20 July 2009

moving pictures- ...why I can't take my eyes off Barry Lyndon

Genius-these two- Stanley Kubrick & William Makepeace Thackeray.


The Luck of Barry Lyndon by Thackeray, was published in 1844 and based on the life and exploits of the Anglo-Irish rakehell Andrew Robinson Stoney. Stanley Kubrick adapted Thackeray's novel, making Barry Lyndon.

Whatever wooden Ryan O'Neal lacks as Barry, the languid Marisa Berenson makes up for as the unhappiest of women, Lady Lyndon.

Each minute of the film delivers art.

Whether it is 18th century costume, interiors- or landscape- the camera is recording a perfect canvas.

Kubrick wanted to create the most authentic period film ever made.

He shot on location- no studio sets and attempted to use only natural sunlight and candlelight.



Marisa Berenson is a walking canvas.



Scene after scene are moving Watteau(www.jean-antoine-watteau.org) pastorals:

"Although his mature paintings seem to be so many depictions of frivolous fêtes galantes, they in fact display a sober melancholy, a sense of the ultimate futility of life, that makes him, among 18th century painters, one of the closest to modern sensibilities." (from www.jean-antoine-watteau.org- biography)

and so it is with Barry Lyndon.

Scenes from Barry Lyndon (all Lyndon from Warner Bros. and Watteau. (www.jean-antoine-watteau.org)









27 comments:

  1. That slowly paced film is agony for most people and its carefully composed images were scorned for their surface appeal(one critic went so far as to call it A Coffee Table Movie), yet anyone with a taste for 18th century paintings will respond to it with enthusiasm.
    There's a scene in which Barry Lyndon and others are lounging about in their gentleman's club in a sort of torpor, and it's so blatantly based upon Hogarth's "A Rake's Progress" that you find yourself gasping in recognition. When that film appears on cable television my other half leaves the room. I sit there for 3 hours, glued to the screen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. this post is so stunning! thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When this movie came out, reviewers slammed Kubrick, they called this a coffee-table movie, they said it was a prettily-wrapped gift box with nothing inside, a meal of empty calories. Well, so what? With a surface an gorgeous as this, with music this glorious, who cares if the pace is glacial & the story unengaging? This has to be the most beautiful movie ever made, although the last few times I've seen it in revival houses, the color seems to have faded badly. This is one movie that begs to be restored and issued in new prints.

    ReplyDelete
  4. No movie is more ravishing. O'Neal's performance makes my teeth ache, but the largely line-free Berenson is a beauty to watch, no? No movie more accurately records the romanticism (and flattering nature) of candlelight.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I, too, remember the flapdoodle about this movie. I agree with the noteables above. Each frame is art. Louis XIII would have loved it!

    By the way, in my pile of stuff (of which I have too many), I came across pages (from House Beautiful? House and Garden?) on 25 fabulous movie interiors. In my own style, I, of course, failed to get the last page and so there are only 23!. Don't know if this is on the net. The article was produced by Ingrid Abramovitch. I kept it as a list for movies to rent. If you want my 23 of 25 I'll mail it to you. The number 1 listed was The Fountainhead.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I saw this movie for the first time just a few years ago when a client recommended it to me. I watched it 3x in a weekend! So glad to see you appreciate it too :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think I should have said Louis IV—the one who made his court move around in human chess games! I think you hit a BIG TRIPLE today. Big Time!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I always admired this movie. Ryan O'neal was one of those bizarre Kubrick casting moves that ultimately worked out.
    la-I made an oversize copy (4x5 ft.)of Watteau's fete Venetiennes some years ago and an antique dealer basically lifted it from me. It took three years to paint the thing. It's probably banging around North Carolina somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Toby W.-It is hard for me to Not look- a voyeuristic peek into this period- I know the Hogarth and am on it.gt

    ReplyDelete
  10. Magnaverde- I completely agree- it casts a spell- no to be matched-each time I see it. I photographed some of the Thorne rooms- difficult reflections with the glass, my trip to the city was delayed til Thursday so I did not see the Auditorium, a disappointment. gt

    ReplyDelete
  11. AAL- more candlelight I say. Marisa Berenson is one of those stunning woman to my mind and especially in BL-languid beyond the pale. A dining room with a candlelit chandelier would be perfect. GT

    ReplyDelete
  12. I loved it as well, but largely for visual reasons. Perhaps that limits its appeal to a narrow audience for whom a perfect image is as rewarding as a dramatic script. But I've never forgotten the sadness of Berenson, which seemed in keeping with the film and the period. A contrast to the Dutchess film of last year in this.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Home, Home- You are too kind and I would Love that tear out. Wasn't that Patricia Neal in the Fountainhead? Please keep me in mind for anything magaziney You want to. That King Louie was very smart! GT

    ReplyDelete
  14. AD- Isn't it great, Birds of a feather?
    Ulla- thank you much. gt

    ReplyDelete
  15. rurritable- I would have Loved to see this one, you have to watch those antique dealers- they have trucks they are fast. g

    ReplyDelete
  16. Take me out and shoot me. I've never seen this film. But I shall, I shall.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It was indeed a wonderfully innovative display of modern film-making. The sets are stunning and the technique that Kubrick used truly a work of art.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I seem to remember the natural lighting was possible only after much experimentation with lenses -finally solved by (I think)a Japanese photographer - also a lot of the locations would not allow period fabrics and furnishings to be exposed to the bright and hot lights- so the technique increased his choice of locations

    ReplyDelete
  19. Pamela- No way, as Barry Lyndon would say make love not war! I hope you enjoy it. g

    ReplyDelete
  20. Columnist-I read your blog and love it, and have added it to my favorites. Kubrick may have expected the lack of enthusiasm with the critics- I wonder if he anticipated the adoration the film garners from the design and art history world.Gaye

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thomas- yet another area to be explored. I watched the film again about 3 months ago and I think there were some additional features on the dvd- I may need to look again. g

    ReplyDelete
  22. You remind me all over again why this is one of my absolutely favorite movies! Beautiful juxtapositions with the Watteau paintings, too.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Susan, glad to be of service. I have just started following your blog and can not wait to delve into some of your posts. I found you through Barbara of It's about time. pgt

    ReplyDelete
  24. Un rêve de regarder toutes ces images aussi sublime les unes que les autres . Très proche du paradis .EB

    ReplyDelete
  25. Elisabeth, merci, I adore your work.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The room in the top two pictures is the double cube room at Wilton. Inigo Jones I think.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails