Adpt for cine by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
German art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Prop master
Prop man
Prop buyer
Const mgr
Painter
Drapesman
Drapesman
Drapesman
Armourer
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Cost maker
Cost maker
Cost maker
Cost maker
Cost maker
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward asst
MUSIC
Mus adpt and cond by
SOUND
Dubbing mixer
Asst ed
Sd ed's asst
Special sd assistance
DANCE
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup
Makeup
Hairstyles and wigs
Hairdressing
Hairdressing
Hairdressing
Hairdressing
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Prod mgr
Prod mgr
Unit mgr
German prod mgr
Loc liaison
Loc liaison
Casting
Prod's secy
Prod secy
Prod secy
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Asst accountant
Gambling adv
Historical adv
Fencing coach
Horsemaster
Wrangler
STAND INS
Stunt arr
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col grading
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the serial story The Luck of Barry Lyndon, Esq., A Romance of the Last Century by William Makepeace Thackeray in Fraser's Magazine (Jan--Dec, 1844).
MUSIC
"Sarabande" by George Frideric Handel
"Hohenfriedberger March" by Frederick the Great
"British Grenadiers," traditional
+
MUSIC
"Sarabande" by George Frideric Handel
"Hohenfriedberger March" by Frederick the Great
"British Grenadiers," traditional
March from Idomeneo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
German Dance No. 1 in C Major by Franz Schubert
"Cavatina" from Il Barbiere di Seviglia by Giovanni Paisiello
Third Movement from Cello Concerto in E Minor by Antonio Vivaldi
Adagio from Concerto for Two Harpsichords by Johann Sebastian Bach
Second Movement from Piano Trio in E Flat, Op. 100 by Franz Schubert
"Women of Ireland" by Seán Ó Riada, performed by The Chieftains
"Piper's Maggot Jig," "The Sea Maiden" and "Lilliburlero," traditional, performed by The Chieftains.
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
1975
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 18 December 1975
Los Angeles openings: 19 December 1975
Production Date:
began 1973 in London
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
11 December 1975
Copyright Number:
LF327
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Metrocolor
Duration(in mins):
183-184 or 187
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
United Kingdom, Ireland, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24077
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Ireland, in the late 1700s, Redmond Barry’s father, a gentleman lawyer, is killed in a duel, and his mother never remarries. Years later, the adolescent Barry is seduced by his promiscuous cousin, Nora Brady. When John Quin, an English captain worth 1,500 pounds a year, takes an interest in Nora, her debt-ridden father is pleased, but Barry challenges Quin to a duel. Barry’s second in the duel is his older friend, Captain Jack Grogan, and also present are Barry’s cousins, Ulick and Mick Brady. When Barry’s gunfire knocks Quin flat, the Brady cousins pronounce him dead and urge Barry to flee to avoid a murder charge. Barry sets off with pistols, good boots, a horse and his mother’s savings, but on the way is robbed of all but his boots by highwaymen. Continuing on foot, Barry encounters British soldiers and joins the army. After training, he is sent to Germany where he unexpectedly reunites with Grogan. His old friend confesses that he, his cousins and Quin tricked Barry into believing that the captain was killed in the duel, so that Barry would leave and free Nora to marry Quin and stabilize the family fortune. After Grogan is killed in battle, Barry longs to escape from his military contract and an opportunity arises when he is able to steal the uniform of Lt. Jonathan Fakenham, an army dispatcher. Pretending to be the lieutenant carrying information to the British ally, the Hessian army, Barry proceeds toward neutral Holland, although he first tarries a few days with a lonely German woman. Moving on, Barry next encounters a Prussian regiment led by Captain Potzdorf, who, despite Barry’s fine manners and glib tongue, ... +


In Ireland, in the late 1700s, Redmond Barry’s father, a gentleman lawyer, is killed in a duel, and his mother never remarries. Years later, the adolescent Barry is seduced by his promiscuous cousin, Nora Brady. When John Quin, an English captain worth 1,500 pounds a year, takes an interest in Nora, her debt-ridden father is pleased, but Barry challenges Quin to a duel. Barry’s second in the duel is his older friend, Captain Jack Grogan, and also present are Barry’s cousins, Ulick and Mick Brady. When Barry’s gunfire knocks Quin flat, the Brady cousins pronounce him dead and urge Barry to flee to avoid a murder charge. Barry sets off with pistols, good boots, a horse and his mother’s savings, but on the way is robbed of all but his boots by highwaymen. Continuing on foot, Barry encounters British soldiers and joins the army. After training, he is sent to Germany where he unexpectedly reunites with Grogan. His old friend confesses that he, his cousins and Quin tricked Barry into believing that the captain was killed in the duel, so that Barry would leave and free Nora to marry Quin and stabilize the family fortune. After Grogan is killed in battle, Barry longs to escape from his military contract and an opportunity arises when he is able to steal the uniform of Lt. Jonathan Fakenham, an army dispatcher. Pretending to be the lieutenant carrying information to the British ally, the Hessian army, Barry proceeds toward neutral Holland, although he first tarries a few days with a lonely German woman. Moving on, Barry next encounters a Prussian regiment led by Captain Potzdorf, who, despite Barry’s fine manners and glib tongue, quickly discovers that he is an imposter. While arresting him, Potzdorf offers Barry the choice of joining the Prussian army or being executed by the British for desertion. Barry chooses to fight with the Prussians and later risks his life to rescue Potzdorf from a burning building. When the war ends, the grateful Potzdorf and his uncle, the minister of police, give Barry employment. Working under cover, Barry takes a job as the valet of the Chevalier de Balibari, who is suspected of being a spy. Barry dutifully reports the Chevalier’s movements to Potzdorf, but reveals his true identity to the Chevalier, after realizing he is actually Irish and a fellow countryman. Together, they choose unimportant details for Barry to report to Potzdorf, and Barry also assists the Chevalier at the gambling table by informing him through secret signals what cards his opponents have drawn. When the Prince of Tûbingen accuses the Chevalier of cheating, the Chevalier challenges him to a duel, prompting Potzdorf’s uncle to arrange for the Chevalier’s banishment. Because Barry is privy to their plans, the Chevalier is able to secretly get out of the country, leaving Barry to impersonate him. Mistaking him for the Chevalier, guards escort Barry to Saxony and freedom. He and the Chevalier then live in the best society, supported by their gambling. Scheming to marry a woman of fortune, Barry pursues Lady Lyndon, despite the presence of her older husband, Sir Charles, who is chair-ridden by disease and gout. Seeing Lady Lyndon’s attraction to Barry, Sir Charles becomes so enraged that he dies of a heart attack. A year later, Barry marries Lady Lyndon, despite the animosity of her young son, Viscount Bullingdon, who senses that Barry is a fortune hunter. Barry receives permission from the King to add his wife’s name to his own and becomes known as Barry Lyndon, but after the birth of his son, Bryan Patrick Lyndon, Barry and his wife live separately. He pursues a life of debauchery and gambling, and spending her money to decorate Castle Hackton and their other residences, while Lady Lyndon lives in isolation, seeing only her sons and their tutor, Reverend Samuel Runt, who also serves as her spiritual advisor. One day, she observes Barry consorting with her maid and feels humiliated, but when Barry approaches her in her bath to apologize, she forgives him. However, young Bullingdon does not forgive Barry, and when he reminds Lady Lyndon that Sir Charles is his true father, Barry takes him out of the room to horsewhip him. As the years pass, Barry dotes on the sweet-natured Bryan, while Bullingdon’s hatred intensifies. When Barry’s mother comes to visit, she points out to him that the fortune will eventually go to Bullingdon and urges Barry to obtain a title of his own. To that end, Barry discusses the issue with former government minister, Lord Hallam, who refers him to Gustavus Adolphus, the thirteenth Earl of Wendover. The Earl, making no promises, is willing to consider backing Barry, but says that there must be no question of his worthiness. Barry spends money lavishly to buy lands and expensive pictures, to entertain those most likely to advance him and make bribes in high places. One day in the boys’ schoolroom, when Bullingdon and the usually congenial Bryan quarrel, Barry whips Bullingdon. The viscount, now grown, threatens that next time he will kill Barry. Later, at an intimate gathering of well-chosen gentlepeople, Bullingdon makes a noisy show of interrupting a musical and accusing Barry of infidelity and swindling his property, and then announces that he is leaving home. Enraged, Barry begins to beat and strangle Bullingdon until guests pull them apart. From then on, Barry is considered outcast by good society, although they do not admit this to his face. At once, his bills become due and are paid by Lady Lyndon’s income. When Bryan is killed after being thrown from a horse, Lady Lyndon plunges into feverish religious devotion, Barry buries his grief in drink and Mrs. Barry takes over the management of Castle Hackton. She informs Runt that his services as schoolteacher are no longer required, but after he departs, Lady Lyndon attempts suicide. Runt and a family clerk alert Bullingdon, who returns and challenges Barry to a duel. After tossing a coin to determine who will shoot first, Bullingdon gets the first shot, but his gun misfires as he cocks it. He must then stand for Barry to fire at him, but first vomits from stress. Taking pity, Barry fires his gun toward the ground and, although witnesses expect that Bullingdon will now concede that he has received satisfaction, Bullingdon does not. He shoots Barry in the leg, which must be amputated. Later, Bullingdon grants the debt-ridden Barry an annuity of five hundred guineas for life, if he leaves England. Knowing that he will be imprisoned for his debts if he remains, Barry returns to Ireland with his mother. Eventually, he travels to Europe and again takes up the life of a gamester, but this time unsuccessfully. He never again sees Lady Lyndon and dies in poverty, but for as long as he lives, she signs his annuity checks, hiding any feelings she has for him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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