Lust for Life (1956)

“I am desperate. I can foresee absolutely nothing. I see no way out.” My favorite Kirk Douglas performance is that of tortured Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh in Lust for Life, which was directed by Vincente Minnelli and based on the popular 1934 novel of the same name by Irving Stone (“The frank, revealing book is on the screen!”). Douglas was nominated for a “Best Actor” Oscar but lost out to Yul Brynner (The King and I), while Anthony Quinn won “Best Supporting Actor” for his compelling performance as fellow artist Paul Gauguin, who forms a turbulent friendship with the unstable and deeply troubled van Gogh. In addition to brilliant performances, Lust for Life features beautiful cinematography and was mostly shot on location in the Netherlands and southern France. The supporting cast includes James Donald as Theo van Gogh, Pamela Brown as Christine and Everett Sloane as Dr. Gachet. The film was also nominated for “Best Color Art Direction” and “Best Adapted Screenplay.” Vincent Van Gogh was able to sell only one painting (The Red Vineyard) during his lifetime.

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