Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon is one of the great movies ever made because of numerous reasons .I always wanted to write something on BARRY LYNDON but did not dare to write because I felt that it’s hard to write an article on BARRY LYNDON by providing justice to its greatness but now I decided to write a article on BARRY LYNDON because of one of the comment made on BARRY LYNDON referring to an article – “We can watch the 2nd CD of Barry Lyndon without watching the 2nd CD”.
PART1-By what means Redmond Barry Acquired the style and title of Barry Lyndon.
The caption of Part1 might give us the hint that Redmond Barry’s rise to the title BARRY LYNDON. The first scene of the first part is the long shot with a beautiful background which shows us the death of Redmond Barry’s father. After the death of his father Redmond Barry is grown under his mother. Barry’s cousin Nora Brady makes Barry fall in love with her by seducing him with her intelligent tactics but Nora Brady is more inclined towards English Captain John Quin because of the lust of wealth which the English Captain carries.In an attempt to stop Nora Brady getting married to Captain John Quin, Barry arranges a duel with the captain in which Barry kills Captain John Quin. In order to survive his life Barry escapes by leaving his mother. Later in his journey he is robbed by a highwayman leaving with no money.and with no money left with him he eventually decides to join the English Army where he has to face some difficulties. Attributed by his luck Redmond Barry escapes the War by disguising as a war courier and he continues his aimless journey. In the journey he meets women called Lischen whose husband is away fighting. Barry develops a relationship with Lischen and lives with her for some days, but he has to leave Lischen as he has to resume his journey.
Barry encounters a Prussian captain, Potzdorf, who sees through his disguise. Given the choice of joining the Prussian army or being taken for a deserter, Barry chooses to join in his second army. During one battle, he saves Potzdorf’s life. Barry is employed by the Prussian Minister of Police, Potzdorf’s uncle. It is arranged for him to become the servant of the Chevalier de Balibari, a professional gambler. The Prussians suspect that he is a spy and Barry is assigned to try to determine if he is. However, when Barry finds out the chevalier is a fellow Irishman, he confesses all to him and they become confederates and Barry finds a perfect guardian.Redmond Barry decides to get married, he finds the beautiful and wealthy Countess of Lyndon, she is married to Sir Charles Lyndon who is near to his death and has a son.
PART2-Containing an account of the misfortunes and disasters which befell Barry Lyndon.
Ultimately Barry successfully plays his tricks and gets married to Lady Lyndon and finally called as BARRY LYNDON but as he does not have true love towards his wife and leads an unfaithful life which leads to an unhappy marriage.
Bullingdon never likes his step father and Barry always beats him to posses his control over his step son. Barry brings his mother over from Ireland to live with him and she advises him to him to obtain a noble title to protect the wealth so that it does not slip to his step son Lord Bullingdon. Lord Bullingdon announces his hatred of his stepfather and is beaten by Barry in front of many important guests. Bullingdon leaves the family estate after this.Barry’s public cruelty loses him all the powerful friends he has worked so hard to make and he is shunned socially. Barry and his wife have a son Bryan Patrick. Barry loves his son very much but he had to face the tragic death of his son.
After the death of his son Barry turns to drink, while Lady Lyndon seeks solace from religion, assisted by the Reverend Samuel Runt, tutor first to Lord Bullingdon and then to Bryan. Barry’s mother dismisses Reverend Runt partly because they no longer need a tutor; partly for fear that his influence is only making Lady Lyndon worse. Plunging even deeper into grief, she attempts suicide. Upon hearing of this, Lord Bullingdon returns and challenges Barry to a duel.In the unfortunate Duel Barry loses his right leg. Bullingdon takes control of the estateand offers his stepfather an annuity of 500 guineas if he leaves England. Barry Lyndon never sees Lady Lyndon again. Barry Lyndon resumes his former profession of a gambler, but without his former success.
Analysis of PART1.
The first part of BARRY LYNDON does not give Barry a good life or even a decent life but instead it gives him many twists and turns which would lead him to his aimless destiny.
The opening scene itself is a sad one where the father of Redmond Barry is dead and after he is grown by looking at his mother without a husband. He is deceived by his cousin and fails in his first true love. He is deceived in a duel with the English Captain. He is robbed by a highwayman making his living hard. When Barry joins the English Army he has to face seven years of war and with some luck he escapes the war and when he resumes the journey he find true love in Lischen but he had to leave the true love which he has found. Later due to his misfortunes he had to get admitted into the other army where he does not have a good life.
Analysis of PART2.
The PART2 of BARRY LYNDON shows the fall of BARRY LYNDON. Barry was never successful to get his step son’s gratitude, he loses his loving son, and he had the fear of losing the wealth, he lost his well wishers and friends due to his misbehavior.Barry had to face a duel from his son in which he loses his leg and the wealth for which he married Lady Lyndon. He had to satisfy himself with 500 guineas by leaving to England and he never had the luck which he used to have in Gambling.Kubrick stops the frame and freezes it for few seconds givging a symbolic impression to the character.
My views on BARRY LYNDON
If we observe closely Barry never had the luck, in fact he was always followed by misfortunes. Throughout his life he was never lucky, he just saw the face of luck but the luck did not really accept Redmond Barry. Keeping aside the good look he was always mixed with bad luck. He lost first love with his cousin and later when he finds true love he had to leave that and when he finds wealth in his wife he could not get it and eventually he had satisfy with only one leg.The narration of BARRY LYNDON is excellent; the voice of the narrator is filled with melancholy. We know the fate of Barry Lyndon and its going to be a tragic one but we are not captured by the tragic idea of its ending but Stanley Kubrick makes us intrigued with his wonderful direction.
Kubrick once said “Barry Lyndon is a story which does not depend upon surprise. What is important is not what is going to happen, but how it will happen.
The Photography of BARRY LYNDON is impeccable; we can’t find a scene where one can say that “It could be better”. The Landscapes, War, Candle Lighting, etc… are a treat to watch. BARRY LYNDON is a film which is purely made to Celluloid itself, sometimes I feel that the film totally ignores the viewer and leaps into its own beautiful world. Stanley Kubrick made BARRY LYNDON in such a way that it embraces the screen without any compromise.
It’s really hard to tell the greatness of Barry Lyndon but some feel that it is just a boring film with good visuals. Trying to understand BARRY LYNDON is not an easy thing and not a hard thing too but when you understand the exact flavors of BARRY LYNDON you will definitely feel that BARRY LYNDON is one of the best movies ever made. BARRY LYNDON is the best work of Stanley Kubrick and one of the finest period films which we cannot see for many years. It’s not only I who feel that BARRY LYNDON is Kubrick’s best even Martin Scorsese has the same thought.
Originally published on Passionforcinema.com