BARRY LYNDON ANALYSIS - PART SIX
Go to Table of Contents of the analysis (which has also a statement on purpose and manner of analysis and a disclaimer as to caveat emptor and my knowing anything authoritatively, which I do not, but I do try to not know earnestly, with some discretion, and considerable thought).
The most important thing which must be kept in mind with Kubrick's films is there is the surface or principle story and then the internal or sub-story. In many of his films, if we're really paying attention, set elements pretty much immediately destroy the surface naturalism. One may not notice this destruction the first, second or third time one watches the film. Through constructive disorientation and disconnectedness, and sleight of hand as to where our eye focuses, Kubrick, the magician, intentionally obfuscates these elements that destroy the overt and naturalistic story line. The surface story lines are the principle ones, and this is maintained and supported by the intentional obfuscation of the deconstructive elements which keep them sub rosa. At the same time, these deconstructive elements are plainly there, alongside his tremendous effort to make things look real and believable, and once we bypass the disorientation and his purposeful refocusing they become a puzzle, annihilating the sense of reality. This destruction of the film's naturalistic story line is difficult enough to conceive of and accept that most people stop at this point and decide these puzzling aspects of Kubrick's films are errors when they are not. They are part of the art of a director cleverly designing the overt story line to be unimpeded by an internal story that tears it apart. Indeed, the sub rosa elements of the internal story may be discreet but they are enough in evidence to complicate the surface story with an aura of attractive, indefinable mystery, which is one of the reasons viewers return to Kubrick again and again. To work with the "reason" and "why of the internal story line is to try to settle into Kubrick's sensibility, examining how these internal stories form a dialogue in his oeuvre with repeating themes and ideas, elaborated upon from film to film. The internal stories haven't a "plot"; they aren't that kind of story. Instead, you have to be willing to deal with comprehending the themes and ideas represented in them as instead ultimately forming a different terrain for the setting of the surface story, guiding and interacting with the overt story and giving it a new form.
636 MLS of Barry outside. Zoom out. (2:17:00)
Begin Vivaldi's Cello Sonata in E Minor, RV 40, 3rd Movement, Largo. Manuscript.
637 LS Lord Wendover entering dining room. Pan right 180 degrees to show him being seated. (2:17:39)
PARKER: Good day, My Lord.
WENDOVER: Good day, Parker.
In 3rd measure of Movement we shift to this scene. Barry, seated beyond, approaches to speak with him.
With the clearing away of the silverware, repeat the first 5 measures.
PARKER: Will anyone be joining Your Lordship?
WENDOVER: No, I shall be alone. Thank you.
PARKER: The roast beef's very good, My Lord.
BARRY: Hello, Neville. How are you?
WENDOVER: Ah, Barry. Hello.
BARRY: I see you're alone. Why don't you come over and join me?
WENDOVER: Oh, thank you, Barry, you're very kind, but I'm expecting someone to join me soon.
BARRY: What a shame! Lady Lyndon and I have missed your company lately.
WENDOVER: Please give my respects to Lady Lyndon and say I've been very busy of late and not been able to go about much.
BARRY: I shall. By the way, on the eighth of next month we're having some guests over for cards, we'd love to have you and Lady Wendover join us.
WENDOVER: I'll check my diary, but I think I'm engaged on that evening.
BARRY: I hope you're not engaged. We'd love to see you again.
WENDOVER: If I may I'll write and say if I'm free or not.
BARRY: I look forward to hearing from you. It's nice to see you again.
Barry pats his shoulder and goes back to his table.
NARRATION: If he had murdered Lord Bullingdon, Barry could scarcely have been received with more coldness and resentment that now followed him in town and country. His friends fell away from him.
Lord Crabs in the novel became Lord Wendover in the film. In the book he is eventually recognized as being a charlatan. Indeed, for all of the aristocracy's chilliness toward Barry following the rupture with Lord Bullingdon, their seeming disdain of him for his mistreatment of Lady Lyndon and Bullingdon and his mismanagement of funds, threatening her ruin, the audience is well aware that the aristocracy, Lady Lyndon's peers, had been taking wild financial advantage of her during the period when Barry was seeking a peerage.
As for my ambitious hopes regarding the Irish peerage, I began, on my return, to find out that I had been led wildly astray by that rascal Lord Crabs; who liked to take my money, but had no more influence to get me a coronet than to procure for me the Pope's tiara. The Sovereign was not a whit more gracious to me on returning from the Continent than he had been before my departure; and I had it from one of the aides-de-camp of the Royal Dukes his brothers, that my conduct and amusements at Paris had been odiously misrepresented by some spies there, and had formed the subject of Royal comment; and that the King had, influenced by these calumnies, actually said I was the most disreputable man in the three kingdoms. I disreputable! I a dishonour to my name and country! When I heard these falsehoods, I was in such a rage that I went off to Lord North at once to remonstrate with the Minister; to insist upon being allowed to appear before His Majesty and clear myself of the imputations against me, to point out my services to the Government in voting with them, and to ask when the reward that had been promised to me—viz., the title held by my ancestors—was again to be revived in my person?
There was a sleepy coolness in that fat Lord North which was the most provoking thing that the Opposition had ever to encounter from him. He heard me with half-shut eyes. When I had finished a long violent speech—which I made striding about his room in Downing Street, and gesticulating with all the energy of an Irishman—he opened one eye, smiled, and asked me gently if I had done. On my replying in the affirmative, he said, 'Well, Mr. Barry, I'll answer you, point by point. The King is exceedingly averse to make peers, as you know. Your claims, as you call them, HAVE been laid before him, and His Majesty's gracious reply was, that you were the most impudent man in his dominions, and merited a halter rather than a coronet. As for withdrawing your support from us, you are perfectly welcome to carry yourself and your vote whithersoever you please. And now, as I have a great deal of occupation, perhaps you will do me the favour to retire.' So saying, he raised his hand lazily to the bell, and bowed me out; asking blandly if there was any other thing in the world in which he could oblige me.
I went home in a fury which can't be described; and having Lord Crabs to dinner that day, assailed his Lordship by pulling his wig off his head, and smothering it in his face, and by attacking him in that part of the person where, according to report, he had been formerly assaulted by Majesty. The whole story was over the town the next day, and pictures of me were hanging in the clubs and print-shops performing the operation alluded to. All the town laughed at the picture of the lord and the Irishman, and, I need not say, recognised both. As for me, I was one of the most celebrated characters in London in those days: my dress, style, and equipage being as well known as those of any leader of the fashion; and my popularity, if not great in the highest quarters, was at least considerable elsewhere. The people cheered me in the Gordon rows, at the time they nearly killed my friend Jemmy Twitcher and burned Lord Mansfield's house down. Indeed, I was known as a staunch Protestant, and after my quarrel with Lord North veered right round to the Opposition, and vexed him with all the means in my power.
Barry's gaze into the waters of the river recalls Alex, in A Clockwork Orange, transfixed by the waters of the Thames after he leaves prison and is ejected from the household of his parents, finding himself without a home. In that film, the scene where he gazes into the waters is anticipated in a mural at the building in which his parents live. By the river, Alex meets again a bum he had earlier abused in the film. The bum asks him for money and though Alex is broke and homeless, he gives him some coins. Which is when the bum recognizes Alex as his abuser. The bum reveals to his friends that this is the man who had beaten him up and they attack him.
Lord Wendover is initially introduced to Barry, by Hallam, as "Gustavus Adolphus, the Thirteenth Earth of Wendover". Here, Barry addresses Wendover as Neville.
When Barry is introduced to the King, Wendover stands on one side of him and on the other side stands Sir Christopher Neville.
Have we an error when Barry addresses Wendover as Neville? We've already had Wendover joking about identity confusion when a stranger approached from behind and asked him if Lord Wendover was dead or alive.
The only thing I can imagine, right now, is that there might be a connection to Lolita in which there were also identity confusions.
Shot 67 in Lolita is of what would be taken to be the town of Ramsdale with City Hall lording over it. The shot is of Dover, New Hampshire, and my belief is that Dover was likely chosen due a poem written by Humbert, to Lolita, that refers to a caged starling in Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey. The bird, unable to leave its cage even when the door is open, so trained is it to imprisonment, was caught in Dover "before it could well fly". This is Lolita, a child when caught by Humbert, who may find independence from Humbert but doesn't escape her cage as she goes straight to Quilty. I have wondered if Dover found its way into Wendover in Barry Lyndon, and so too have I wondered about his name, Gustave. Gustave Trapp, in Lolita, is a mysterious Swiss uncle of Humbert's who Quilty impersonates when taking Lolita from the hospital. Humbert had already an episode in which he saw Lolita speaking with a man who began to look like his uncle, Gustave, which caused him to be so ill that he vomited. After Lolita leaves with Quilty/Gustave Trapp, Humbert expends considerable effort attempting to track Trapp's shadowing of them, finding him even under aliases.
Though Quilty seems to look like this mysterious uncle, Gustave, he is also Humbert's alter ego.
James Neville Mason played Humbert.
Again, linking to the prison, in A Clockwork Orange Kubrick replicates a painting of Gustave Dore's prison yard, which was also copied by Van Gogh, Alex and others walking the relentlessly repeating round.
Not only is there identity confusion between Quilty and Trapp, Humbert once made a slip of the tongue, when playing chess with a man named Gaston, and called him Gustave. Why? It was this same man who gave him a box that was too small for chess pieces so instead he chose to carry his gun in it, the one with which he eventually killed Quilty--and, by extension, Gustave Trapp. This isn't in the film but Kubrick often makes oblique reference to bits from books that don't make it into his films. My feeling has always been that it was likely Humbert had been abused by Gustave Trapp when a youth, that this is what Nabokov is suggesting by aligning Quilty with him and causing Humbert to have such a violent reaction to him. For not only is Lolita in a prison, Humbert is as well. We find the same with Barry, who in Thackeray's book had been, when just fifteen, introduced into a sexual relationship with Nora who was twenty-three. He imagined himself in love with her, believed himself a man and not a boy, and had no idea of his own innocence. The cruel treatment of him in his youth sets a pattern for life. He was bullied and bullies. He was taken advantage of and takes advantage of. He is a charlatan among charlatan--with the caveat that Barry believes himself to be the rightful heir of the Lyndon estate through being the descendant of Roderick Barry, who lost his estate to Roger Lyndon, who married Roderick Barry's daughter.
638 LS of the mansion through mist, only the dome seen. (2:19:24)
In the middle of the 8th measure of the Movement we switch to this scene.
NARRATION: And a legend arose of his cruelty to his stepson.
639 CU Lady Lyndon signing payment for a debit. (2:19:32)
Begin 9th measure of the Movement.
NARRATION: Now all the bills came down on him together.
640 Shot of Lady Lyndon from corner of table beyond Barry and Graham. (2:19:44)
Middle of 10th measure of the Movement.
NARRATION: All the bills he had been contracting for the years of his marriage and which the creditors sent in with a hasty unanimity. Their amount was frightful.
641 MS of Barry. (2:19:53)
Repeat, beginning at 6th measure, the 2nd 5 measures of this Movement.
NARRATION: Barry was now bound up in an inextricable toil of bills and debts, of mortgages and insurances, and in all the evils...
642 MS of Lady Lyndon. (2:20:02)
End of 6th measure.
NARRATION: ...attendant upon them. And Lady Lyndon's income was hampered almost irretrievably to satisfy these claims.
643 MS of Graham. (2:20:12)
8th measure of movement.
During this time, in the novel, Lord Bullingdon is given as having died in America. Thus, Bryan became a Lord.
I was thrown out of my election, and all the bills came down upon me together—all the bills I had been contracting during the years of my marriage, which the creditors, with a rascally unanimity, sent in until they lay upon my table in heaps. I won't cite their amount: it was frightful. My stewards and lawyers made matters worse. I was bound up in an inextricable toil of bills and debts, of mortgages and insurances, and all the horrible evils attendant upon them. Lawyers upon lawyers posted down from London; composition after composition was made, and Lady Lyndon's income hampered almost irretrievably to satisfy these cormorants. To do her justice, she behaved with tolerable kindness at this season of trouble; for whenever I wanted money I had to coax her, and whenever I coaxed her I was sure of bringing this weak and light-minded woman to good-humour: who was of such a weak terrified nature, that to secure an easy week with me she would sign away a thousand a year. And when my troubles began at Hackton, and I determined on the only chance left, viz. to retire to Ireland and retrench, assigning over the best part of my income to the creditors until their demands were met, my Lady was quite cheerful at the idea of going, and said, if we would be quiet, she had no doubt all would be well; indeed, was glad to undergo the comparative poverty in which we must now live for the sake of the retirement and the chance of domestic quiet which she hoped to enjoy.
We went off to Bristol pretty suddenly, leaving the odious and ungrateful wretches at Hackton to vilify us, no doubt, in our absence. My stud and hounds were sold off immediately; the harpies would have been glad to pounce upon my person; but that was out of their power. I had raised, by cleverness and management, to the full as much on my mines and private estates as they were worth; so the scoundrels were disappointed in THIS instance; and as for the plate and property in the London house, they could not touch that, as it was the property of the heirs of the house of Lyndon.
I passed over to Ireland, then, and took up my abode at Castle Lyndon for a while; all the world imagining that I was an utterly ruined man, and that the famous and dashing Barry Lyndon would never again appear in the circles of which he had been an ornament. But it was not so. In the midst of my perplexities, Fortune reserved a great consolation for me still. Despatches came home from America announcing Lord Cornwallis's defeat of General Gates in Carolina, and the death of Lord Bullingdon, who was present as a volunteer.
For my own desires to possess a paltry Irish title I cared little. My son was now heir to an English earldom, and I made him assume forthwith the title of Lord Viscount Castle Lyndon, the third of the family titles. My mother went almost mad with joy at saluting her grandson as 'my Lord,' and I felt that all my sufferings and privations were repaid by seeing this darling child advanced to such a post of honour.
Below are shots 576 through 580 to compare with shots 639 through 643. Kubrick replays scenes, creating a kind of deja vu for the audience. So we have here Lady Lyndon dressed in the same attire as in the first scene of the bills. Graham and Barry look very much the same, and they are in posture and hair style, but the color of their clothing is subtly changed. Lady Lyndon, however, is the same in all respects, including the black ribbon around her right wrist and her hair style.
There is an error in addition in the first column right of the bill Lady Lyndon signs. The first number should be 5 rather than 3. And in the 3rd row from the right the number should be 2 rather than 1. The bill reads 4581 " 8 " 3 when it should instead be 4582 " 8 " 5. That's a difference of 1 " 0 " 2. This is a trifling error, but an error none-the-less, and Kubrick's films do have errors worked into them which can have significance.
Also, the first bill shown in the movie has the date of 6 Dec 1789 in the lower left hand corner, and the last bill has a date of Dec 1789. This one appears to have the date of 6 Dec 1821. I can't see it very well, but it is certainly not 1789. I've established earlier that based on Barry's sending a regiment to America in this year, if the timing is in accord with the book then it should be 1778.
The 1821 (far left lower corner of the bill) is scrunched together so that it can also be possibly viewed as m1 which in roman numerals would be 1001. Wikipedia reads:
Meanwhile, 1000 was a circled or boxed X: Ⓧ, ⊗, ⊕, and by Augustinian times was partially identified with the Greek letter Φ phi. Over time, the symbol changed to Ψ and ↀ. The latter symbol further evolved into ∞, then ⋈, and eventually changed to M under the influence of the Latin word mille "thousand".
The ↀ was also sometimes CIƆ, also CƆ, described as like a mirrored C. A reason I might consider this as being m1=1001 will be shown with in the croquet scene.
The first bill is to Almacks. This may be Almacks, the proprietor of Almack's Assembly Rooms that Wikipedia gives as having been a social club in London from 1765 to 1871 and one of the first for the upper and middle class admitting both men and women. There is said to be a possible reversal in the name, that William Almack was instead born William Macall and as Macall was Scottish and was considered "foreign and uncouth" he reversed the syllables. It began as a gambling club/casino and men elected the female members. The club was opened to compete with Teresa Cornelys' Carlisle House, where masked balls and operas were held and is actually mentioned in Thackeray's Barry Lyndon.
I had always a taste for men of letters, and perhaps, if the truth must be told, have no objection to playing the fine gentleman and patron among the wits. Such people are usually needy, and of low birth, and have an instinctive awe and love of a gentleman and a laced coat; as all must have remarked who have frequented their society. Mr. Reynolds, who was afterwards knighted, and certainly the most elegant painter of his day, was a pretty dexterous courtier of the wit tribe; and it was through this gentleman, who painted a piece of me, Lady Lyndon, and our little Bryan, which was greatly admired at the Exhibition (I was represented as quitting my wife, in the costume of the Tippleton Yeomanry, of which I was major; the child starting back from my helmet like what-d'ye-call'im—Hector's son, as described by Mr. Pope in his 'Iliad'); it was through Mr. Reynolds that I was introduced to a score of these gentlemen, and their great chief, Mr. Johnson. I always thought their great chief a great bear. He drank tea twice or thrice at my house, misbehaving himself most grossly; treating my opinions with no more respect than those of a schoolboy, and telling me to mind my horses and tailors, and not trouble myself about letters. His Scotch bear-leader, Mr. Boswell, was a butt of the first quality. I never saw such a figure as the fellow cut in what he called a Corsican habit, at one of Mrs. Cornely's balls, at Carlisle House, Soho. But that the stories connected with that same establishment are not the most profitable tales in the world, I could tell tales of scores of queer doings there. All the high and low demireps of the town gathered there, from his Grace of Ancaster down to my countryman, poor Mr. Oliver Goldsmith the poet, and from the Duchess of Kingston down to the Bird of Paradise, or Kitty Fisher. Here I have met very queer characters, who came to queer ends too: poor Hackman, that afterwards was hanged for killing Miss Reay, and (on the sly) his Reverence Doctor Simony, whom my friend Sam Foote, of the 'Little Theatre,' bade to live even after forgery and the rope cut short the unlucky parson's career.
It's both sad and peculiar that Barry and Bryan would be represented as Hector and his son Astyanax. Hector may have been a virtuous warrior in myth but he died a terrible death and his corpse was desecrated. His son was hidden but when found, in order to make the line extinct, is given as having been thrown from the walls of Troy. Which fits with Barry's line being fated to become extinct, he left childless, Bryan dying in the fall off a horse.
This takes us back to tales such as that of Ideomeno in which we have the gods rescinding the demanded sacrifice of a child, such as in the story of Isaac. Ludovico Ariosto, in "Orlando Furioso", instead has a child of the same age as Astyanax substituted and dying in Astyanax' stead. We may find something similar with Bullingdon and Bryan. In the book, Bullingdon is believed to have died and becomes a wanderer. It is only after he learns of the death of Bryan that he returns home and takes up his hereditary station again.
In The Shining, as things began to rapidly descend downhill, we were given a good look at one of the pictures on a hall wall off the lobby.
After arguing with Wendy, on his way to the Gold Room a second time, upon reaching the lobby Jack sees balloons and hears party music. Kubrick then cuts to Dick speaking to the forest rangers who are telling him that the Overlook is cut off by a storm, the phone lines down. They say they will try to contact the hotel by radio and ask him to call back in 20 minutes. During that time, Jack is in the Gold Room, having his conversation with Grady who insists Danny must be "corrected". We hear the rangers calling the Overlook. "FOREST RANGER: KDK1 calling KDK12, KDK1 calling KDK12. Are you receiving me? This is KDK1 calling KDK12. KDK1 calling KDK12, do you read me?" Jack disables the radio. It is about 11:45. After this we have Dick calling the rangers again. The Overlook is now completely isolated by the storm and cut off from outside contact through Jack's disabling the radio. We have a similar feeling of isolation with the mist that surrounds the Lyndon mansion. Note also that the next scene in Barry Lyndon has Barry fishing with Bryan, and Kubrick managed, for The Shining, to find a mist painting that depicts two boats. The two boats are more appropriate than one, as when Barry fishes with Bryan it is, as with the film structure of A Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut, a cycling around of an earlier scene, the one when Barry's mother spoke to him about securing Bryan's future, the rest of the family boating in the lake of a garden intentionally arranged to have one meditate on Aeneas' journey through the underworld. Now, subsequent the tragic fight with Bullingdon, the Lyndons are cut off from the world. The mist painting in The Shining has a stygian feel to it. This painting became particularly famous as in 1973 it was used for a Canadian postage stamp.
In Lolita we have a curious scene concerning 1001, and we also have the arousal of a mist. Below is quoted from my analysis.
In the screenplay, after the pair leave Beardsley (which is in Idaho rather than Ohio) Humbert's intention is that they make their way to Mexico via Arizona. Quilty is revealed in the screenplay as following Humbert but takes care to be a "fleet shadow, a ghostly predator...now overtaking...now awaiting his passage." After a description of their travel, the next dialogue that Nabokov provides concerns Humbert staring in the rear view mirror and remarking on how he is certain they are being followed.
At one point Humbert stops for some sunglasses and Nabokov gives Quilty as walking up to the car and Lolita speaking with him, which Humbert sees from afar. This is followed by the "What did that man ask you?" conversation in which Lolita says he had lost his way and wanted a map.
It is outside Elphinstone that, followed still by the shadow car, Lolita says she feels sick, she's dying and wants to stop at a motel at Elphinstone, which was one of her desired destinations. There's no talk of her feeling cold, of the Asiatic flu. There's no blow-out. There's no car following that then turns around. Humbert takes Lolita's temperature and next she is in the hospital.
The book has the narrative, retained in the film, "The brakes were relined, the waterpipes unclogged, the valves ground and a number of other repairs and improvements were paid for by not very mechanically-minded but prudent papa Humbert...We had promised Beardsley School...that we would be back as soon as my Hollywood engagement came to an end (inventive Humbert was to be, I hinted, chief consultant in the production of a film dealing with 'existentialism,' still a hot thing at the time)."
When they reach the Midwest, at a gas station "under the sign of Pegasus" Humbert briefly loses Lolita but she eventually appears having gone to use the bathroom elsewhere.
A point is made of Humbert examining a box with an elaborate Oriental design on the lid, which had been given him by "Gros Gaston" to hold chessmen, a cheap money box called a "luizetta" that could be purchased in Algiers. The box turns out to be too small for chess pieces so Humbert instead uses it for Chum, his nickname for his gun.
Eventually he realizes they are being followed by a red car. He stops for sunglasses, and sees Lolita speaking with a man who resembles Gustave Trapp, a cousin of his father's in Switzerland. It's after this Humbert and Lolita have the conversation about the man wanting a map. Humbert says he doesn't know if Lolita is lying or insane but they are being followed, he believes by a cop. Lolita notes the odometer's nines having changed to the next thousand. When she was a child, "I used to think they'd stop and go back to nines, if only my mother agreed to put the car in reverse." Humbert realilzes this is the only time she had spoken spontaneously of her pre-Humbertian childhood.
They continue being followed as the days proceed. They pass through Soda, pop 1001.
Having had mail forwarded to Wace and Elphinstone (predetermined destinations) Lolita receives a letter from Mona talking about the play.
As expected, poor Poet stumbled in Scene III when arriving at the bit of French nonsense. Remember? Ne manque pas de dire a ton amant, Chimene, comme le lac est beau car il faut qu'il t'y mene. Lucky beau! Qu'il t'y--What a tongue-twister!
Humbert fears he has lost Lolita in Wace when she disappears for a period of time.
Like a Proteus, the person following them changes from one automobile to another.
They are in Colorado, between Snow and Champion, "the gray mist behind us" deepening and concentrating into a Dominion Blue sedan, when they suddenly slither from side to side with a flat. The other car stops some yards behind. Humbert gets out to change the tire, and the car begins to roll slowly away, whether by accident or Lolita's design he doesn't know.
In the above we have an identity confusion concerning Gustave Trapp followed by the poignant passage on 1001 and finally the pursurer catching up with Lolita and Humbert, materializing out of the mist.
In Barry Lyndon we have the identity confusion concerning Gustavus Wendover, followed by the mist enveloping the mansion (which only disperses with Bryan's death), and then Lady Lyndon signing the bill in which the date seems to be (insensibly) 1821 and is written in such a way as to be also read as m1 or 1001.
I would hazard that we've reached in the story a point of no return. This would have also been attractive to Kubrick due symbolism surrounding the scene of the shooting of the horse in his movie The Killing that was immediately followed by a tire being blown out, which became equivalent to the scene of the blowing out of the tire in Lolita.
644 MLS of Barry fishing with Bryan. Zoom out. (2:20:25)
9th measure of Movement.
645 MCU of Bryon on Barry's lap, looking at his sketches. (2:21:04)
BYRAN: Do you think that's good?
BARRY: Excellent. Who's this?
BRYAN: It's a peacock on the wall.
BARRY: What's it say?
BRYAN: I saw this bird yesterday.
646 LS of Barry and Bryan. (2:21:25)
BARRY: Who's that?
BRYAN: Mama in her coach.
BARRY: Is she going to London?
BRYAN: I don't know.
647 MS of Bryan fencing with Barry. Zoom out. (2:21:36)
BARRY: Parry. Parry...
Begin music. Handel's Sarabande, played once in the opening credits shots 1 thru 6, then 6 times during the duel with Quin, shots 89 thru the beginning of 111 when Barry returns home after the duel. This is bowed.
NARRATION: Barry had his faults, but no man could say of him that he was not a good and tender father. He loved his son with a blind partiality. He denied him nothing. It is impossible to convey what high hopes he had for the boy...
648 CU of Bryan's lower limbs, playing croquet. Zoom out. (2:22:03)
NARRATION: ...and how he indulged in a thousand fond anticipations as to his future success and figure in the world. But fate had determined that he should leave none of his race behind him, and that he should finish his life poor, lonely, and childless.
649 LS of Barry riding with Bryan. (2:22:32)
Begin 2nd round of Sarabande 2:22:33.
BARRY: Yes, Bryan?
BRYAN: Will you buy me a horse?
BARRY: Will I buy you a horse?
BRYAN: Yes, Papa.
BARRY: But you already have little Julia.
BRYAN: But Julia's only a pony, I want a real horse. Then I can ride with you on the hunt.
BARRY: You think you're big enough for the hunt, do ya?
BRYAN: Oh, yes, papa! Jonathan Plunkett is only a year older than I am and he rides with his papa.
BARRY: Well, I'll have to think about it.
BRYAN: Please, say yes, papa. There's nothing I want in the whole world more than a horse.
BARRY: I'll think about it.
BRYAN: Oh, thank you, Papa. Thank you!
My son, little Castle Lyndon, was a prince; his breeding and manners, even at his early age, showed him to be worthy of the two noble families from whom he was descended: I don't know what high hopes I had for the boy, and indulged in a thousand fond anticipations as to his future success and figure in the world. But stern Fate had determined that I should leave none of my race behind me, and ordained that I should finish my career, as I see it closing now—poor, lonely, and childless. I may have had my faults; but no man shall dare to say of me that I was not a good and tender father. I loved that boy passionately; perhaps with a blind partiality: I denied him nothing. Gladly, gladly, I swear, would I have died that his premature doom might have been averted. I think there is not a day since I lost him but his bright face and beautiful smiles look down on me out of heaven, where he is, and that my heart does not yearn towards him. That sweet child was taken from me at the age of nine years, when he was full of beauty and promise: and so powerful is the hold his memory has of me that I have never been able to forget him; his little spirit haunts me of nights on my restless solitary pillow; many a time, in the wildest and maddest company, as the bottle is going round, and the song and laugh roaring about, I am thinking of him. I have got a lock of his soft brown hair hanging round my breast now: it will accompany me to the dishonoured pauper's grave; where soon, no doubt, Barry Lyndon's worn-out old bones will be laid.
My Bryan was a boy of amazing high spirit (indeed how, coming from such a stock, could he be otherwise?), impatient even of my control, against which the dear little rogue would often rebel gallantly; how much more, then, of his mother's and the women's, whose attempts to direct him he would laugh to scorn. Even my own mother ('Mrs. Barry of Lyndon' the good soul now called herself, in compliment to my new family) was quite unable to check him; and hence you may fancy what a will he had of his own. If it had not been for that, he might have lived to this day: he might—but why repine? Is he not in a better place? would the heritage of a beggar do any service to him? It is best as it is—Heaven be good to us!—Alas! that I, his father, should be left to deplore him.
Below are an extensive couple of quotes from the blog The Regency Redingote on cubes and double cube rooms and how they were supposed to be expressions of harmony. The room in which Barry reads to Bryan in shots 645/646 is a double cube room at the Wilton House, and the movie will end (780-788) also in this double cube room at the Wilton House.
A series of seven state rooms were to be included in this new version of the south wing at Wilton House. Once again, Jones returned to his love of pure geometric forms, designing the center of that series of rooms as a double cube. The dimensions of this room were 60 feet long by 30 feet wide by 30 feet high. This grand room was decorated in white and gold, with deep relief carvings of lush swags of flowers, fruit and classical masks surrounding the paneling. Two very large paintings by Anthony Van Dyck were hung in this room, one of the Children of Charles I and the other a group portrait of the Earl’s own family. The ante-room to this great state room was designed in the form of a single cube. Its dimensions were 30 feet by 30 feet by 30 feet. In the cube room the coved ceiling was ornamented with a series of arabesques, in white and gold. There were dado paintings around the room with scenes of Acadia, by Sir Philip Sidney, a pastoral romance Sidney had written in the sixteenth century for the amusement of his sister, Mary Herbert, who had become the Countess of Pembroke at the time. When they were completed, probably around 1650, these two rooms were considered two of the most beautiful rooms in all of England.
Cube and double cube rooms were still considered a status symbol during the Regency, and they were still being built into some of the great mansions and town houses which were constructed or remodeled during that decade. They had not lost their connection to the idea of Platonic virtue, but they were also under much closer study by architects and mathematicians. In fact, in 1810, The London Encyclopaedia: or Universal Dictionary of Science, Art, Literature, and Practical Mechanics, … included the seven proportions which were assigned to rooms. These proportions were known as "harmonics" or "agreeables." The choice of the term "harmonics" had nothing to do with the discovery of the double cube room’s excellent acoustics. Rather, its source was the fact that the various proportions were considered to be harmonic ratios which represented balance and harmony. These seven proportions were: "The cube, cube and half, double cube, the subduple of 4, 3, and 2 — ditto of 5, 4, and 3 —ditto of 6, 4, and 3 — and lastly of 3, 2, and 1" However, though there were a number of both cube and double cube rooms built, cube and half and the various subduples seem to be quite rare. The London Encyclopaedia continued: " … Nature has taught mankind, in music, certain rules for proportion of sounds; so architecture has its rules dependent on those proportions, or at least such proportions as are in arithmetical harmony; and those we take to be dependent on nature. The square in geometry, the unison or circle in music, and the cube in building, have all an inseparable proportion, the parts being equal, and the sides and angles, &c. give the eye and ear harmonic pleasure."
Though these are troubled times for Barry, they are also idyllic, in respect of his son and their relationship, the love they share for each other and the love Lady Lyndon has for their son.
Certainly, teaching Bryan to play croquet is ordinary enough, though during that time the game was perhaps called pall-mall.
Because the subject of horse riding is immediately introduced after the croquet scene, and thus poor Bryan's accident, I'm going to propose that the croquet game, not had in the book, brings into the story certain elements from The Killing.
In The Killing, a race horse is shot as it rounds the bend of a racecourse. The shooting is not to allow another horse to win, but to create a distraction so that Johnny may commit what would be a legendary theft at the racecourse, a thing said to be impossible. The person who shoots the race horse, Nikki, does so from his car in a parking lot. Though no trouble had been anticipated for him, or at least nothing serious, he is immediately shot by a guard, unable to make a quick get away because a good luck horse shoe has pierced the tire of his MG. The horse is shot (with a silencer on the gun) and immediately thereafter the tire is blown out by the horse shoe. Because the death of Nikki is given as occurring right at 4:24, I think it's possible that Kubrick is referencing omega, Ω, the 24th and final letter of the Greek alphabet. The sideways 8 infinity sign seems to be taken from Omega or the Roman numeral for 1000 (originally CIƆ, also CƆ).
As previously written concerning the bills, we have 1001, the point of no return, which was also had in Lolita. The hoop through which Bryan hits the ball one can take as representing the Omega, observed coincident in The Killing with the shooting of the horse, and we are quickly approaching that horrible scene in which Bryan has his tumble on his new horse.
In The Killing, the morning of the theft, we are shown the horse that will be killed having a half portion of its morning feed. The next shot we see presumably the same horse in a row of stalls with other race horses. It isn't the same horse but never mind that. A fabric restraint, hooked to each side of the door of the stall, keeps the horse within the stall. On it is a five pointed star. The next stall over we have the fabric restraint hooked in upside down so the star is inverted. Which anticipates the catastrophic moment when the horse is killed and tumbles over. The revolution. Just as we have here with Bryan. Perhaps in The Killing it signifies a turn of the wheel subverting luck--for with the killing of the horse, though the theft is carried off, everything begins to go wrong.
But Kubrick does appear to focus on omega as a symbol, the 24th and final letter of the Greek alphabet, which resembles a horse shoe. Nikki is brought down by a good luck horse shoe that he turned away, which was thrown to the ground and pierced his tire, so he was unable to flee when a guard unexpectedly, immediately ran up and fired on him. He was given as dead at precisely 4:24, so we have the omega mirrored. (For more on this see my analysis of The Killing).
Back to the croquet game. The focus on the lower limbs (CU shot 648, which then zooms out) and the ball and mallet causes us to leap forward to the film's end and Barry's injury to his lower leg with the ball from Bullingdon's dueling pistol (Kubrick will show us a close-up the tamping of the ball into the pistol), that necessitates its amputation.
Interesting to note how Barry and Runt, to either side of Bryan, mirror each other's posture.
With the croquet scene we are also revisiting the festive lawn party of shot 572, in which Lord Wendover related his story in which he was asked if Wendover was dead or alive and in his irritation he replied that he was dead. That Wendover scene of the "alive or dead" story is significant as it foreshadows, after his accident, Bryan's assertion that is body is already half dead.
650 LS of Man running with horse. It has a white blaze. (2:23:30)
Begin 3rd round of Sarabande at 2:23:35.
BARRY (off screen): How much are you asking for him?
MAN (off screen): One hundred guineas.
BARRY (off screen): He's a nice little horse, but I don't think he's worth one hundred guineas. Seventy-five seems more like the right price.
651 MS of Barry and another man. (2:23:50)
MAN: I'll accept eighty guineas, and not a shilling less.
BARRY: Five guineas should never keep two gentlemen from their drink. Eighty it will be.
MAN: Done, sir.
652 MS from behind of Barry and the other man shaking hands, the horse beyond. (2:24:02)<
BARRY: Timmy, take the horse over to Doolan's farm and tell him he needs a bit of breaking in. And say it's for Master Bryan's birthday next week, and I want it to be a surprise. And remember that yourself.
TIMMY: Yes, sir.
653 LS of Barry and family at the dining table. (2:24:26)
Begin 4th round of Sarabande at about 2:24:30.
BARRY: What is it, lad?
BRYAN: Did you buy that horse?
BARRY: What horse is that?
BRYAN: The horse you were going to buy me for my birthday.
654 CU of Barry. (2:25:12)
BARRY: I know nothing about any horse.
BRYAN: But one of the boys...
Begin 5th round of Sarabande at 2:25:14.
655 CU of Bryan. (2:25:17)
BRYAN: ...in the stable told Nelly that you'd already bought it, and it was at Doolan's farm, and...
656 CU of Barry. (2:25:22)
BRYAN: ...Mick the groom was breaking it in. Is that true?
BARRY: Bryan, when is your birthday?
657 MCU of Bryan. (2:25:28)
BRYAN: Next Tuesday.
658 MCU of Barry. (2:25:32)
BARRY: Well, you'll have to wait till then to find out.
659 MCU of Bryan. (2:25:35)
He runs over to hug Barry, the camera panning with him.
BRYAN: Then, it's true! Oh, thank you, Papa.
They embrace and kiss.
LADY LYNDON: Bryan? Bryan.
BRYAN: Yes, Mama?
660 MS of Lady Lyndon. (2:25:45)
LADY LYNDON: Promise me you will not ride that horse except in the company of your father.
661 MCU of Bryan and Barry. (2:25:50)
BRYAN: Yes, Mama, I promise.
BARRY: And I promise Your Lordship a good flogging if you even so much as go to Doolan's farm to see him before your birthday.
Begin 6th round of Sarabande at 2:25:59.
BRYAN: Yes, Papa.
BARRY: You understand that?
BRYAN: Yes, Papa.
BARRY: You promise me?
BRYAN: Yes, Papa, I promise.
BARRY: All right, eat your food.
With this scene we are revisiting the festive dining scene of shot 573, but after Bullingdon's departure and the family's isolation we now have only the family and servers.
Though the horse is for Bryan's tenth birthday in the movie, the circumstances are pretty much as in the film.
I bought in Dublin, according to my promise, however—for when I give a promise I will keep it at any sacrifices—a little horse for my dear little Bryan; which was to be a present for his tenth birthday, that was now coming on: it was a beautiful little animal and stood me in a good sum. I never regarded money for that dear child. But the horse was very wild. He kicked off one of my horse-boys, who rode him at first, and broke the lad's leg; and, though I took the animal in hand on the journey home, it was only my weight and skill that made the brute quiet.
When we got home I sent the horse away with one of my grooms to a farmer's house, to break him thoroughly in, and told Bryan, who was all anxiety to see his little horse, that he would arrive by his birthday, when he should hunt him along with my hounds; and I promised myself no small pleasure in presenting the dear fellow to the field that day: which I hoped to see him lead some time or other in place of his fond father. Ah me! never was that gallant boy to ride a fox-chase, or to take the place amongst the gentry of his country which his birth and genius had pointed out for him!
In the book, Lady Lyndon had premonitions and dreams of Bryan's death. We have a similar premonitory sense with Lady Lyndon's gravity in her exacting the promise from Bryan he will not ride without his father. Of course, this is only a practical, normal fear as well.
The death of Barry's father at the Chester racecourse may also have been intended to be recalled, by Thackeray, in Bryan's death by horse. Barry had been made an "orphan" by the death of his father, though of course he still had his mother. Due horses, he lost his father, and now he must endure losing his son by his falling from a horse.
662 MS of Barry shaving. (2:26:12)
BARRY: Come in.
663 LS of Runt entering. (2:26:19)
The 6th round of the Sarabande ends at 2:26:33, only having played half way through and finishing with an abbreviated coda.
RUNT: Good morning, sir.
The Sarabande ends.
BARRY: Good morning, Reverend.
RUNT: I'm sorry to trouble you with this, Mr. Lyndon, but I believe Master Bryan may have disobeyed your orders and stolen away to Doolan's farm. On going to his room this morning, I found his bed empty. One of the cooks said she saw him cross the kitchen yard at daybreak.
BARRY: Didn't you see him go?
RUNT: He must have passed through my room while I was asleep.
664 LS of Barry riding down lane. A rooster crows. (2:27:07)
Pan 180 degrees to show Bryan being carried on a litter.
665 MS of Bryan on the litter, Barry beside him. (2:27:32)
BARRY: Oh, my God! What has happened here?
DOOLAN: I noticed the lad riding across the...
666 Flashback of Bryan on the horse as it rears, the camera viewing from behind as the horse and Bryan fall. (2:27:41)
DOOLAN: ...field, sir, and having trouble with the horse, which was playing up a bit.
A synthetic, weird shriek as the horse and Bryan fall.
DOOLAN: Suddenly the animal plunged and reared, and the poor lad was thrown.
667 CU of Bryan, Barry leaning over him. (2:27:55)
BARRY: Oh, Bryan, why did you disobey me?
BRYAN: I'm sorry, Papa. You won't whip me, will you?
BARRY: No, my darling. I won't whip you.
He kisses Bryan.
A rooster crows.
668 Return to shot 665. (2:28:14)
BARRY: William! You take my horse and ride like the Devil for Doctor Broughton. You tell him whatever he's doing he must come at once. You understand?
669 MLS of Man with Barry's horse. He rides away from the camera. (2:28:25)
WILLIAM: Yes, sir!
670 LS of the mansion. (2:28:33)
Begin Handel's Sarabande again. 1st round at 2:28:36 (1-6-6 abbreviated before now).
NARRATION: The doctors were called. But does a doctor avail in a contest with the grim, invincible enemy?
671 CU of Barry holding Bryan's hand. (2:28:43)
NARRATION: Such as came could only confirm the hopelessness of the poor child's case.
672 LS of Barry and Lady Lyndon seated to either side of Bryan in his bed. (2:28:50)
NARRATION: He remained with his parents for two days. And a sad comfort it was to know that he was in no pain.
673 CU of Barry. (2:28:55)
BRYAN (off screen): Papa.
674 CU of Lady Lyndon. (2:29:04)
675 MS of Barry from beyond Byron's bedside. (2:29:06)
BRYAN: Am I going to die?
676 CU of Barry. (2:29:16)
BARRY: No, my darling, you're not going to die. You're going to get better.
677 CU of Bryan. (2:29:25)
The 2nd round of the Sarabande begins at 2:26:26.
BRYAN: But I can't feel anything, except in my hands.
678 CU of Lady Lyndon. (2:29:32)
BRYAN: Does that mean I'm already dead in part of my body?
679 CU of Barry. (2:29:41)
BARRY: No, my darling, that's where you were hurt by the horse. But you're going to be all right now.
680 CU of Bryan. (2:29:54)
BRYAN: Papa, if I die, will I go to heaven?
681 MCU of Barry. (2:30:03)
BARRY: Of course you will, my darling, but you're not going to die.
682 CU of Lady Lyndon. (2:30:13)
BRYAN (off screen): Mama, give me your hand.
The 3rd round of the Sarabande begins at 2:30:13.
683 CU of Bryan's hand. (2:30:21)
Lady Lyndon takes it.
684 Barry from beyond Bryan. (2:30:26)
BRYAN: Papa, give me your hand. Will you both promise me something?
685 CU of Barry. (2:30:39)
BRYAN: Promise me never to quarrel so. But to love each other. So that we may meet again, in heaven...
686 CU of Lady Lyndon. (2:30:52)
BRYAN (off screen): ...where Bullingdon said quarrelsome people will never go.
687 MCS of Barry from beyond Bryan. (2:31:01)
The 4th round of the Sarabande begins at 2:30:13.
BARRY: We promise.
BRYAN: Will you tell me the story about the fort?
BARRY: Of course.
688 CU of Barry. (2:31:16)
BARRY: We crept up on the fort. And I jumped over the wall first, and my fellows jumped after me. And you should have seen the look on the Frenchmen's faces when twenty-three rampaging, he-devils, sword and pistol, cut and thrust, came tumbling into the fort. In three minutes time, we left...
Barry breaks down in sobs.
689 MS of Bryan's coffin in the carriage drawn by two sheep. Zoom out. (2:31:59)
The 5th round of the Sarabande begins at 2:31:57, full orchestral now, not had since the film's opening. This one plays all the way through but with a coda.
RUNT: l am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord. He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. l know that my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body yet in my flesh shall I see God. Whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. We brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Bryan on his death bed returns us to the earlier scene of Barry his son the same bedtime story just before sleep, finishing with Bryan being frightened of the dark and Barry permitting the candles to be left burning.
The funeral, with Bryan's final ride in his little carriage drawn by two sheep, repeats his 8th birthday carriage ride.
Kubrick stays true to much of the book for the death of Bryan.
Portions of the quoted passage below refer back to the dinner scene in which Bryan is warned to not ride the horse without his father, but I have left them for this portion as it seems to me this entire passage should be kept in one piece.
Though I don't believe in dreams and omens, yet I can't but own that when a great calamity is hanging over a man he has frequently many strange and awful forebodings of it. I fancy now I had many. Lady Lyndon, especially, twice dreamed of her son's death; but, as she was now grown uncommonly nervous and vapourish, I treated her fears with scorn, and my own, of course, too. And in an unguarded moment, over the bottle after dinner, I told poor Bryan, who was always questioning me about the little horse, and when it was to come, that it was arrived; that it was in Doolan's farm, where Mick the groom was breaking him in. 'Promise me, Bryan,' screamed his mother, 'that you will not ride the horse except in company of your father.' But I only said, 'Pooh, madam, you are an ass!' being angry at her silly timidity, which was always showing itself in a thousand disagreeable ways now; and, turning round to Bryan, said, 'I promise your Lordship a good flogging if you mount him without my leave.'
I suppose the poor child did not care about paying this penalty for the pleasure he was to have, or possibly thought a fond father would remit the punishment altogether; for the next morning, when I rose rather late, having sat up drinking the night before, I found the child had been off at daybreak, having slipt through his tutor's room (this was Redmond Quin, our cousin, whom I had taken to live with me), and I had no doubt but that he was gone to Doolan's farm.
I took a great horsewhip and galloped off after him in a rage, swearing I would keep my promise. But, Heaven forgive me! I little thought of it when at three miles from home I met a sad procession coming towards me: peasants moaning and howling as our Irish do, the black horse led by the hand, and, on a door that some of the folk carried, my poor dear dear little boy. There he lay in his little boots and spurs, and his little coat of scarlet and gold. His dear face was quite white, and he smiled as he held a hand out to me, and said painfully, 'You won't whip me, will you, papa?' I could only burst out into tears in reply. I have seen many and many a man dying, and there's a look about the eyes which you cannot mistake. There was a little drummer-boy I was fond of who was hit down before my company at Kuhnersdorf; when I ran up to give him some water, he looked exactly like my dear Bryan then did—there's no mistaking that awful look of the eyes. We carried him home and scoured the country round for doctors to come and look at his hurt.
But what does a doctor avail in a contest with the grim invincible enemy? Such as came could only confirm our despair by their account of the poor child's case. He had mounted his horse gallantly, sat him bravely all the time the animal plunged and kicked, and, having overcome his first spite, ran him at a hedge by the roadside. But there were loose stones at the top, and the horse's foot caught among them, and he and his brave little rider rolled over together at the other side. The people said they saw the noble little boy spring up after his fall and run to catch the horse; which had broken away from him, kicking him on the back, as it would seem, as they lay on the ground. Poor Bryan ran a few yards and then dropped down as if shot. A pallor came over his face, and they thought he was dead. But they poured whisky down his mouth, and the poor child revived: still he could not move; his spine was injured; the lower half of him was dead when they laid him in bed at home. The rest did not last long, God help me! He remained yet for two days with us; and a sad comfort it was to think he was in no pain.
During this time the dear angel's temper seemed quite to change: he asked his mother and me pardon for any act of disobedience he had been guilty of towards us; he said often he should like to see his brother Bullingdon. 'Bully was better than you, papa,' he said; 'he used not to swear so, and he told and taught me many good things while you were away.' And, taking a hand of his mother and mine in each of his little clammy ones, he begged us not to quarrel so, but love each other, so that we might meet again in heaven, where Bully told him quarrelsome people never went. His mother was very much affected by these admonitions from the poor suffering angel's mouth; and I was so too. I wish she had enabled me to keep the counsel which the dying boy gave us.
At last, after two days, he died. There he lay, the hope of my family, the pride of my manhood, the link which had kept me and my Lady Lyndon together. 'Oh, Redmond,' said she, kneeling by the sweet child's body, 'do, do let us listen to the truth out of his blessed mouth: and do you amend your life, and treat your poor loving fond wife as her dying child bade you.' And I said I would: but there are promises which it is out of a man's power to keep; especially with such a woman as her. But we drew together after that sad event, and were for several months better friends.
I won't tell you with what splendour we buried him. Of what avail are undertakers' feathers and heralds' trumpery? I went out and shot the fatal black horse that had killed him, at the door of the vault where we laid my boy. I was so wild, that I could have shot myself too. But for the crime, it would have been better that I should, perhaps; for what has my life been since that sweet flower was taken out of my bosom? A succession of miseries, wrongs, disasters, and mental and bodily sufferings which never fell to the lot of any other man in Christendom.
I'd earlier written of the "twin" of Bryan observed at the magic show. We see in the below image, from his birthday, Bryan riding in the carriage while his virtual "twin" walks alongside playing a red drum.
Kubrick has doubles throughout his films, and in this case we do actually have a double of Bryan in Thackeray. As it turns out he was a drummer-boy, for which reason Bryan's double, in shot 555, is playing the drum.
I have seen many and many a man dying, and there's a look about the eyes which you cannot mistake. There was a little drummer-boy I was fond of who was hit down before my company at Kuhnersdorf; when I ran up to give him some water, he looked exactly like my dear Bryan then did—there's no mistaking that awful look of the eyes. We carried him home and scoured the country round for doctors to come and look at his hurt.
Rather than having Barry reminisce on the drummer boy after Bryan is injured, the drummer boy appears as a companion harbinger of doom, at Bryan's eighth birthday party.
The magic show had been introduced with the idea of "the knot that never was" and ended with a lesson on light, the white rabbit that appeared in the box given as the product of all the colors of the rainbow. One can make a comparison between the white rabbit and its box with Bryan having now disappeared into the white coffin.
It also says something that one of the drawings he had done, which he showed his father in the double-cube room, was of a peacock, the iridescence of which would represent all the colors of the rainbow, and the other drawing he had done was of his mother in her carriage, thus combining the rainbow/the additive colors as white, and the carriage in which his white coffin now rides.
Though white coffins are used for children, we could here wander into the the mystical science of alchemy in which, in the Great Work, the peacock tail phase comes before the albedo or whiteness.
It can't be pure coincidence that we have Bryan's fatal throw occurring in shot 666. The scene of his fall is also too eerie, marked as it is with the weird, synth scream, the only modern sound-design in the film.
That the fatal throw occurs in shot 666 also tells me that my counting of shots for the film is likely correct. Usually there is something in each film to cue me if my shot count is correct. A good example is Killer's Kiss. In shots 488 and 489, Davey waiting for Gloria at Penn Station, the voice-over announcing the trains begins, stating, "The Pathfinder to Chicago and Seattle leaving at 2 o'clock, West Gate, Track 13. Passengers for Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis and Seattle, this train has reserved...dining cars, and sleeping cars designated as 494, 493, 492. 491 and 490." There are exactly 494 shots in the film. So what Kubrick is doing is listing off those last 5 shots in the voice-over, essentially telling us we're supposed to end on 494.
Kubrick made use of 666 in A Clockwork Orange. After the scene by the river, in which Alex was assaulted by the old people out of vengeance for he and his gang having beaten up the Irishman, the officers who appear to rescue him are revealed to be two of his droogs. As they stand to either side of him, we see one bears the number 665 and the other 667, so that Alex is understood to be 666. He is both anti-Christ and the perfect Christian at once. He had imagined himself as the Roman whipping Christ bearing the cross, and then becomes the individual who is by fate unable to protect himself and undergoes all manner of abuse in repayment for his "previous life". And in Christian terminology of Christ assuming the sins of the believer, becoming the scapegoat, we have in him both an individual of perfect innocence and one who bears the evils wrought by the community, which is to be the evils of the community. A complex picture.
In Barry Lyndon we have the attempted death bed conciliation scene of Bryan asking his parents to take hold of his hands, Barry on one side and Lady Lyndon on the other, Bryan being what unites them. He has asked whether he will be going to heaven. Assured he will be, his parents holding a hand on either side, he forges a link between his parents as he pitifully, bravely, lovingly entreats them to not argue so that they will all be together again in heaven. It is a pathetic, brutal, heart-rending episode.
This 666 is anticipated by Bullingdon's beatings, each happening in a set of six. Bullingdon was beaten 6 times by Barry as a child, just before we jump to Bryan's 8th birthday. Then Bullingdon is whipped 6 times by Barry after Bullingdon has his fight with Bryan. The last set of six is when Barry thrashes Bullingdon in the music room before all the guests. Actually, he hits him once on the back. Bullingdon falls to the floor. Barry chokes him. Bryan re-enters the room and briefly sees what is going on, which he finds quite exciting but is dragged out by his mother. After this, before being pulled off Bullingdon, Barry boxes him six times. If I remember correctly he strikes him twice, we've a pause, and then he strikes him four more times. The sound of these blows is ferociously amplified.
As for Bryan's endeavor to ensure they all be reunited in heaven, one might imagine he has failed as his parents will shortly be separated. Never mind what happens in the book (in which arguments continue), Kubrick never has Barry Lyndon and and Lady Lyndon at odds again by virtue of not depicting them associating at all after Bryan's funeral. So distraught are they, that Kubrick represents them as entirely isolated from one another and the world in their grief. So, in a sense, one could say that Bryan succeeds.
Significant is that in the book we are led to believe that Bullingdon is dead already when Bryan is killed by the horse. Bullingdon had run off to fight in America and was reported to have died. We have also a character that is both dead and alive in L'Inhumaine, which I write of separately in relation to The Shining. In L'Inhumaine a character, Einar, appears to commit suicide by driving his car over a cliff. That scene strongly resembles several of the opening shots in the credits of The Shining of Jack's VW going up the mountain to the Overlook. As it turns out, Einar is not dead, he instead staged his death so it appeared that he was dead. He is a character that is both dead and alive, as happens in several of Kubrick's films. At the ending of The Shining Jack appears to have frozen to death but we find him also "alive" in the last several shots which show him smiling at the camera from a photo. Though the photo was taken in 1921, there is the sense not of his being only in the past but of his being in some way restored to life--whether he is dead or alive is ambiguously portrayed.
The film Barry Lyndon differs from the book in that Bullingdon doesn't die; he isn't brought back to life. In the book, with Bullingdon's supposed death, Bryan ascends to his title. In the movie, Bryan doesn't get his title, which leaves him in an insecure position, he and Barry in peril of homelessness should anything happen to Lady Lyndon.
690 LS of door. It opens and Barry's mother enters with servants who carry Barry, drunk and asleep, out. (2:33:25)
The 1st round of the Sarabande begins at 2:33:25 (1-6-6 abbreviated with coda - 5 with coda before now).
NARRATION: Barry's grief was inconsolable, and such solace as he could find, came only from drink.
Begin the 2nd round of the Sarabande at 2:34:15.
His mother was the only person in his misfortune who would remain faithful to him. And many a night, when he was unconscious of her attention, saw him carried off to bed.
691 MS of Lady Lyndon and Runt in the chapel. (2:34:30)
RUNT: O blessed Lord, the Father of mercies and the God of all comforts, we beseech Thee, look down in pity and compassion upon this...
692 CU of Lady Lyndon. (2:34:39)
RUNT: ...thy afflicted servant. Thou writest bitter things against her, and makest her to possess her former iniquities.
NARRATION: Her Ladyship, always vapourish and nervous, plunged into devotion with so much fervour, that you would have imagined her almost distracted at times.
Lady Lyndon, always vapourish and nervous, after our blessed boy's catastrophe became more agitated than ever, and plunged into devotion with so much fervour, that you would have fancied her almost distracted at times. She imagined she saw visions. She said an angel from heaven had told her that Bryan's death was as a punishment to her for her neglect of her first-born. Then she would declare Bullingdon was alive; she had seen him in a dream. Then again she would fall into fits of sorrow about his death, and grieve for him as violently as if he had been the last of her sons who had died, and not our darling Bryan; who, compared to Bullingdon, was what a diamond is to a vulgar stone. Her freaks were painful to witness, and difficult to control. It began to be said in the country that the Countess was going mad. My scoundrelly enemies did not fail to confirm and magnify the rumour, and would add that I was the cause of her insanity: I had driven her to distraction, I had killed Bullingdon, I had murdered my own son; I don't know what else they laid to my charge. Even in Ireland their hateful calumnies reached me: my friends fell away from me. They began to desert my hunt, as they did in England, and when I went to race or market found sudden reasons for getting out of my neighbourhood. I got the name of Wicked Barry, Devil Lyndon, which you please: the country-folk used to make marvellous legends about me: the priests said I had massacred I don't know how many German nuns in the Seven Years' War; that the ghost of the murdered Bullingdon haunted my house. Once at a fair in a town hard by, when I had a mind to buy a waistcoat for one of my people, a fellow standing by said, ''Tis a strait-waistcoat he's buying for my Lady Lyndon.' And from this circumstance arose a legend of my cruelty to my wife; and many circumstantial details were narrated regarding my manner and ingenuity of torturing her.
The room out of which the drunken Barry is carried is the same one in which the concert was held where Bullingdon was publicly beaten, the door the same door through which Bullingdon led his little half-brother Bryan in his own shoes, Bryan only symbolically taking Bullingdon's place but Bullingdon being as Hamlet duplicating in a play the murder of his father, for Bullingdon's father, prior to his death, had scoffed Barry, proclaiming, "He wants to step into my shoes! He wants to step into my shoes!"
If we venture back to that scene in which Bullingdon has his fatal heart attack, we see a drunk man to the left who anticipates Barry's later drunkenness. And we can see how Bullingdon's collapse at the gaming table would mean his being carried out through the curtained door, much like how we see Barry carried out in this scene.
Runt reads to Lady Lyndon from the Book of Common Prayer, the Order for the Visitation of the Sick, in this case one who is troubled in mind or conscience.
O blessed Lord, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comforts: We beseech thee, look down in pity and compassion upon this thy afflicted servant. Thou writest bitter things against him, and makest him to possess his former iniquities; thy wrath lieth hard upon him, and his soul is full of trouble: But, O merciful God, who hast written thy holy Word for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of thy holy Scriptures, might have hope; give him a right understanding of himself, and of thy threats and promises; that he may neither cast away his confidence in thee, nor place it any where but in thee. Give him strength against all his temptations, and heal all his distempers. Break not the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. Shut not up thy tender mercies in displeasure; but make him to hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Deliver him from fear of the enemy, and lift up the light of thy countenance upon him, and give him peace, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Kubrick stops after Thou writest bitter things against her, and makest her to possess her former iniquities which is taken from Job 13:26.
We never get a more direct shot, with Kubrick, than Alex addressing the camera with his glass of milk at the beginning of A Clockwork Orange, subsequent the credits and the "Funeral Music for Queen Mary" which begs that the people be spared the anger of their god, but we never have, with Kubrick, a more sorrowful shot than this, Lady Lyndon's grief impenetrable and absolute.
693 LS of the mansion. (2:34:58)
End the Sarabande at 2:35:07. (1-6-6 abbreviated with coda - 5 with coda + 2). The sound of the clock.
694 CU Mrs. Barry's bosom as she leafs through bills with Graham. (2:35:06)
NARRATION: In the doleful conditions which now prevailed at Castle Hackton, management of the household, and of the Lyndon estate fell to Mrs. Barry, whose spirit of order attended to all the ten thousand details of a great establishment.
Knock on the door.
MRS. BARRY: Come in.
695 LS from behind Mrs. Barry of Runt entering. Graham exits. (2:35:44)
RUNT: You wish to see me, madam?
MRS. BARRY: Yes, Reverend. Please sit down. I have some other matters I would like to discuss with you later, Graham, but just now perhaps you would go to Her Ladyship and have these papers signed by her.
GRAHAM: Yes, madam.
696 MCU of Mrs. Barry. (2:36:15)
MRS. BARRY: Reverend Runt, I need not tell you that the recent tragedy to this family has made the services of a tutor no longer required at Castle Hackton. And as we are in some considerable difficulty about money, I'm afraid I must ask you, with the greatest reluctance, to resign your post.
697 CU of Runt. (2:36:39)
RUNT: Madam, I'm sensible of your predicament, and you need have no concern about my wages, with which I can willingly do without, but it is out of the question for me to consider leaving Her Ladyship in her present state.
698 MS of Mrs. Barry. (2:36:59)
MRS. BARRY: I'm very sorry to say this to you but I truly believe you are largely responsible for the state of mind she is now in, and the sooner you leave, the better she will be.
699 CU of Runt. (2:37:13)
RUNT: Madam, with the greatest respect, I take my instructions only from Her Ladyship.
700 Closer CU of Mrs. Barry. (2:37:23)
MRS: BARRY: Reverend Runt, Her Ladyship is in no fit mind to give instructions to anyone. My son has charged me with managing the affairs at Castle Hackton until he recovers from his grief and resumes his interest in worldly matters. And while I am in charge...
701 CU of Runt. (2:37:41)
MRS. BARRY (off screen): ...you will take your instructions from me. My only concern is for Lady Lyndon.
RUNT (rising): Madam, your only concern is for Her Ladyship's signature. You and your son have almost succeeded in destroying a fine family fortune. And what little remains for you depends on keeping Her Ladyship prisoner in her own house.
702 CU of Mrs. Barry. (2:38:07)
MRS. BARRY: Reverend Runt, this matter bears no further discussion. You will pack your bags and leave by tomorrow morning.
703 LS of Runt from behind Mrs. Barry. (2:38:16)
There is no confrontation between Runt and Barry's mother in the book, but Barry's mother is given as ruling the Lyndon household in such a way, complicit with her son, as to make Lady Lyndon a prisoner.
To add to all my perplexities, two years after my poor child's death, my wife, whose vagaries of temper and wayward follies I had borne with for twelve years, wanted to leave me, and absolutely made attempts at what she called escaping from my tyranny.
My mother, who was the only person that, in my misfortunes, remained faithful to me (indeed, she has always spoken of me in my true light, as a martyr to the rascality of others and a victim of my own generous and confiding temper), found out the first scheme that was going on; and of which those artful and malicious Tiptoffs were, as usual, the main promoters. Mrs. Barry, indeed, though her temper was violent and her ways singular, was an invaluable person to me in my house; which would have been at rack and ruin long before, but for her spirit of order and management, and for her excellent economy in the government of my numerous family. As for my Lady Lyndon, she, poor soul! was much too fine a lady to attend to household matters—passed her days with her doctor, or her books of piety, and never appeared among us except at my compulsion; when she and my mother would be sure to have a quarrel.
Mrs. Barry, on the contrary, had a talent for management in all matters. She kept the maids stirring, and the footmen to their duty; had an eye over the claret in the cellar, and the oats and hay in the stable; saw to the salting and pickling, the potatoes and the turf-stacking, the pig-killing and the poultry, the linen-room and the bakehouse, and the ten thousand minutiae of a great establishment. If all Irish housewives were like her, I warrant many a hall-fire would be blazing where the cobwebs only grow now, and many a park covered with sheep and fat cattle where the thistles are at present the chief occupiers. If anything could have saved me from the consequences of villainy in others, and (I confess it, for I am not above owning to my faults) my own too easy, generous, and careless nature, it would have been the admirable prudence of that worthy creature. She never went to bed until all the house was quiet and all the candles out; and you may fancy that this was a matter of some difficulty with a man of my habits, who had commonly a dozen of jovial fellows (artful scoundrels and false friends most of them were!) to drink with me every night, and who seldom, for my part, went to bed sober. Many and many a night, when I was unconscious of her attention, has that good soul pulled my boots off, and seen me laid by my servants snug in bed, and carried off the candle herself; and been the first in the morning, too, to bring me my drink of small-beer. Mine were no milksop times, I can tell you. A gentleman thought no shame of taking his half-dozen bottles; and, as for your coffee and slops, they were left to Lady Lyndon, her doctor, and the other old women. It was my mother's pride that I could drink more than any man in the country,—as much, within a pint, as my father before me, she said.
That Lady Lyndon should detest her was quite natural. She is not the first of woman or mankind either that has hated a mother-in-law. I set my mother to keep a sharp watch over the freaks of her Ladyship; and this, you may be sure, was one of the reasons why the latter disliked her. I never minded that, however. Mrs. Barry's assistance and surveillance were invaluable to me; and, if I had paid twenty spies to watch my Lady, I should not have been half so well served as by the disinterested care and watchfulness of my excellent mother. She slept with the house-keys under her pillow, and had an eye everywhere. She followed all the Countess's movements like a shadow; she managed to know, from morning to night, everything that my Lady did. If she walked in the garden, a watchful eye was kept on the wicket; and if she chose to drive out, Mrs. Barry accompanied her, and a couple of fellows in my liveries rode alongside of the carriage to see that she came to no harm. Though she objected, and would have kept her room in sullen silence, I made a point that we should appear together at church in the coach-and-six every Sunday; and that she should attend the race-balls in my company, whenever the coast was clear of the rascally bailiffs who beset me. This gave the lie to any of those maligners who said I wished to make a prisoner of my wife. The fact is, that, knowing her levity, and seeing the insane dislike to me and mine which had now begun to supersede what, perhaps, had been an equally insane fondness for me, I was bound to be on my guard that she should not give me the slip. Had she left me, I was ruined the next day. This (which my mother knew) compelled us to keep a tight watch over her; but as for imprisoning her, I repel the imputation with scorn. Every man imprisons his wife to a certain degree; the world would be in a pretty condition if women were allowed to quit home and return to it whenever they had a mind. In watching over my wife, Lady Lyndon, I did no more than exercise the legitimate authority which awards honour and obedience to every husband.
But clever Mrs. Barry found out that always before my lady-wife chose to write letters to her milliner, she had need of lemons to make her drink, as she said; this fact, being mentioned to me, set me a-thinking, and so I tried one of the letters before the fire, and the whole scheme of villainy was brought to light. I will give a specimen of one of the horrid artful letters of this unhappy woman. In a great hand, with wide lines, were written a set of directions to her mantua-maker, setting forth the articles of dress for which my Lady had need, the peculiarity of their make, the stuff she selected, &c. She would make out long lists in this way, writing each article in a separate line, so as to have more space for detailing all my cruelties and her tremendous wrongs. Between these lines she kept the journal of her captivity: it would have made the fortune of a romance-writer in those days but to have got a copy of it, and to have published it under the title of the 'Lovely Prisoner, or the Savage Husband,' or by some name equally taking and absurd. The journal would be as follows:—
'MONDAY.—Yesterday I was made to go to church. My odious, MONSTROUS, VULGAR SHE-DRAGON OF A MOTHER-IN-LAW, in a yellow satin and red ribands, taking the first place in the coach; Mr. L. riding by its side, on the horse he never paid for to Captain Hurdlestone. The wicked hypocrite led me to the pew, with hat in hand and a smiling countenance, and kissed my hand as I entered the coach after service, and patted my Italian greyhound—all that the few people collected might see. He made me come downstairs in the evening to make tea for his company; of whom three-fourths, he himself included, were, as usual, drunk. They painted the parson's face black, when his reverence had arrived at his seventh bottle; and at his usual insensible stage, they tied him on the grey mare with his face to the tail. The she-dragon read the "Whole Duty of Man" all the evening till bedtime; when she saw me to my apartments, locked me in, and proceeded to wait upon her abominable son: whom she adores for his wickedness, I should think, AS STYCORAX DID CALIBAN.'
You should have seen my mother's fury as I read her out this passage! Indeed, I have always had a taste for a joke (that practised on the parson, as described above, is, I confess, a true bill), and used carefully to select for Mrs. Barry's hearing all the COMPLIMENTS that Lady Lyndon passed upon her. The dragon was the name by which she was known in this precious correspondence: or sometimes she was designated by the title of the 'Irish Witch.' As for me, I was denominated 'my gaoler,' 'my tyrant,' 'the dark spirit which has obtained the mastery over my being,' and so on; in terms always complimentary to my power, however little they might be so to my amiability. Here is another extract from her 'Prison Diary,' by which it will be seen that my Lady, although she pretended to be so indifferent to my goings on, had a sharp woman's eye, and could be as jealous as another:—
'WEDNESDAY.—This day two years my last hope and pleasure in life was taken from me, and my dear child was called to heaven. Has he joined his neglected brother there, whom I suffered to grow up unheeded by my side: and whom the tyranny of the monster to whom I am united drove to exile, and perhaps to death? Or is the child alive, as my fond heart sometimes deems? Charles Bullingdon! come to the aid of a wretched mother, who acknowledges her crimes, her coldness towards thee, and now bitterly pays for her error! But no, he cannot live! I am distracted! My only hope is in you, my cousin—you whom I had once thought to salute by a STILL FONDER TITLE, my dear George Poynings! Oh, be my knight and my preserver, the true chivalric being thou ever wert, and rescue me from the thrall of the felon caitiff who holds me captive—rescue me from him, and from Stycorax, the vile Irish witch, his mother!'
(Here follow some verses, such as her Ladyship was in the habit of composing by reams, in which she compares herself to Sabra, in the 'Seven Champions,' and beseeches her George to rescue her from THE DRAGON, meaning Mrs. Barry. I omit the lines, and proceed:)—
'Even my poor child, who perished untimely on this sad anniversary, the tyrant who governs me had taught to despise and dislike me. 'Twas in disobedience to my orders, my prayers, that he went on the fatal journey. What sufferings, what humiliations have I had to endure since then! I am a prisoner in my own halls. I should fear poison, but that I know the wretch has a sordid interest in keeping me alive, and that my death would be the signal for his ruin. But I dare not stir without my odious, hideous, vulgar gaoler, the horrid Irishwoman, who pursues my every step. I am locked into my chamber at night, like a felon, and only suffered to leave it when ORDERED into the presence of my lord (I ordered!), to be present at his orgies with his boon companions, and to hear his odious converse as he lapses into the disgusting madness of intoxication! He has given up even the semblance of constancy—he, who swore that I alone could attach or charm him! And now he brings his vulgar mistresses before my very eyes, and would have had me acknowledge, as heir to my own property, his child by another!
Though not in the movie, we should pay attention to Lady Lyndon, in the book, comparing her mother-in-law to Sycorax and her son to Caliban, for The Tempest was used in Fear and Desire and appears in other works of Kubrick's.
In The Tempest, Sycorax is a witch who never makes a physical appearance, long dead before the beginning of the play. Driven from society, pregnant, she lands on an island and has there her son, Caliban, given as a wild beast who may be half fish. After she dies, Prospero, also driven from society, lands on the island with his daughter Miranda. He takes possession of it and seemingly befriends Caliban, who teaches him about the island, but Caliban comes to resent Prospero as an usurper, while Prospero thinks of Caliban as a wild degenerate. Sycorax, with her dark magic, is supposedly the opposite of Prospero who employees the art of white magic, but eventually Prospero is revealed as being much like her.
A comparison can be had with Barry claiming, from the beginning, that by right of birth the Lyndon estate should be his. Thus his situation is like Caliban's and throughout the film his struggle is to attain the title that would return power over the estate to him. And just as the "indigneous" Caliban is considered by Prospero to be wild and heathen, so do the English find the Irish Barry to be base, wild, uncouth, less aligned with civilization than with the darker forces of nature. The film is largely about his attempt at acculturation into high society, and how the backstage of high society is revealed to be quite brutal, masked by the fine accoutrements and rituals of the elite.
Shakespeare made up the name Sycorax, and yet Thackeray spelled it as Stycorax. Was Thackeray's misspelling intended to show a fault in Lady Lyndon's education (for she is the one who spells it tus), a subtle mocking of it? I don't know, but Thackeray also connected Sycorax with the dragon, and has Lady Lyndon pleading with George Poynings to deal with Styrcorax, as George the Dragon Killer.
Not only is the misspelling interesting, it's interesting as well that Lady Lyndon was writing in invisible ink (lemons) and that only by holding the paper before a fire could these letters of hers, embedded in lists made to her milliner, be "read between the lines".
According to the midrash, the visible words of the Torah were the "black fire" while the "white fire" were the spaces around those words.
The scene that is returned to over and over again in the film is the paying of the bills. The Hebrew Tav, last letter of its alphabet, is given as having the meanings of mark, sign, signature. Stycorax had the "t" added to her name by Thackeray, and I can't say his reasons for having done so, but I think we may find, with Kubrick, particular significance concerning Lady Lyndon's signature, the Lyndon's having the power of possession of estate that the Barry's esteem as once belonging to them and which they so desperately seek to retain again for themselves.
One attempts to read read between the lines in the film, but the bills stand out as there are four episodes concerning them and the film even ends with Lady Lyndon's signature being written one last time in a payment made to Barry. Also, we've observed that the bills, considering the exactness of the rest of the film, the attention paid to costuming and sets, are odd in their errors and especially in peculiarity of their dates.
704 Lady Lyndon in anguish from her poisoning. One long handheld shot. (2:38:23)
LADY LYNDON: Oh, God, help. Help!
NARRATION: In the midst of these great perplexities, Her Ladyship made an attempt to kill herself by taking poison. Though she succeeded only in making herself dangerously ill, due to the very small amount which she swallowed, this, nevertheless, caused an intervention from a certain...
705 MS of Graham entering in shock. (2:39:05)
NARRATION: ... quarter, which was long overdue.
GRAHAM: Oh, my God!
Lady Lyndon doesn't take poison in the book, but the suicide attempt in the film provides the motivation for Graham to go to Bullingdon who will then demand satisfaction. This is not too different from her threats of suicide, in the book, causing Lady Lyndon's cousin to leave the household and seek aid for her. Graham and Runt instead fulfill that function in the film.
At last she began to threaten to kill herself; and though I by no means kept the cutlery out of the way, did not stint her in garters, and left her doctor's shop at her entire service,—knowing her character full well, and that there was no woman in Christendom less likely to lay hands on her precious life than herself; yet these threats had an effect, evidently, in the quarter to which they were addressed; for the milliner's packets now began to arrive with great frequency, and the bills sent to her contained assurances of coming aid. The chivalrous Lord George Poynings was coming to his cousin's rescue, and did me the compliment to say that he hoped to free his dear cousin from the clutches of the most atrocious villain that ever disgraced humanity; and that, when she was free, measures should be taken for a divorce, on the ground of cruelty and every species of ill-usage on my part.
706 LS of a carriage traveling from left to right. Same scene as 503. (2:39:12)
Same clouds. Same day as 503.
707 LS of Lord Bullingdon's mansion. (2:39:27)
708 MLS Graham and Runt at table, with Lord Bullingdon pacing in the background. (2:39:33)
BULLINGDON: If my mother had died it would've been as much my responsibility, as if I had poured the strychnine for her myself. For to the everlasting disgrace of my family name, I have, by my cowardice, and by my weakness, allowed the Barrys to establish a brutal and ignorant tyranny over our lives, which has left my mother a broken woman, and to squander and ruin a fine family fortune. My friends profess sympathy, but behind my back I know I am despised. And quite justifiably so. However, I know now what I must do. And what I shall do. Whatever be the cost.
Then I had a scene with my perfidious rascal of a nephew; in which the young reprobate showed an audacity and a spirit for which I was quite unprepared. When I taxed him with ingratitude, 'What do I owe you?' said he. 'I have toiled for you as no man ever did for another, and worked without a penny of wages. It was you yourself who set me against you, by giving me a task against which my soul revolted,—by making me a spy over your unfortunate wife, whose weakness is as pitiable as are her misfortunes and your rascally treatment of her. Flesh and blood could not bear to see the manner in which you used her. I tried to help her to escape from you; and I would do it again, if the opportunity offered, and so I tell you to your teeth!' When I offered to blow his brains out for his insolence, 'Pooh!' said he,—'kill the man who saved your poor boy's life once, and who was endeavouring to keep him out of the ruin and perdition into which a wicked father was leading him, when a Merciful Power interposed, and withdrew him from this house of crime? I would have left you months ago, but I hoped for some chance of rescuing this unhappy lady. I swore I would try, the day I saw you strike her. Kill me, you woman's bully! You would if you dared; but you have not the heart. Your very servants like me better than you. Touch me, and they will rise and send you to the gallows you merit!'
I interrupted this neat speech by sending a water-bottle at the young gentleman's head, which felled him to the ground; and then I went to meditate upon what he had said to me. It was true the fellow had saved poor little Bryan's life, and the boy to his dying day was tenderly attached to him. 'Be good to Redmond, papa,' were almost the last words he spoke; and I promised the poor child, on his death-bed, that I would do as he asked. It was also true, that rough usage of him would be little liked by my people, with whom he had managed to become a great favourite: for, somehow, though I got drunk with the rascals often, and was much more familiar with them than a man of my rank commonly is, yet I knew I was by no means liked by them; and the scoundrels were murmuring against me perpetually.
But I might have spared myself the trouble of debating what his fate should be, for the young gentleman took the disposal of it out of my hands in the simplest way in the world: viz. by washing and binding up his head so soon as he came to himself: by taking his horse from the stables; and, as he was quite free to go in and out of the house and park as he liked, he disappeared without the least let or hindrance; and leaving the horse behind him at the ferry, went off in the very post-chaise which was waiting for Lady Lyndon. I saw and heard no more of him for a considerable time; and now that he was out of the house, did not consider him a very troublesome enemy.
Shot 706 (top), which would be Graham and Runt riding to Lord Bullingdon's mansion, returns us to shot 503 (bottom), the first one following the marriage of Barry and Lady Lyndon, as they ride to the Lyndon mansion. We are returned to a time before Bryan, when Runt had queried Bullingdon on how he felt about his new father, and young Bullingdon had assessed him as a common opportunist who didn't love Lady Lyndon. Almost identical scenes, but with 203 shots and about 10 years between.
Lord Bullingdon lives at Compton Castle.
709 Establishing shot club. Bullingdon enters. (2:40:56)
MAN: Good morning, My Lord.
BULLINGDON: Good morning. Is Mr. Barry Lyndon here?
MAN: Yes, My Lord, he's inside.
Begin 1st round of Sarabande at 2:41:19. (1-6-6 abbreviated with coda - 5 with coda + 2).
BULLINGDON: Thank you.
Track through the club with Bullingdon into the room in which Barry rests, drunken.
Begin 2nd round of Sarabande at about 2:42:05 just before beginning of shot 710.
710 LS of a passed out Barry. (2:42:05)
Bullingdon enters from the left.
711 MCU Lord Bullingdon. (2:42:28)
712 MS Barry with Bullingdon's cane nudging his chin up. (2:42:33)
713 MS of Lord Bullingdon. (2:42:48)
Begin 3rd round of Sarabande at 2:42:48.
BULLINGDON: Mr. Redmond Barry, the last occasion on which we met, you wantonly caused me injury and dishonour, in such a manner, and to such an extent no gentleman can willingly suffer without demanding satisfaction, however much time intervenes. I have now come to claim that satisfaction.
714 MS of Barry. (2:43:21)
It is a fantastic, beautiful scene, hat light as Bullingdon enters the club, when he's in the entry, the woman scrubbing the floor, then the camera on Bullingdon, preceding him as he takes what is a wave of a path to find the drunken Barry.
The new style of Bullingdon's dress represents a shift in power toward a younger generation that is rising in confidence and influence and ready to take its place in the world, to challenge the old.
Bullingdon is frightened, but he's now prepared to defend his mother and save her from utter destruction. Our empathy should be for him. But Kubrick still prevents that from happening, even though we know Lady Lyndon will be likely destroyed if things continue as they are, she having been entirely separated from her supporters. Instead we feel for Barry in his grief. We may even feel that Bullingdon is taking advantage of Barry during a time of terrible tribulation when Barry will be at his weakest.
Bullingdon does confront Barry in the film, but it is after Barry has been separated from Lady Lyndon, has been to the continent, returned, and he and Lady Lyndon appear to be on the road to getting back together. Bullingdon, who has returned home from America three years after Bryan's death, gets in a fight with Barry at this point but there is no duel. And then Lady Lyndon wouldn't even see Bullingdon afterward.
The fact is, the old Countess thought her charms were perennial, and was never out of love with her husband. She was living at Bath; her property being carefully nursed by her noble relatives the Tiptoffs, who were to succeed to it in default of direct heirs: and such was the address of Barry, and the sway he still held over the woman, that he actually had almost persuaded her to go and live with him again; when his plan and hers was interrupted by the appearance of a person who had been deemed dead for several years.
This was no other than Viscount Bullingdon, who started up to the surprise of all; and especially to that of his kinsman of the house of Tiptoff. This young nobleman made his appearance at Bath, with the letter from Barry to Lord George in his hand; in which the former threatened to expose his connection with Lady Lyndon—a connection, we need not state, which did not reflect the slightest dishonour upon either party, and only showed that her Ladyship was in the habit of writing exceedingly foolish letters; as many ladies, nay gentlemen, have done ere this. For calling the honour of his mother in question, Lord Bullingdon assaulted his stepfather (living at Bath under the name of Mr. Jones), and administered to him a tremendous castigation in the Pump-Room.
His Lordship's history, since his departure, was a romantic one, which we do not feel bound to narrate. He had been wounded in the American War, reported dead, left prisoner, and escaped. The remittances which were promised him were never sent; the thought of the neglect almost broke the heart of the wild and romantic young man, and he determined to remain dead to the world at least, and to the mother who had denied him. It was in the woods of Canada, and three years after the event had occurred, that he saw the death of his half-brother chronicled in the Gentleman's Magazine, under the title of 'Fatal Accident to Lord Viscount Castle Lyndon;' on which he determined to return to England: where, though he made himself known, it was with very great difficulty indeed that he satisfied Lord Tiptoff of the authenticity of his claim. He was about to pay a visit to his lady mother at Bath, when he recognised the well-known face of Mr. Barry Lyndon, in spite of the modest disguise which that gentleman wore, and revenged upon his person the insults of former days.
Lady Lyndon was furious when she heard of the rencounter; declined to see her son, and was for rushing at once to the arms of her adored Barry; but that gentleman had been carried off, meanwhile, from gaol to gaol, until he was lodged in the hands of Mr. Bendigo, of Chancery Lane, an assistant to the Sheriff of Middlesex; from whose house he went to the Fleet Prison. The Sheriff and his assistant, the prisoner, nay, the prison itself, are now no more.
Next: Barry Lyndon Analysis - Part 7
Go to Table of Contents for Analysis of Barry Lyndon
Link to the main Kubrick page for all the analyses
If you'd like to leave a comment, try FB
If you'd like to leave a comment, it can be left on the blog