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Ulysses 2004

It's hardly surprising that it took 45 years for someone to attempt an adaptation of James Joyce's dazzling modernist masterpiece that parallels a day in the life of unassuming Jewish advertising man Leopold Bloom with the events of Homer's Odyssey.

Runtime:
1 hour, 59 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama
Director Joseph Strick
Studio Arrow Films
BBFC rating Suitable for 15 years and over
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Literary anoraks usually have difficulty in coping with movie adapations of their favourite books, failing to understand that their mental view of the original will not survive the change of medium and the consequent creation of a new art form. A book as iconic as Joyce's Ulysses will never be faithfully 'reproduced' on screen to the satisfaction of such critics.

In fact Joseph Strick's 1967 film not only sees the successful transition of Joyce's book into a new medium (within the 'new wave' tradition popular with film makers at the time) but has also created a work that remains highly relevant to the 21st century viewer. Strick actually filmed in black and white and in 'modern dress' ( for the time) for budgetary rather than aesthetic reasons.

Although set a century ago in 1904 the book introduced a whole plethora of very modern sounding topics -sexual and personal relationships, consumerism, nationalism, religious and racial intolerance, advertising and media, immigration, popular music and the position of the artist in society (among others!). Strick's film was fortunately made at a time in the Sixties when the ground norms of society were being widely questioned and the film picks up some of this buzz. The happy result - helped greatly by the minimalist 'modern' dress and settings - is a film that seems to consist of up -to-date real people with real lives and something relevant to say to a present day audience about their own lives.

Sean Walsh's more recent adaptation of Ulysses ('Bloom', made in 2004)on the other hand, while beautifully fimed and acted, is played as a period drama that aims to reproduce the original environment of Joyce's book as closely as possible. As a result, to me anyway , the latter film fails to touch any nerve other than as a pleasant enough adaptation but one that is about as relevant to our present day lives as an adaptation of Jane Austen.
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Format: DVD
For me James Joyce 1924 novel Ulysses comes under the heading of "some kind of masterpiece I suppose" depicting as it does a day in Dublin in 1904, the year in which Joyce became a voluntary exile from Ireland never to return, but writing about Ireland for the rest of his life.

The once experimental "stream of consciousness" style of internal monologue is well captured in this 1967 film by voice over, and the adaptation clearly focuses on the outstanding events in the novel, events I clearly remember thirty years after reading it (it is that kind of novel).

There is no real plot, just two men walking about Dublin in June 1904 and finally meeting in the evening. Stephen Dedalus (fictional persona of James Joyce first met in his semi autobiographical novel "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man") a young schoolteacher, Leopold Bloom (Milo O'Shea) is on the margins of society as a jew and is married to a famous singer Molly Bloom (Barbara Jefford) who is openly adulterous adding to Bloom's isolation.

The novel ends with Molly Blooms famous long monologue which Barbara Jefford handles superbly.

This is a great adaptation of Joyce's controversial novel, but will mainly appeal to those familiar with the book.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I saw this film in the cinema when it first came out in 1967, and was impressed then. I'd not seen it since till I bought this DVD recently, but I find it even better than I remember. No film of less than 20 hours length could do full justice to the complex James Joyce novel this is based on. But for me the film stands in its own right, whilst still capturing the essence of the novel. However I do know the novel well - if you don't you might wonder what on earth is going on. Great acting from Milo O'Shea and T.P. McKenna and the medium of black and white is exactly right for subject. Its a pity there are no subtitles available on the DVD..
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This is a beautiful film, quite superbly photographed and wonderfully acted. It captures very well the simplest ie purely narrative dimension of Joyce's miraculous novel, but the two are best approached as two quite separate artistic endeavours. O'Shea's performance as Bloom is a delight throughout.

Infinitely better than the much later movie "Bloom".
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Joyce was 40 yrs old when Ulysses was published, it is a day in the life of a husband and father of Joyce's age (at publication). Joyce loved Dublin and Ireland and though the book was written on the European continent - he wanted to memorialize his birth home (Ireland). The framework of Ulysses is Homer's Odyssey - The Roman (Ulysses: 1 Telemachus, 2 Nestor, 3 Proteus, 4 Calypso, 5 Lotus Eaters, 6 Hades, 7 Aeolus, 8 Lestrygonians, 9 Scylla And Charybdis, 10 Wandering Rocks, 11 Sirens, 12 Cyclops, 13 Nausicca, 14 Oxen Of The Sun, 15 Circe, 16 Eumaeus, 17 Ithaca, and 18 Penelope.

Ulysses is the tale of a Modern-day Odysseus, Leopold Bloom in his personal existential/sexual quest. The conclusion of this quest is the quintessential affirmation of humanity, the fundamental family unit - the father, mother, son, and daughter. Like Odysseus, absent from Penelope, traveling the world, for many long years, Leopold Bloom is also absent from his Penelope (in Dublin). Like a traveler (Odysseus), Bloom is sexually absent (abstinent) from Molly “10 years, 5 months and 18 days” (736). Unlike Odysseus, the obstacles Bloom faces are psychological (modern) - internal travails instead of Odysseus' external travails. Bloom's only son’s death has become a psychological barrier; as Molly reflects: “we were never the same since” (778). Yet Bloom is optimistic throughout the work - in regard to the possibility of another child, again Molly: ”Ill give him one more chance” (780). Affirmatively (as we grow to know Molly) we find she has given and is willing to continue to give Bloom “one more chance”. Through the course of the (Dublin) day, Bloom experiences “deep frustration, humiliation, fear, punishment and catharsis” (Herring, p.74).
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