One more Barry Lyndon voiceover solved a ‘complicated’ problem for Stanley Kubrick

Despite abandoning the first-person perspective, Kubrick still saw that voice acting would be a valuable tool in the creation of “Barry Lyndon.” Because the story is so dense, the director needed an “economical” way to convey the information needed to build other, more climactic episodes. Kubrick found that the best way to do this was through third-person narration. As he said Michael Ciment:

“Voiceover frees you from the cumbersome work of telling the essential facts of the story through scenes of overly explicit dialogue that can become very tiring and often unconvincing. … On the other hand, dubbing. Voiceover is a perfectly legal and economical way of conveying story information that doesn’t need dramatic weight and would otherwise be too cumbersome to dramatize.”

Kubrick wasn’t worried about ruining the movie with the dub. In fact, he found that anticipating the on-screen action or audience reaction didn’t melt the suspense – it created it.

“I think the commentary has a dramatic effect like when you know that the Titanic is going to perish while you watch the preparation and departure scenes carefree. These early scenes will be boring. if you don’t know about the ship’s appointment with the iceberg. Being forewarned of the impending disaster brings surprise but creates suspense.”

Kubrick is a visual storyteller with a distinct cinematic style, but he knows when to use voice acting to do the job. While the narrative is omniscient, Kubrick manages to play with its credibility – similar to how Thackeray made Barry an unreliable narrator in his book. In this way, Kubrick does undeniable justice to his source material and brings it to life on screen. One more Barry Lyndon voiceover solved a ‘complicated’ problem for Stanley Kubrick

Fry Electronics Team

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