Lust For Life
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Artist, Man of God, Madman, Genius ... Vincent Van Gogh. Kirk Douglasstars with Academy Award winner Anthony Quinn in this biography based onthe best-selling novel by Irving Stone, which was taken from lettersbetween Vincent and his brother Theo and reveals a Lust for Life. Wheredoes genius end and madness begin? Vincent Van Gogh (Douglas) starts hisinspired, turbulent life as a zealous man of God, but he soon discoversa passion for art and a love of his cousin. Spurned by the woman heloves and rejected as a painter, Van Gogh gravitates to Paris and itsvibrant Impressionist movement. There, he paints and establishes afriendship with Paul Gaugin (Anthony Quinn), but only after his deathdoes the world discover the incredible beauty that Van Gogh has painted.]]>
- Theatrical trailer
Top Customer Reviews
Kirk Douglas' finest performance, is fraught with peril. Anthony Quinn, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Paul Gauguin, is superb. The script, some of which was taken from Van Gogh himself, is sometimes dated but always poignant: "Sometimes the pictures come to me as if in a dream, with a terrible lucidity." BRILLIANT!!
Unfortunately the VHS format is fullscreen which begs the question; WHY IS THIS MASTERPIECE UNAVAILABLE IN WIDESCREEN ON DVD!?! What a cultural wasteland: I could probably find ERNEST GOES TO CAMP on DVD, but try to find this CLASSIC and the clerk at the local HOLLYWOOD VIDEO might say, "LUST FOR LIFE? That would probably be in the Adult Film Section." I hope someone is working hard to preserve this Masterpiece. Anything less would be a shame. My VHS tape has been viewed so many times the magnetic particles are starting to fall off. If the DVD doesn't come out soon I'll be forced to buy another copy on VHS.(SIGH)
BLU-RAY UPDATE 2-13-15: The new Blu-ray is fantastic. Older versions have always had sort of a washed-out drab look. In the BD version colors just POP! Reportedly they did a 4K scan of the original color negatives. This film has never looked this good and never will. Worthy upgrade from the SD DVD. MUST OWN for fans of this film!
As soon as the titles appear on this recently released DVD you are aware of the superb transfer to disc. Written with Van Gogh's trademark thick impasto technique, they leap off the screen with 3-dimensional brilliance, breathtakingly alive. This is important because the film contains dozens of Van Gogh's most famous art works, all filmed from the originals in the possession of private collectors and museums. With their thick swirls of color and movement, the images are stunningly beautiful; making the DVD of the film a living art gallery. This was worth the price of the DVD for me. I wish there was some way each one of the paintings could have been bookmarked on the DVD to make them easier to find. Alas no. However, the other more disappointing aspect of this DVD release is that it does not contain the 30 minute long "Making of" documentary that often followed the showing of this film on Turner Classic Movies. This fine documentary showed how modern locations in Holland, Belgium and France were painstakingly converted into the late 19th Century locations actually painted by Van Gogh. It also showed how Kirk Douglas developed his characterization. It featured the process by which extras were chosen amongst local townspeople, including one old French woman who had actually known Van Gogh, had seen him paint and remarked upon Douglas' uncanny resemblance to the painter. It is a wonderful little film and its absence from this DVD is inexplicable. There is certainly room for it. The only extras are a 3 minute trailer and a fine commentary by Dr. Drew Casper, a film historian who gives a deeper, more academic analysis of the film than is usual for a commercial release not on Criterion or Kino. This was a missed opportunity by Turner Entertainment that makes no sense and is deeply disappointing.
The film is in color shot in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 enhanced for widescreen TVs. It looks beautiful, almost 3-dimensionally vivid. It is 122 minutes in length. Sound is offered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and sounds glorious. Miklos Rozsa's music sounds especially alive. Languages for menus are English and French. Subtitles are in English, French and Spanish. The region code is NTSC 1.
This is a film definitely worth getting for its beauty and its excellence. Its lack of appropriate extras is disappointing but that is tempered by gratitude for finally having this wonderful, deeply moving film available on DVD. I strongly recommend this DVD release for that fact alone.
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.
A tremendous knowledge about art went into this film, and it's one of the best artist biographies ever put to film (another good one also came from a Stone best seller, "The Agony and the Ecstasy"), and is a must-see for artists and anyone with an interest in Van Gogh's genius. Total running time is 122 minutes.