Warner I3ros. Studio I3urbank, Calif. ... 843 6000


The Book

"The Luck of Barry Lyndon" was the first novel of William Makepeace Thackeray, Victorian writer, contemporary of Dickens and author of "Vanity Fair." It was first published in monthly installments in 1844 and is considered by critics as a work of great importance in the pattern of Thackeray's career and as a work of art.

It relates the adventures of a favorite kind of Thackeray character, the scoundrel-gentleman, in 18th century society where money is the most important object and "honor" the most misused word.

Thackeray's point, as critic Martin J. Anisman has remarked, is to show how completely Barry's unscrupulousness in achieving worldly success fails to bring him any happiness or contentment. "The level of realism that Thackeray reached in his novel," Anisman says, "is quite possibly unmatched in the rest of his fiction." Thackeray himself was a great traveller and a ha bitual gambler. Both aspects influenced his book which moves from Ireland to England and the Continent of Europe, following Thackeray's familiar routes, and draws on the novelist's own experiences for its descriptions of the gaming rooms and games of chance. Thackeray "used such histories ... not as a substitute for thought, but as a means of gaining profound insight into the complexities of the human mind and its emotions." The period covered by the novel is roughly the first half of the 18th century and focuses on 13a.rry's Irish peasant upbringing, marriage into the English aristocracy, and acquisition and loss of great wealth, as well as his military adventures in the armies of England and Frederick the Great of Prussia during the Seven Years' War. As a soldier, gambler, professional spy, wencher, wife-beater, man-abouttown and debtor, Barry Lyndon is one of the roundest portraits ever drawn of the romantic anti-hero at large in a society that was generally no better than he and wide open to its exploitation by someone of cunning, daring and ''luck."

The Film

"Barry Lyndon" is Stanley Kubrick's tenth film. his earlier works are:

"Fear and Desire" (1953); "Killer's Kiss" (1955); "The Killing" (1956); "Paths of Glory" (1957); "Spartacus" (1960); "Lolita" (1961); "Dr. Strangelove" (1963); "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), and "A Clockwork Orange" (1971).

Kubrick wrote the screenplay for "Barry Lyndon" and a~o produced it. Filming, editing and other technical processes took almost two-and-a-half years, beginning in the early fall of 1973, and ending with the film's world premiere in December, 1975. The film was shot in its entirety on location in Southern Ireland, England and East Germany.

The Locations

Hewing as closely as possible to Thackeray's original period look and feel, Kubrick used both authentic Irish settings and adapted others to resemble parts of the Continent of Europe that play a role in Barry's adventures.

The film unit established headquarters in a former Garda (or Police) Station near Waterford in the Republic of Ireland. Most of the early part of "I3arry Lyndon" is set in Ireland and Kubrick found qualities of landscape untouched since the 18th century, as well as aspects of the natives (and their weather) that fitted Thackeray's realistic descriptions.

Some 200-250 men from the Irish Army were made available for the film, duplicating the maneuvers, skirmishes and full-scale battles of the Seven Years' War. Thev alternately wore the uniforms of France, England and Prussia. Military adviser to Kubrick in these sequences was the well-known historian, John Mollo.

About half a year had been consumed in location scouting and arranging for all the facilities and cooperation essential for the prolonged shooting. The stone walls and towers of Kells did duty as the assembly point for the English "Redcoats;" Cahir Castle, near Waterford, represented a part of Germany where I3arry has been dragooned into the army of Frederick the Great; and Carrick-on-Suir was used as background for the sequences of Barry in the English militia.

The film unit was permitted access to Dublin Castle whose interiors were adapted to resemble a very elegant hotel and a gambling casino.

One of the most difficult problems to solve was to find a number of period buildings sited so close to each other that they would appear to be lining a main thoroughfare in 18th century Germany. Such a location was eventually discovered in Potsdam, East Germany, where buildings in the style of Frederick the Great did duty for the city of Berlin a few years after the Seven Years'

War. Coaches and other period artifacts came from the East German film studios.

When filming shifted to England, a vast variety of stately homes was used to portray different parts of the rural aristocracy and high society of the 18th century. They included Wilton House, near Salisbury, and Castle howard, in the North of England, for scenes on the Countess of Lyndon's estate. The chapel at Longleat, seat of the Marquess of Bath, was used for the marriage of Barry to the Countess of Lyndon. Corsham Court, Wiltshire, featured in a musical sequence; and the tithe barn at Glastonbury Abbey was used for a swordfight scene. Battle scenes in England were filmed near Bath, Somerset.

The Costumes

The task of producing costumes that would be absolutely authentic in both their period look and yet natural in the way they were worn by a vast cast of characters portraying all kinds of social conditions fell upon two women.

Ulla-Britt Soderlund and Milena Canonero designed, cut, made up and dyed the principal costumes, totalling many dozens and representing the wardrobes of virtually every social class in Ireland, England and in the armies of France, England and Prussia. Miss Soderlund's last distinguished costume design was for Jan Troell's "The Emigrants," and "The New Land," about the Swedish settlers in the New World.

Milena Canonero, Kubrick's costume designer on "A Clockword Orange" supervised every detail of the performers' wardrobes including wigs, jewelry, ensuring that the garments were not only in period but would preserve the impression that they fitted naturally into the daily lives of the characters who wore them.

Basic costume designs were taken from paintings and printed illustrations of the period. Advertisements produced a rich haul of authentic 18th cen tury garments from collectors and owners in the Midlands of England. These were copied stitch by stitch; the preparation of the costumes lasted nearly 18 months.

The Photography

More pains have been taken in "Barry Lyndon" than in any previous "period" film to reproduce the exact social feel of the times through the subtle gradations of lighting, both natural and artificial. Since candlelight was the main means of interior illumination, this posed exceptionally tricky problems for Kubrick and his lighting photographer John Alcott, who had worked with him on his last two films, "A Clockwork Orange" and "2001: A Space Odyssey."

The problem was that the lenses customarily used for motion picture photography are not fast enough to film candlelight without a great deal of additional light being used for the scene which kills the impression of authenticity.

Kubrick solved this by finding a lens hitherto only developed, by the Zeiss Corporation, for NASA. This was a SOmm F 0.7 lens, the fastest lens ever built. Unfortunately no motion picture camera existed on which it could be used. Kubrick decided one must be specially adapted.

This task was undertaken by Ed di Giuho, a Californian motion picture engineer, who took a Mitchell BNC camera and rebuilt it to accomodate the Zeiss lens.

The Music

As in all Kubrick's films, the music is a matter of the most concentrated planning. "Barry Lyndon" uses an extraordinary wide and subtly selected range of music. Three numbers based on traditional Irish airs were performed by the internationally recognized group, the Chieftains; an important music source was a Handel Sarabande, originally written for the keyboard and arranged for the film by Leonard Rosenman to be played with different orchestrations; a Bach harpsichord concerto, a Vivaldi cello concerto, and a Schubert piano composition were also used; as well as traditional fifes, drums and military marches. Kubrick also found and used music which was composed by none other than Frederick the Great of Prussia.

"Barry Lyndon" was written for the screen, produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick and stars Ryan O'Neal and Marisa Berenson. For release world-wide by Warner Bros.

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