Lust for Life (1956)

He had a lust for life. Sometimes he was brutal, sometimes delicate – always he lived with insatiable passion!

An intense and imaginative artist, revered Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh possesses undeniable talent, but he is plagued by mental problems and frustrations with failure. Supported by his brother, Theo, the tormented Van Gogh eventually leaves Holland for France, where he meets volatile fellow painter Paul Gauguin and struggles to find greater inspiration.

Violence makes me sick. I have too much inside me, I'm afraid of it.
Lust for Life is a biography film of revered painter Vincent Van Gogh. It is adapted from Irving Stone's fictionalized biography by Norman Corwin and stars Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn and James Donald. It's directed by Vincente Minnelli, cinematography is by Freddie Young and Russel Harlan and music is scored by Miklos Roza.
This shines bright as a beacon in how Hollywood used to make a biopic the right way. Not a big commercial success as such, it has however gained critical praise the older it gets. Technically it's hard to fault, the colour lenses in CinemaScope, Roza's beautiful mood accompaniment score, and the direction and acting - with Douglas inhabiting Van Gogh and likewise Quinn for Paul Gauguin (Oscar Winner Best Supporting Actor) - bring this tragic story vividly to life.
It tugs the heart strings while it also inspires, while for art lovers the use of Van Gogh's real paintings (Minnelli was trusted to film with ultimate care) is an added joy. A super piece of film making. 9/10

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer by Vincente Minnelli, George Cukor, Norman Corwin, Irving Stone.
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald, Pamela Brown.

Genres: Biography, Drama

Keywords: paris, france painter artist ear biography painting historical figure impressionist 19th century vincent van gogh


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