SHERDOG MOVIE CLUB: Week 14 Discussion - Barry Lyndon

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by Guestx, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. Guestx

    Guestx Guest

    NOTE to NON-MEMBERS: Confused about what's going on in here? See the following thread:

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    @chickenluver gets credit for our first (though probably not the last) foray into Kubrick, and this week we'll be discussing what is perhaps one of the master's most contentious films, Barry Lyndon.


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    Director Bio


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    Barry Lyndon is directed by STANLEY KUBRICK. We all know this guy. 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, etc. We fucking know Stanley Kubrick.

    But here's a little more info. . .

    Kubrick was born in New York in 1928 and, at an early age, displayed an interest in literature, photography and film. After graduating high school he taught himself the art of filmmaking and began making short films on shoestring budgets. This lead to his to his first major Hollywood feature, The Killing, in 1956. He then went on to collaborate with Kirk Douglas on Paths of Glory and Spartacus.

    Due to his growing frustration with Hollywood and the film studios, as well as a concern over an increase in crime in the United States, he moved to the UK in 1961 where he spent most of the rest of his life and career. Just because he's Stanley Kubrick, and fucking awesome, he was essentially able to work from England with a great deal of creative control over his films while still being financed by Hollywood.

    While often regarded as masterpieces in hindsight, many of Kubrick's movies were met with mixed reviews from critics upon their release. Nevertheless, most of his films have been nominated for Oscars, Golden Globes and/or BAFTA awards.

    As a director, Kubrick was known to be very demanding, especially in regard to the number of takes he would require from his actors. Jack Nicholson said that it was common for Kubrick to want 50 takes of a scene. Of this, Kubrick once said, "Actors are essentially emotion-producing instruments, and some are always tuned and ready while others will reach a fantastic pitch on one take and never equal it again, no matter how hard they try."

    I'll end with this interesting excerpt from Wikipedia on Kubrick and Steven Spielberg:



    Our Star

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    Our title character is played by RYAN O'NEAL.

    Before beginning his acting career in 1960, O'Neal had his sights set on becoming a professional boxer and competed in many amateur bouts, including two Golden Gloves championships. He started his acting career on television and had guest roles on such shows as Leave it to Beaver and Perry Mason.

    He then moved on to roles in feature films and even earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his performance in 1970's Love Story. He has continued to work consistently over the years, though rarely in big mainstream movies. Recently he appeared in Terrence Malick's 2015 film Knight of Cups and also has had a recurring role in the TV show Bones.



    Film Overview and YouTube Videos


    Premise: An Irish rogue wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes her dead husband's aristocratic position in 18th-century England.

    Budget: $11 Million
    Box Office: $20 Million











    Trivia
    (courtesy of IMDB)

    * Contrary to legend, this film did use artificial lighting in some scenes (for example, when Brian learns he's getting a horse). However, it is true that no electronic lighting was used for the candle-lit scenes. A lens built by the Carl Zeiss company for NASA, a fifty millimetre Zeiss lens modified with the Kollmorgen adaptor used in still cameras, was used to shoot scenes lit only by candle. This lens had the largest aperture of any ever built for movie use (f/0.7).

    * 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.

    * Many of the shots were composed and filmed in order to evoke certain eighteenth century paintings, especially those by Thomas Gainsborough.

    * Filming took 300 days during a 2 year span, beginning around May or June of 1973. The production suffered two major shutdowns and resulted in a then bloated budget of $11 million. It was finally released in December of 1975.

    * A myth grew that the Academy Award-winning costumes used in the film were genuine antique clothes, but this is only partly correct. Some of the costumes were genuine antiques bought at auction by costume designer Milena Canonero, while others were custom-made specifically for the film and were based on clothing of the period and costumes seen in period paintings.

    * According to Marisa Berenson, actors involved in the candlelight sequences were not allowed to move freely because the focus range of the custom-built lens was too shallow. This justifies John Alcott's claim that camera movement during those sequences was minimal and thus required constant supervision on the lens' focus range.

    * With a running time of 184 minutes, this is Stanley Kubrick's second longest film, after Spartacus (1960) which has a running time of 197 minutes.

    * In a scene where Patrick Magee was supposed to deal cards, he began to sweat, and the sweat on his palms made it nearly impossible to deal cards smoothly. Stanley Kubrick brought in a professional card dealer, and then realized that the card dealer's hands were smooth while Magee's were hairy. To prevent continuity problems, Magee's hands were shaved so the cuts would both look like him.

    * Stanley Kubrick instructed Marisa Berenson to keep out of the sun in the months before production in order to achieve the period-specific pallor he required.

    * Even though Marisa Berenson played Leon Vitali's mother in the film, she was only about a year older.

    * Despite having second billing in the film, Marisa Berenson (Lady Lyndon) speaks only 13 lines of dialogue.

    * Barry Lyndon is Martin Scorsese's favorite Stanley Kubrick film.

    * Marisa Berenson described Stanley Kubrick as being uncharacteristically shy around her, and that he would often prefer to communicate his direction with numerous handwritten notes.

    * Barry receives two "Friedrich d'or" coins as a reward for his bravery when rescuing Captain Potsdorf. A "Friedrich d'or" was a Prussian gold coin, made of 21 carat gold.

    * According to Stanley Kubrick's biographer, Robert Redford was the original choice for the role of Barry Lyndon but turned it down.

    * The few bits of German and French dialogue in the film are translated into English if you turn on English subtitles on the DVD, although no subtitles were used in the standard print of the film.

    * Barry Lyndon was the last Stanley Kubrick film to have an intermission within it.

    * It took 42 days to edit the final duel between Barry and Lord Bullingdon.



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    Members: @shadow_priest_x @europe1 @Mondo Freaks @Luke Rockhard @TheRuthlessOne @EL CORINTHIAN @mb23100 @HUNTERMANIA @iThrillhouse @Zer @DaDamn @chickenluver @gorgonon @jeicex @INTERL0PER @MusterX @Scott Parker 27 @BeardotheWeirdo @Caveat @method115
     
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  2. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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  3. Rimbaud82

    Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    Sweet, might chime in at some point :)
     
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  4. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    Please break the ice on this movie. I have no idea how to do so myself. Gold shall be ushered into your hands in return.
     
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  5. Rimbaud82

    Rimbaud82 Black Belt

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    I would try but I'm on my tablet now and I can't type anything more than a sentence or two haha.
     
  6. Bullitt68

    Bullitt68 Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Damn it, didn't we just talk about Barry Lyndon? Who started that thread? It wasn't either @europe1 or
    @chickenluver, although I'm pretty sure both of you posted in it, and obviously it wasn't you, @shadow_priest_x. For some reason, I'm thinking it was either @BeardotheWeirdo or @BisexualMMA. Somebody with a B in their name. Or is my memory totally shot?
     
  7. Guestx

    Guestx Guest

    It was BisexualMMA, who was nice enough to delete his thread after he found out that chickenluver was going to nominate Barry Lyndon this week.
     
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  8. Tycho Brah

    Tycho Brah You drink water, I drink anarchy Platinum Member

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    Looking forward to this one but might need to watch it a little later as I'm away till the 14th. Don't boot me please!

    I nominate @Rimbaud82 to say all the cool things I was totally going to say first.
     
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  9. Scott Parker 27

    Scott Parker 27 Your Mom's Box

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    Great work shadow, I'm still looking for a place to watch this damn movie for free. If anyone has a site, hit me up.
    /Bump
    Edit: Got link, tyvm.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
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  10. BeardotheWeirdo

    BeardotheWeirdo Silver Belt

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    I just got in from work, still panting from the heat. I was going to attempt to write a proper review, but don't feel up to it now.

    Barry Lyndon is considered by many to be Kubrick's best movie, and while I don't share their sentiment, I can see why they would feel that way. It doesn't strike me as the type of movie that would appeal to a fan of A Clockwork Orange or 2001: A Space Odyssey (for example). For fans of more conventional films, this one is his best. I haven't seen all of Kubrick's films (not even half of them) but it strikes me as being different from all his other movies, except for maybe Lolita, which shares some themes, with the cousin lovin' and all. I've never been able to sit through more then 10 minutes of these types of movies before. But I made it through Barry Lyndon and enjoyed it, which is a testament to the quality of the film.

    Barry Lyndon is a complicated movie, that's pretty damn hard to try and summarize. There are so many themes at play in the movie.

    In many ways it's a commentary on love, lust, family and relationships. In other ways it shows the cyclical nature of life, how boys hate men, but become them in the end. Barry became what he hated (Captain Quinn) and Lord Bullington turned into young Barry. The countess of Lyndon basically turned into Barry's mom. She stopped caring about men and devoted herself to her children. Barry later turns into the type of man he replaced, the countess of Lyndon's former husband.

    In ways it was a critique of the aristocracy, and the influence they have on these people, which causes them to neglect their family for the pursuit of power, wealth and fame. Ironically people often seek wealth (or influence) for their family, while full well knowing it's a double-edged sword. Success means financial security but it also means a lot of time away from your family. Like the above themes, this is still relevant today.

    In ways it was a tale of growing up, and aging. Being naive then learning not to trust others, then learning to take advantage of others (since everyone else is doing it)

    At times it was about armies and the BS long-term contracts that people still sign today.

    Another theme they covered was nostalgia and history (that's written by the victors) when they talked about what the age of chivalry was really like.

    The story covers the power structures and how they turn people against each other by creating criminals. They don't provide for the people so the people do what's necessary to survive, and this empowers the government who try and solve these issues.

    I'll do a proper review later, but here's something to get the ball rolling

    I just watched it yesterday for the first time, so it definitely wasn't me.

    That would suck for the people who posted in that thread (then had their posts deleted) and now have to re-write them if they want to participate.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
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  11. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    When it comes to Barry Lyndon, I think Martin Scorsese should have the first world.

    From 13:00 onwards



    I can't help but to agree with him wholeheartedly. Few times have I felt such emotions on film. Few times have I sympathized so much with a character. Barry Lyndon is a masterpiece. But it is a masterpiece for many different reasons. It is a film with skin and bones made out of decorum and beauty. It strives to recreate the elegance of the period, and does so with sublime, breathtaking result. Frames have the splendor of paintings. Compositions mirror those of great art.

    However, its strengths does not only lay in its enchanting visuals. The word that describes the world that Barry Lyndon inhabits more than any other is "decorum". To put on a mask of pleasantness, dignity and grace. It is the idea that dominates the social interactions of its time. To sheild one's emotions that may be troubling from the outside world. Consequently, people's thoughts, desires and emotions often go unspoken. Filtered through the masks they wear. So much is left simmering under the surface.

    I'll do a one-theme, one-post approach from now on.
     
  12. Bullitt68

    Bullitt68 Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    I'm still getting used to this new software, but with my ninja mod skillz, I managed to find the deleted thread. Since I'm of the opinion that the Barry Lyndon discussion had in that thread is worth preserving for the sake of this thread, I'd be happy to "resurrect" those posts and put them in here so people have some more to chew on. However, since this is the SMC and not the SMD, I'll defer to your guys' wishes.

    @shadow_priest_x, @BisexualMMA, @europe1, @chickenluver: If you guys want me to copy-and-paste the discussion we had in the last thread in here, let me know. If not, that's cool, too.

    At the very least, though, I'm resurrecting my initial post ;)

     
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  13. chickenluver

    chickenluver Bookmobile Driver

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    To get this out of the way: the look of the film is absolutely magnificent. The cinematography, the set design, the locations, the costumes, the hair and makeup. It's all phenomenal. These things do much more than simply make the film beautiful to look at. All these elements work together to bring about a feeling of actually seeing the time period that the film is set in. This is something that just about every film attempts to do, but I believe this film is more successful in this sense than any other I've seen by far. Watching this film is not like watching a film to me, it's more akin to peering into a window to the past.

    Something that really caught my attention with this particular viewing was the many marvelous shots of faces, reaction shots if you will. To single out a few examples: very early when we see the English regiment marching with Redmond and the villagers watching, after the camera has spent a lot of time on the face of Captain John Quinn there is a shot of Nora Brady's face, and she looks enamored. Later at the dance we see her dancing with Quinn, and there is a perfect cut to Redmond's face, and he's pissed.

    At the very end of the first part we're introduced to Lady Lyndon. This is not one of the face shots I was talking about, but I loved this shot so much I have to say something about it. The camera pans across a courtyard and stops on Redmond and the Chevalier while the narration tells us Redmond wants to marry into money and title. Far in the background you can see the Lyndon party walk out from behind some bushes into the courtyard, before you see our fateful pair. After settling on those two the camera zooms in to give a closer look at this group of people that become of utmost importance to the rest of the film.

    At the first meeting of Redmond and Lady Lyndon: they're at the card table, Lady Lyndon's eyes wander, she looks nervously in the direction of Redmond, she looks away, she looks at the Reverend, he smiles and looks away, she looks back towards Redmond. The camera cuts to Redmond's face, and he's staring directly at her. It cuts back to Lady Lyndon, she looks away but then meets his gaze and holds it. They are now staring openly at each other. The Reverend notices. Redmond looks away, but only briefly. Finally Lady Lyndon leaves the table. We see her in an outside courtyard. She seems to be breathing heavily. Redmond followers her, slowly takes her hands and kisses her. That is visual storytelling at it's highest level, in it's most pure form.

    In the final duel with Lord Bullingdon. After he fucked up his first shot he must now stand and take Redmond's shot. He's terrified. He reacts physically, vomiting. There is a shot of Redmond's face. For the first time Redmond has pity for this man. He finally sees him as a vulnerable child. He can't bring himself to shoot him. He throws away his shot, but this one act of kindness is not enough. He's done too much bad for too long, especially to Bullingdon.

    A couple more scenes that stood out: Redmond comes to speak to Sir Charles Lyndon at his table. Sir Lyndon knows he's a cuck, he says as much. At this point in the film, during scenes of so called "high society" we've not seen anyone react with much if any overt emotion. Consider when the Prince called out the Chevalier for cheating him at cards. He was of course upset, but he was very restrained in his expression and manner, how he'd be expected to be, even though the only people in the room are the Chevalier and two servants. Sir Lyndon breaks this pattern, he's dying and he's pissed. He doesn't care that he makes a frightful scene in front of his companions and everybody else in the room. Much to his chagrin, Redmond keeps his cool. He becomes so infuriated his heart gives out and he drops dead right there.

    When Lady Lyndon is giving her concert recital and Bullingdon interrupts I noted the connection with Bullingdon claiming his shoes were being filled just as his father had said about Redmond. He was being replaced by the son of the same low born Irish upstart who replaced his own father. The difference this time is that it's Redmond who loses his cool. Notice how the room reacts at his violent outburst. The men looked utterly shocked, the women are screaming bloody fucking murder. To get this kind of reaction today you'd probably have to pull out a weapon and attack someone, a physical attack alone wouldn't do it, and sure enough later the narration tells us Redmond is received as coldly by the members of high society as if he had actually murdered Bullingdon.

    I could go on and on about the music in the film and post examples but I won't. I'll just say that the music is very close to my heart. It's one of the few film soundtracks that I've listened to multiple times outside of viewing the film, but the real reason it's so special to me is because it sparked my interest in Western Classical and Baroque music. Handel's Sarabande from the Suite in D Minor, the main theme of the film, and the second movement of Schubert's Piano Trio in E-Flat, played when Lady Lyndon is first seen, and again during the final scene. I have trouble expressing just how profound this music is to me. I first heard them because of this movie.

    Now I've managed to write a decent amount without mentioning the novel, which I would be surprised if anybody else has read. This was my 4th viewing overall, but my first since reading the book a couple years back. If anybody has some specific questions or wants to discuss the adaptation process I will, but for now I want to say something about the Epilogue statement.

    "It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now."

    This line is taken directly from the book, but it's context is completely different. It's Redmond himself who says it, and he's talking about a different group of people, from a subplot that is entirely removed from the film, one of the few major narrative changes. Kubrick must have loved the line, and it works very well as a sort of eulogy for the film as a whole.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2016
  14. chickenluver

    chickenluver Bookmobile Driver

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    Btw, sorry to @BisexualMMA for sabotaging your thread, there were some good posts in there. Is it possible to bring a thread back from the grave? And maybe merge it with this thread?

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  15. BeardotheWeirdo

    BeardotheWeirdo Silver Belt

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    I wouldn't mind that. The more input the better as far as I'm concerned.

    But It's up to Shadow Priest
     
  16. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    Accidently deleates second post after almost finishing it.

    Blames Rimbaud82 for not breaking the ice as he was supposed to:mad:

    Time to start again:rolleyes:
     
  17. Guestx

    Guestx Guest

    Okay, Barry fucking Lyndon . . . here we go.

    This is a film that I've been wanting to watch for a long time but its 3 hour runtime has always been something of a barrier for me. There comes a point where a movie stops being a movie and starts being an endurance test and the farther past the two hour mark a movie goes the more this is true. So I'm glad that it won the vote this week and I was essentially forced to go ahead and bite the bullet and get this one out of the way.

    I was immediately aware of the fact that we were in the hands of a master filmmaker just by the way the opening scene with the duel was handled. In the hands of a lesser filmmaker this scene would've been worked in a more conventional fashion with a variety of shots and edits, but Kubrick chooses instead to show restraint and let the scene play out in a single long shot. It just FEELS like the right decision and we know we're in good hands in terms of craft.

    And in terms of craft, nearly everything about this movie is perfect. The cinematography is incredible (I really want to see this movie again on Blu-Ray), the score perfectly suits every image on the screen, the pacing is spot on despite the film's long run time, and each performance is expertly rendered.

    But there is one way in which, for me at least, the movie was not all that it could be and that is that we have no one to root for. Quite simply, Barry Lyndon is an asshole.

    Here's the thing: After the first half, I was fully prepared to love this movie. I was really enjoying everything about it and was fully invested in the story and, even though he wasn't a traditional hero, I was at least enough on Barry's side to enjoy gallivanting around Europe with him. Barry the Soldier . . . Barry the Lover . . . Barry the Gambler. . . This was fun shit!

    But then we get to the second half of the film and the party was over. Basically, we get to see Barry be a selfish dick to his wife and stepson for an hour and a half and I simply did not enjoy that nearly as much. When we step into Part II we step into a hero-less movie and that's always a bit of a tough sell for me. If you're not going to give me someone to root for and care about, then you have to give me something else that excites me and makes me want to stick with the tale that is being told.

    Does Barry Lyndon do this? Well, we still have all the excellence of craft that was present from the beginning. And I suppose there is some enjoyment in seeing Lord Bullingdon get some measure of satisfaction in the end. But I can't help feeling like something important has been lost between the first half of the film and the second half.

    For me, if the first half is a 9/10, then the second half is more like a 7.5/10. It's still perfectly watchable and entertaining in certain ways, but the disappointment washes over me in an awesome wave. I really would have preferred another hour and a half of gallivanting.

    But I don't want to come off as overly negative. I did enjoy the film overall and I'll probably even pick it up on Blu-Ray eventually. As I mentioned before, it's still a masterful film even if the story didn't go in the direction I would have preferred.

    And now, before I sign off, a few random odds and ends:

    * What the fuck is up with the dudes with the powdered faces? Take this guy here. He looks like a literal fucking clown. He looks ri-goddamn-diculous. Can anyone explain how this kind of shit was actually in fashion at one point?


    [​IMG]


    * Formal duels were such an odd thing. You're just supposed to stand there and let a dude shoot at you? Fuck that. Now the sword duels, that takes some real skill. That's a fight. But the pistol duels seem foolhardy and strange at best.

    * On a similar note, what a strange way it was that armies used to fight each other. Let's all line up and consciously walk into gunfire. I have to at least give them this, that takes balls. No wonder Mel Gibson and his crew were so successful in The Patriot, though.

    * I took particular note of this line from the narrator: "This heart of Lieschen's was like many a neighboring town and had been stormed and occupied several times before Barry came to invest in it." That's good fucking writing.
     
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  18. Bullitt68

    Bullitt68 Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    It's possible. If @shadow_priest_x gives me the green light, I'll move those posts in here.
     
  19. europe1

    europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

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    That would make the thread layout rather jarring.

    Don't feel the need to move mine.
     
  20. Guestx

    Guestx Guest

    If that's what everyone wants to go then I'm okay with it. And I guess since the only two people who have chimed in are in the PRO camp then let's go ahead and do it.
     

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