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Lust for Life

Kirk Douglas , Anthony Quinn , George Cukor , Vincente Minnelli    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Product Description


Lust for Life is appropriately titled, for mere passion seems inadequate when describing this superb fictionalized biography (based on Irving Stone's popular novel) of Vincent Van Gogh. In a deservedly Oscar®- nominated performance, Kirk Douglas is physically and emotionally perfect as the tormented Dutch painter, whose life is chronicled from his ill-fated stint as a preacher to Belgian miners in 1878, to his Impressionist-inspired artistic awakening and psychological descent to suicide in 1890. Having triumphed with 1952's The Bad and the Beautiful, Douglas, producer John Houseman, and director Vincente Minnelli brought vigor and vitality to this blessed project, which centers on Van Gogh's stormy friendship with fellow artist Gaugin (Oscar-winner Anthony Quinn). Minnelli used an outmoded color film process and innovative camera techniques to vividly recreate Van Gogh's paintings, and he filmed on the actual Dutch and French locations where Van Gogh's mastery flourished. The artist's lust for life also fed his madness, and this film deeply understands the fine line in between. --Jeff Shannon

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A flawed classic April 1 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Many people consider this to be the standard when it comes to retelling the tragic story of Vincent van Gogh's life.
The film is very good and there's no question that director Vincente Minnelli put a tremendous amount of work into bringing Van Gogh to the screen. The sets and costumes are wonderful.
I suppose that my main criticism of the film is that its "heart" seems to be more firmly set in 1950's Hollywood than in 1880's Europe. In other words, the film has a very constructed, American flavour to it. This is most glaring when many of the scenes shift from Kirk Douglas on the screen (clearly American) to a narrative reading of his letters to his brother, Theo (read by a British narrator)--very jarring. Kirk's performance, though very good, never quite "clinches" the role--he remains a very good actor on a very pretty set.
But certainly I would recommend this film to anyone with an interest in Van Gogh--not a perfect movie by any means, but there are moments that are quite remarkable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 'Lust for Life' just the best!! Oct. 11 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD of Vincent Van Gogh is great.....it is so convincing that you feel you are watching the artists of that time ...the actors make it a reality .....It is a 'must' for any art group.....Mary Jane Eichler
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Flick July 3 2013
By Peter
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
We watched this DVD last night and really enjoyed it. Although it is an old film it was well done. Gives one a little more insight into Van Gogh's tragic life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "I want to create things that touch people" June 1 2004
Format:VHS Tape
With an uncanny resemblance to the self-portraits of Vincent Van Gogh, Kirk Douglas is perfect for this detailed and wonderful production of the artist's life; it's a passionate performance of a troubled soul, whose creative urges battled with his mental illness.
The film has an intelligent script by Norman Corwin, based on Irving Stone's biographical novel. It picks up the story around 1879, when Van Gogh was 26 years old, and went to minister (unsuccessfully) to the coal miners of a destitute area, and from there takes us through his many different abodes, his relationship with "Christine", who is well played by Pamela Brown, and the flourishing of his art in his last 15 years of life.
The art direction is superb, and the recreations of the places Van Gogh painted a marvel, among them the famous yellow house he lived in and its bedroom, and my favorite, the pool hall, with its hanging lamps.
The cinematography by Freddy Young and Russell Harlan is terrific, and we get many full screen views of the original paintings, many of them lesser known pieces from private collections.
This was a multi-award winning film, and garnered an Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Anthony Quinn, who is fabulous as Paul Gauguin, whose personality was the complete opposite of his friend Van Gogh; the ego clashes when they attempted to live together are well illustrated in several scenes, and with a little addition to his nose, Quinn has been made to look exactly like Gauguin's famous self-portrait with the snake.
James Donald is excellent as Vincent's patient and generous brother, who was Van Gogh's central means of support for most of his lifetime, both financially and of his paintings.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful Classic! Oct. 13 2003
By Rick
Format:VHS Tape
I'm a painter myself, have done alot of reading about the lives of these artists, and can never get over the superb performances of these actors!----Truly a superb movie classic! Five stars, in my book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A nice wholesome family movie July 3 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Very enjoyable movie that easily deserves to be added to your home collection. Kirk Douglas underscores his brilliant acting talent to convince the audience of Vincent's lifelong struggles regarding his passion for painting. Outstanding quality VHS coupled with immediate shipment from Amazon made this inexpensive purchase most satisfying.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tortured Genius Aug. 7 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I would wager that this is really the best work Vincente Minnelli ever did, in spite of his reputation as the famous director of MGM Judy Garland musicals. "Lust for Life" has a power and pathos to it that is seldom matched in biographical movies. The story of Vincent Van Gogh's struggle to paint and find companionship is beautifully brought to life here. And of course, that is due to superstar Kirk Douglas' intensity as the tortured artist. The scenes he plays with Anthony Quinn's Paul Gaugin are so touching, as even Gaugin (a very hard person) must acknowledge how sad Vincent's longing for a friend is.Highlighting the film also are the color depictions of many of Van Gogh's canvases, raw in color and emotion, a testament to a man who didn't know how to do anything by halves, but gave his whole heart and soul to everything he did and everyone he loved, whether reciprocated or not.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece to honor a master July 11 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I loved this movie!! The tragic, misunderstood life of VINCENT VAN GOUGH is given a chance for sympathy and understanding in this adaptation. Kirk Douglas gives an exemplary, very much believable performance as the whimiscal, at times child-like personality of VINCENT. Anthony Quinn gives Paul Gaughin's character a "larger than life" illusion. And although I am not as familiar with Gaughin's life, the chemistry between these two actors was nothing short of magnificent. This is definitely one for the classics library!!
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