Ulysses (1967)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Inspirational Drama, Psychological Drama  |   Run Time - 140 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Jeremy Beday

This adaptation of James Joyce's literary landmark Ulysses takes on the formidable task of filming a story seemingly impossible to capture onscreen. One would imagine that Joyce's prose and poetry defy the medium of film, and one would be correct; Ulysses strives to do its namesake justice, but falls short of its mark. It chronicles a day in the life of Leopold Bloom as he wanders the streets of Dublin, reflecting on his less-than-perfect life; his son is dead, his wife is nagging him into the grave, and he is impotent. Paralleling the action in Homer's classical epic, the story unfolds largely through metaphor, as in the case of the Jew-hating "cyclops." An attempt to preserve some of Joyce's writing comes in the way of voice-overs, but the effect is hit-or-miss. The film does not come close to the original work, but the comparison may be unfair, since no re-creation could ever equal Joyce's vision. On its own, the film is quite good, but, of course, the comparison to the original is inevitable. Still, for those who haven't read the novel (or were unable to finish it), Ulysses is a highly entertaining, provocative film and a good introduction to Joyce's writing. For those who have read his work, it may be worth seeing regardless, just to get an even better sense of how unique a talent Joyce was, as evidenced by the inability to produce a great script, cast, and director, to fully match the genius of its inspiration. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.