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A Father, a Son - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
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Through triumphs (including Academy Awards and international honors for political activism) and tragedies (such as the death of Kirk's youngest son, Eric, from an accidental overdose), Grant shapes the Douglas saga into a universal tale of human complexity, from the chronic infidelities of father and son (both resulting in divorce from their first wives) to the hardship of Michael's struggle to emerge from his famous father's Hollywood shadow. Their long-standing dispute over the success of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (one of Kirk's pet projects, which Michael ultimately coproduced without Kirk's involvement) remains a sticky point, and Michael openly acknowledges that Kirk was not a good father in their early years as a family. But what ultimately emerges, through the probing lenses of Grant's multiple cameras, is a decades-long process of forgiveness and reconciliation, and the father-son conversations here literally glow with mutual love and respect, strengthened by Kirk's tenacious recovery from a stroke in 1996. You could remove fame and wealth from this familial equation, and the Douglas saga would still be a remarkable reflection of the American dream, or as Kirk calls it, "the tragedy of failure, and the tragedy of success." Touching and joyously generous in spirit, Grant's film is truly one-of-a-kind. --Jeff Shannon
- Interview with filmmaker Lee Grant
- Interview with Danny DeVito
- A tribute to Eric Douglas
- Douglas Family Home Movies
- Kirk in Hollywood
- Kirk and Anne Douglas renewed wedding vows
Top Customer Reviews
Yes, Kirk freely admits in this movie that he was a womanizer.
And, yes, his two oldest children, Michael and Robert, do point out that he didn't spend nearly enough time with them when they were growing up -- Robert characterizing his fathert at times as a "bully" -- Michael saying that he knew when to "stay away."
But saying you're not charmed, mesmerized, taken in, enchanted, fascinated and awed by Kirk Douglas ... you might as well say you're indifferent to the sun or the stars or to some equally remarkable natural phenomenon.
If there's a better acting job than the one Kirk Douglas di in "Lust for Life," I haven't seen it; and I've seen lots and lots of movies. I'm a tough guy, see, and I would say that of all the films I've seen three maybe four of them made me cry. "Lust for Life" was one of them. ... Vincent would have been proud.
I also admire what Kirk Douglas did in giving screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, one of the "Hollywood Ten," his onscreen props on "Spartacus," basically saying to the anticommunist witch hunters to "go ahead, make something of it."
Even though Spartacus came out toward the end of the witch hunting years, there were no doubt plenty of people in Hollywood who would have said, "Why bother? Why look for trouble?" So Kirk Douglas "giving Dalton Trumbo back his name," as Dalton Trumbo put it in a letter to Kirk, meant a great deal to a great many people, in and out of Hollywood. It's too bad there's not more of that nowadays in the entertainment industry.
It's wonderful in this documentary to see the rapport between Kirk and his eldest son Michael Douglas, as they reminisce over cake and coffee.Read more ›