Since my next three novels (more about those soon!) are set in 18th century London, my head has lately been crammed full of all things Georgian. I don't usually look to movies for inspiration, but Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975) is an outstanding exception. Kubrick was determined to make his film as true to the story's period as was possible, and every scene is filled with historical detail and flavor. Using the paintings of Thomas Gainsborough for inspiration, Kubrick insisted on accuracy in costume and setting, and even the candle-lit scenes were filmed without any additional artificial lighting. This short excerpt shows the first glimpse that Irish adventurer Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal) has of English aristocrat Lady Honoria Lyndon (Marisa Berenson), followed by his nearly wordless but highly effective seduction of her over the gaming table. Note the changing expression of Her Ladyship's chaplain beside her, too, as he realizes what is happening. It's all quite wonderful.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.