Lust For Life (1956)


“I like ’em fat and vicious and not too smart. Nothing spiritual either. To have to say ‘I love you’ would break my teeth. I don’t want to be loved. ” – Paul Gauguin

Number of Times Seen – 1 (29 May 2018)

Brief Synopsis – Biography of famed impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had heard about years ago, but had absolutely no interest in seeing since I know nothing about impressionist painters and their craft.

When I saw that Kirk Douglas was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for this role, I was actually intrigued to try and see what he would do with the role.

The story actually starts off well and feels like a normal biopic but as the character and storyline get crazier and crazier, it gets much harder to care about what will happen.

Douglas does do a fine job portraying this tormented artist and I can completely understand how he could get a Best Actor Oscar nomination for this role because I’m sure it wasn’t easy doing this, but something constantly feels missing from the storyline that would make the viewer more interested in what will happen.

This is a very tragic story about a troubled artist who was never quite understood but I think that if I cared more (or even understood more) about impressionist painting, I might have been able to find something to enjoy here, but since I don’t….

Bottom Line – Film that starts off well but as the plot moves along and the character gets crazier and crazier, it’s hard to find a reason to care about him. Douglas does a fine job in the lead and it’s understandable that he would get an Oscar nomination for this role, but something is sorely missing since they give us no reason to want to watch what will happen to to the character. Very tragic story that perhaps is better understood by those who understand impressionist painting, but overall, I found this story pretty boring.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia #1 – In his memoir “The Ragman’s Son” Kirk Douglas recounted that John Wayne attended a screening of the film, and was horrified. “Christ, Kirk! How can you play a part like that? There’s so few of us left. We got to play strong, tough characters. Not those weak queers,” Wayne said. Douglas tried to explain, “It’s all make-believe, John. It isn’t real. You’re not really John Wayne, you know.” Wayne looked at him oddly, as if Douglas had betrayed him.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia #2 – A very young Michael Douglas and his brother ran screaming from the theater during the scene where Van Gogh severs his own ear because they believed their father, Kirk Douglas, had actually harmed himself. (From IMDB)

Rating – Razzie Worthy (4/10)

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4 thoughts on “Lust For Life (1956)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1956 |

  2. Pingback: Oscar Best Acting Winners |

  3. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1956 |

  4. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1956 | MovieRob

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