Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. United Kingdom, 1975. Peregrine, Hawk Films, Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel The Memoirs Of Barry Lyndon, esq. by William Makepeace Thackeray. Cinematography by John Alcott. Produced by Stanley Kubrick. Music by Leonard Rosenman. Production Design by Ken Adam. Costume Design by Milena Canonero, Ulla-Britt Soderlund. Film Editing by Tony Lawson. Academy Awards 1975. Golden Globe Awards 1975.
Slow but fascinating adaptation of W.M. Thackeray’s novel is a must-see for fans of Stanley Kubrick. It stars an awkward but bearable Ryan O’Neal in the lead role, an 18th century Irishman who goes from poverty to wealth and obscurity to infamy in the course of his lifetime and meets many interesting adventures along the way. He experiences life as a soldier, a spy, a gambler and, eventually, a feckless, rich husband before misfortune (and his lack of attention to others) comes his way and the tables turn on him. The period recreation is stunning, but the key protagonist in this particular film is Kubrick himself, who can’t help but put his signature on just about every gorgeous frame. For realism, most of it was shot with completely natural lighting, necessitating the creation of special lenses that could etch deeply shadowy images out of the candlelight. The result is a fascinating style of cinematography that looks like a painting from the period come to life. Marisa Berenson appears in a mostly non-verbal supporting role.