Are you one of the league who find Kubrick's cinema fascinating and wonderful but are also confused by seeming peculiarities? Are you certain those often under-the-radar-over-the-head weirdnesses must mean something? Or maybe you're just curious? Here's my request. That you, please, think in terms of art with intention, which isn't conspiracy and has nothing to do with conspiracy theories. Would you think of music composed of unspoken themes as being conspiracy? What's difficult is teasing out the artist's conscious intention as versus accidental as versus the viewer's role as an active pilgrim walking the road that art provides to accessing the unconscious and mythic archetypes. As an author and artist, I know what it is to hope for at least a few such pilgrims, confident they are the minority, that most think in terms of being only entertained, and to attempt to compose for both. Even with those who are just wanting a good story, or who want to dissect a film for practical good-cinema purposes, the majority would likely admit that it is the inherent mystery in Kubrick's films that functions as their primary gravity. It is that sense of something deeper, a subterranean coherence that provides the glue, that compels individuals to return and perhaps begin to move, without their even realizing it, from a passive state into a more active, participatory role where art becomes a transformative experience rather than just visual popcorn.

Note on method of analysis and a kind of disclaimer:

For the real film buff, I've gone through and listed shots, images from each, and length of time of shots. Because I raised myself on the old Evergreen Black Cat cinema books which took pains to do the same and loved studying them. And because that is the only way to really begin to do a good, involved analysis of Kubrick's films, which are very complex internally and in their relationships as an oeuvre.

Kubrick's films elicit a lot of whys and wherefores,"What does this mean?", because he included so many seeming puzzles inviting review, mysteries that demanded second and third notice, editing quirks and both subtle and obvious shifts in staging. My analyses haven't much to do with the psychology, but look at Kubrick's choices of stories, music, places he filmed, staging, the differences between the literature and the script that made it onto celluloid and how he chose to edit it all together, carrying themes from film to film, and based on these elements I dip into a variety of possible influences. But, of course, I do not know for certain about any of my insights, and I could very well be in error from beginning to end. So, please keep in mind I make no claim on knowing anything but that art should never be dissected like this and I apologize to Stanley for being a cinema heathen, well, except for the fact that I believe Stanley constructed his films for spelunking, for following the clues in the maze, so no apologies really are necessary.

Analysis of Stanley Kubrick's Film Barry Lyndon - Table of Contents

One - Shots 1 thru 118, stopping when Barry leaves home.

Sections and some subjects covered:
The First Duel:
The book versus the film. Heightening the reality through the painterly effect, a comparison with 2001. Kubrick's cycles. The undulating waveform of the wall and fence.
Mrs. Barry commits her life to Barry and the memory of her dead husband: The book versus the film.
The Ribbon Game with Nora Brady: The book versus the film. Location. The rose blows. The eight of hearts. Love story.
Captain Quin, the Regimental Review and Dance: The book versus the film. The pyramid and the false Barry at the center of the scene. The Piper's Maggot Jig, the earworm and the Sarabande.
Nora Caught Between the Affections of Barry and Quin: The book versus the film. The chopping wood scene and Caliban.
The Challenge: The book versus the film.
The Second Walk Home: The book versus the film.
The Second Duel: The book versus the film. For honor or love or what?
Barry Returns Home, as His Father Did Not, Only to Leave: The book versus the film. The pursuing shadow of doom.

Two - Shots 119 thru 254, up to that time that Barry takes on the guise of Fakenham in an attempt to escape the army.

Sections and some subjects covered:
Captain Feeny: The book versus the film. The magic of misdirection. Fathers and sons and this scene as a bridge in which is past and future. (In Ryan's Daughter the actress who played Barry's mother was wife of the actor who played Capt. Feeny.) The Sea-maiden.
Barry is Recruited: Health to the Barley Mow. The book versus the film.
The Boxing Match Under the Mountain: The book versus the film. How prior events are reconstellated in this scene, and their relevance to the "Health to the Barley Mow" song. The mountain's relationship to other pyramids in Kubrick's films.
Grogan and Barry Meet Again: The book versus the film. Again, the magic of misdirection.
The Death of Grogan: The book versus the film. The kiss.
Barry Becomes a Lieutenant: The book versus th film. Expressions of love and sexuality. Eavesdropping. How this scene is similar to HAL and the chess game.

Three - Shots 255 thru 425, when Barry escapes the Prussians.

Sections and some subjects covered:
Lischen: The book versus the film. Where is this town?
Fakenham Uncovered as a Fake: The book versus the film.
Rescuing Potzdorf: The book versus the film. The violence in the army and Barry's later canings of Lord Bullingdon. The anatomy of framing. Award for a rescue as opposed to a kill.
The Minister of Police: The book versus the film. The interview with the minister of police compared with the interview with Ullman. Locations.
Barry's Confession to the Chevalier: Locations. The book versus the film. Patrick Magee, from A Clockwork Orange to Barry Lyndon.
A Prince Challenges the Chevalier: The book versus the film.

Four - Shots 426 - 493, thru the death of Sir Charles Lyndon. Intermission.
Five - Shots 494 - 636, thru when Lord Bullingdon and Barry have their public fight.
Six - Shots 637 - 714, thru Bullingdon's challenging of Barry to a duel.
Seven - Shots 715 - 789.


Kubrick's Barry Lyndon and Veit Harlan's The Great King

Nietzsche, The Shining, and The White Man's Burden, in which I discuss also the role of women in other films of Kubrick's.

Link to the main Kubrick page for all the analyses