Barry Lyndon

Genre: Drama; Starring: Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Steven Berkoff, Gay Hamilton, Hardy Kruger, Patrick Magee; Director: Stanley Kubrick; Author: Stanley Kubrick; Producer (group): Hawk Films, Peregrine, Polaris Productions; Runtime (in minutes): 184; MPAA Rating: PG; Distributor: Warner Bros.

Stanley Kubrick is, among other things, a quality-control freak, and in the interest of precisely preserving these films’ color designs and picture clarity, the director has personally supervised new video transfers for cassette and disc reissues. The tape versions look great, but they don’t have the discs’ hallucinatory vividness — or show as clearly how Kubrick’s obsession with photographic verisimilitude can sometimes suck the life out of his movies.

Unfortunately, Barry Lyndon has only pouty Ryan O’Neal, as an 18th-century Irish social climber, to enliven Kubrick’s endless, airless tableaux of prerevolutionary Europe; the character remains a cipher, the film an exquisite corpse. C+

Originally posted October 4 1991 — 12:00 AM EDT

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