Previously at the ICA - Films
16 Jun 2012
James Joyce was involved in this film from its inception, working to establish the first cinema in Dublin in 1909. Although he considered the possibility of filming his famous 1922 novel at various times in his life, Ulysses was not brought to the screen until independent filmmaker Joseph Strick, best known perhaps for his feature-length Savage Eye (1960), released his adaptation in 1967.
Strick’s controversial and humanistic adaptation of Joyce’s classic modern novel is set in 1960s (rather than Joyce’s 1904) Dublin, but leaves much of Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness prose intact. Milo O'Shea plays Joyce’s Jewish protagonist, Leopold Bloom. He wanders the Dublin streets, thinking 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 Stephen Dedalus (Maurice Roeves). He and Dedalus go to a brothel where Bloom is beset by frightening fantasies. Afterwards the two men sit up all night talking at Bloom's house. When Dedalus leaves, Molly (Barbara Jefford), Bloom's wife, lies awake in bed thinking about her present and past loves and the possibility of an affair with Dedalus.
When it was released in 1967 the BBFC requested 29 cuts to remove sexual references from Molly’s final soliloquy in Ulysses, but relented following Strick’s resubmission which replaced all offending scenes with a blank screen and high-pitched shrieking sound. Ulysses was, however, banned in Ireland until 2000. Strick was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for the film.
Dir: Joseph Strick, UK/USA, 1967. 123 mins, cert 15
Cast: Barbara Jefford, Milo O’Shea, Maurice Roeves, T. P. McKenna