Ulysses

  • 1967
  • 2 HR 20 MIN
  • NR
  • Drama

James Joyce's unfilmable novel is brought to the screen in this interesting but flawed movie. O'Shea is Joyce's Jewish protagonist. Wandering the Dublin streets, he thinks about his dead son, his cuckolding wife, and his own impotence. During his travels he encounters a one-eyed man who taunts him with anti-Semitic remarks and young student and poet Roeves....read more

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James Joyce's unfilmable novel is brought to the screen in this interesting but flawed movie. O'Shea is Joyce's Jewish protagonist. Wandering the Dublin streets, he thinks about his dead son, his cuckolding wife, and his own impotence. During his travels he encounters a one-eyed man who

taunts him with anti-Semitic remarks and young student and poet Roeves. He and Roeves go to a brothel where O'Shea is beset by frightening fantasies. Afterward the two men sit up all night talking at O'Shea's house. When Roeves leaves, Jefford, O'Shea's wife, lies awake in bed thinking about her

present and past loves and the possibility of an affair with Roeves. There was no way Joyce's dense stream-of-consciousness prose could be translated into cinematic terms, so the producers settled for a superficial record of O'Shea's peregrinations and only went into depth for two scenes--the

brothel fantasies, where O'Shea sees himself as an oriental emperor, the mayor of Dublin, and the victim of an anti-Semitic judge; and Jefford's soliloquy on love, sex, and the impotent husband in bed beside her. The best thing here is that large chunks of Joycean prose appear intact as voiceovers

from the characters, much of which is what got the book banned in America for more than 30 years, especially Jefford's monolog. The cast is almost entirely Irish, and the film is shot in the same locations mentioned in the book. Technically everything is very good, particularly the crisp

black-and-white photography. There is no way any film can do justice to this classic modern novel, but this film comes as close as is ever likely. Nominated by the Academy for Best Screenplay.

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