A tale of two trailers: Barry Lyndon (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1975)

At the time of its release in 1975, Barry Lyndon was a miss with audiences and some critics. Perceived as slow and boring, it has, like many of Kubrick’s films, grown in critical stature as time wears onward. Barry Lyndon is a major favorite of mine, my second favorite Kubrick film after A Clockwork Orange, but after seeing the original trailer, it is hard to see one reason why audiences may have stayed away– the trailer is absolutely terrible!

We are given little sense of plot from the trailer; we receive nothing but critical notices, all bland statements about the film’s cinematography and attention to detail. Those are two of its greatest strengths to be sure, but your average film-goer wants plot, a sense of character, none of which you get from this trailer! This movie is sad, funny, haunting, but from the original trailer it looks like any musty old Oscar bait piece. Blech!

Now compare this recent trailer for a 40th anniversary screening:

Now THAT’S a trailer, guys! Much better sense of editing and we actually get a feel for the story, that this is about an ambitious con man’s rise and fall, told through some of the most stunning visuals ever put to film. If you have not seen Barry Lyndon, then do so. Three hours well spent!

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