The Barry Lyndon Imperative

In the name of God, Go!

The BFI tells me that Stanley Kubrick's 1975 masterwork Barry Lyndon is being re-released in cinemas from tomorrow. I insist you see it in all its painterly glory on the big screen at venues listed here.

2001 a Space Odyssey bores the trousers off me; I enjoy the style and lingo of A Clockwork Orange, but Barry Lyndon is Kubrick's finest colour film — and often described, rightly, as one of the greatest films ever made. And what colours! The film captures the light of Britain so well — much like another great favourite at Tweed Towers, The Draughtsman's Contract — with Kubrick agonising over each painstakingly-assembled shot and insisting on filming in natural light, and by candlelight in some scenes, inspired as he was by the paintings of Gainsborough and Hogarth.

Barry Lyndon is based on the novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray. The plot is divided into two acts that describe the rise and comeuppance of Barry Lyndon (played by Ryan O' Neal), an Irish fortune-hunter trying to integrate himself into English society in the Georgian period. The novel was based on the life of Anglo-Irish adventurer Andrew Robinson Stoney.

Kubrick included some of his favourite classical music in the soundtrack, none working better than the use of Handel's glorious Sarabande in the title music.

A wonderful film that demands three hours of your company. In the name of God, Go!


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