Ulysses (1967 film)

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Ulysses (1967 film dvd cover).jpg
DVD cover
Directed byJoseph Strick
Screenplay byFred Haines
Joseph Strick
Based onUlysses
by James Joyce
Produced byJoseph Strick
StarringMilo O'Shea
Barbara Jefford
Maurice Roëves
T.P. McKenna
Anna Manahan
CinematographyWolfgang Suschitzky
Edited byReginald Mills
Music byStanley Myers
Laser Film Corporation
Ulysses Film Production
Distributed byContinental Distributing (US)
British Lion Films (UK)
Release dates
14 March 1967 (US)
June 1967 (UK)
Running time
132 min.
United Kingdom
United States
Budget$900,000[1] or £222,269[2]
Box office$2,300,000 (US/ Canada)[3]

Ulysses is a 1967 drama film loosely based on James Joyce's 1922 novel Ulysses. It concerns the meeting of two Irishmen, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, in 1904 Dublin.

Starring Milo O'Shea as Leopold Bloom, Barbara Jefford as Molly Bloom, Maurice Roëves as Stephen Dedalus, T. P. McKenna as Buck Mulligan, and Sheila O'Sullivan as May Golding Dedalus, it was adapted by Fred Haines and Joseph Strick and directed by Strick. Haines and Strick shared an Oscar nomination for the screenplay.[4]

Making of the film[edit]

This was the first film adaptation of the novel, 45 years after its publication.

The film was shot on location in Dublin on a modest budget.[4] Although the novel is set in 1904, the film portrays the city as it was in the 1960s.

Critical reception[edit]

Strick earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The film was entered into the 1967 Cannes Film Festival.[5] It was reportedly jeered at its first screening, but during the second showing, French subtitles in which Molly Bloom described sexual intercourse were seen to have been scrubbed out by a grease pencil, pushing audience sympathies toward Strick who had not been informed of the censorship beforehand.[6][7][4] When Strick noticed the deletions during the film's screening, "he stood up and yelled out that this film had been censored", Strick's son David told the Los Angeles Times.[4] "When I went to the projection room to protest, the committee was waiting for me", Joseph Strick later recalled. "I was forcibly ejected, pushed down the steps and suffered a broken foot. I withdrew the film from Cannes."[7]

Reviews from some critics were very positive. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times put the film on his year-end list of the ten best films of 1967, declaring it "A faithful and brilliant screen translation of Joyce's classic novel, done with taste, imagination and cinema artistry."[8] Roger Ebert ranked the film second on his own year-end list (behind only Bonnie and Clyde), writing that it "went into the minds of recognizable human beings and revealed their thoughts about those things most important to them – expressed in the only words they knew."[9] Charles Champlin of the Los Angeles Times wrote that "presuming no familiarity with the novel, the film remains an engrossing experience—very often superbly funny, frequently moving, a confrontation not with three but with more than a score of authentic and credible individuals." Champlin's review concluded, "'Ulysses' is a remarkable achievement, a further chapter in the maturity of film."[10]

Other reviews were negative. The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote that "Joseph Strick's film version is, quite simply, a debasement of the novel. It could not have been otherwise, and Strick must have known this—so why bother in the first place? ... What one misses particularly is a sense of the author's presence, without which the book would be nothing—and without which the film is oddly and insistently impersonal."[11] Pauline Kael described it as "an act of homage in the form of readings ... plus slides." Stanley Kauffmann called it "a facile and ludicrous reduction."[12]

Rating and censorship[edit]

Ulysses was originally rated "X" in the UK after extensive cuts were demanded by BBFC censor John Trevelyan. However, director Joseph Strick replaced the offending dialogue with a series of screeches and sounds, thus rendering the scenes unintelligible. Eventually the film was released uncut in 1970, and the rating was reduced to "15" for the video release in 1996.[13]

In New Zealand, the film was originally restricted to adults over 18 in gender-segregated audiences.[14][15][16] The rating was reduced to "M" (suitable for mature audiences over 16) in the 1990s.[17]

In 1967, the film was banned in Ireland for being "subversive to public morality". The ban was upheld by the Films Appeal Board and placed on the film a second time in 1975. It was eventually lifted in September 2000 at the request of director Strick,[18][19] although it was screened at the Irish Film Theatre (a private club cinema) in the late 1970s.[20] The first public screening of the film in the country was held in February 2001, with then-censor Sheamus Smith and Strick both in attendance. It went on general release at the IFI from 8 February 2001.[21]


The large number of characters in the novel is reflected in the large cast of the film. The cast, in order of credit:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. (24 September 1967). "Show Biz's Mr. Diversification". Los Angeles Times. p. n16.
  2. ^ Chapman, J. (2022). The Money Behind the Screen: A History of British Film Finance, 1945-1985. Edinburgh University Press p 361
  3. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1967", Variety, 3 January 1968 p 25. Please note these figures refer to rentals accruing to the distributors.
  4. ^ a b c d McLellan, Dennis (4 June 2010). "McLellan, Dennis. (2010, June 4). Joseph Strick dies at 86; independent filmmaker brought 'Ulysses' to big screen. The Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  5. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Ulysses". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 11 March 2009.
  6. ^ Shivas, Mark (May 7, 1967). "Frantic Cannes: Film Festival Comes Unwound". Los Angeles Times. Calendar, p. 1, 14.
  7. ^ a b Dwyer, Michael (27 September 2000). "Ban on 'Ulysses' film lifted after 33 years". The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  8. ^ Crowther, Bosley (24 December 1967). "The Ten Best Films of 1967". The New York Times: D3.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (31 December 1967). "The Best Movies of 1967". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  10. ^ Chaplin Charles (May 10, 1967). "Joyce's 'Ulysses' Makes Film Transition". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 1, 16.
  11. ^ "Ulysses". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 34 (404): 137. September 1967.
  12. ^ Robert Messenger, "Censors of the dirty '60s". The Canberra Times, 3 September 2001, p. 12
  13. ^ "British Board of Film Classification". Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  14. ^ Brittenden, Wayne. The Celluloid Circus: The Heyday of the New Zealand Picture Theatre. New Zealand: Godwit (Random House), 2008, p. 134. ISBN 978-1-86962-146-9
  15. ^ "Segregated audience at a screening of Ulysses". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  16. ^ Andrea O'Neil (8 October 2015). "Movie sex segregation for racy 1967 film Ulysses – 150 years of news". The Dominion Post.
  17. ^ "Film & Video Labelling Body of New Zealand". Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  18. ^ "Ban on 'Ulysses' film lifted after 33 years". The Irish Times. Michael Dwyer. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  19. ^ "After 33 years, censor lets Irish audiences see banned 'Ulysses' film". The Independent. 27 September 2000. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  20. ^ Fallon, Donal. "Ulysses versus the censors". Spiked Online. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Ulysses Premiere 33 Years After Being Made". RTÉ Archives. Retrieved 4 March 2018.

External links[edit]