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Lust for Life (1956)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  15 September 1956 (USA)
7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 6,808 users  
Reviews: 65 user | 49 critic

The life of brilliant but tortured artist Vincent van Gogh.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (based on the novel by)
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Title: Lust for Life (1956)

Lust for Life (1956) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Pamela Brown ...
Christine
...
Niall MacGinnis ...
Roulin
Noel Purcell ...
Anton Mauve
...
Madge Kennedy ...
Jill Bennett ...
Willemien
...
Dr. Peyron
Laurence Naismith ...
Dr. Bosman
...
Colbert
Jeanette Sterke ...
Kay
Toni Gerry ...
Johanna
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Storyline

Vincent Van Gogh is the archetypical tortured artistic genius. His obsession with painting, combined with mental illness, propels him through an unhappy life full of failures and unrewarding relationships. He fails at being a preacher to coal miners. He fails in his relationships with women. He earns some respect among his fellow painters, especially Paul Gauguin, but he does not get along with them. He only manages to sell one painting in his lifetime. The one constant good in his life is his brother Theo, who is unwavering in his moral and financial support. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE MOST REVEALING LIFE-INSPIRED STORY EVER FILMED! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La vie passionnée de Vincent van Gogh  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Perspecta Sound® encoding) (35 mm optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A very young Michael Douglas and his brother ran screaming from the theater during the scene where Van Goth severs his own ear because they believed their father, Kirk Douglas, had actually harmed himself. See more »

Goofs

When Van Gogh cuts his ear off and the scene is shown through the mirror, he has cut off his right ear. In all later scenes with the bandage removed his right ear is perfect. See more »

Quotes

Paul Gauguin: If it's one thing I despise, it's emotionalism in painting.
See more »


Soundtracks

Carrousel
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Miklós Rózsa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Melodramatic but effective

Although I started my academic career as an art major, my interest was always in making art of my own rather than studying the works of the past masters. As a result, I wouldn't know a Manet from a Monet, but one painter whose work I can always identify is Vincent Van Gogh, perhaps the most famous example of the "tortured artist" who sought solace from the pain of life through his work. Like so many artists from different mediums, Van Gogh's life, especially the dramatic episode in which he sliced off his ear in an epileptic fit, is more famous than his work, a situation heightened, no doubt, by Don Mclean's melancholy ballad "Vincent," an improbable chart topper in 1972. Prior to being honored by the composer of "American Pie," Van Gogh's biggest brush with popular success came with Vincent Minnelli's film of Irving Stone's best-seller, an often melodramatic but still effective dramatization of the artist's troubled life. Kirk Douglas' intense portrayal of the impoverished and often fanatical Dutchman is helped immeasurably by his physical resemblance to his subject. Bearded, and with his blonde hair dyed red, Douglas could easily be mistaken for the man whose self-portraits hang on the wall of the modest bedroom where much of the film takes place. Occasionally, Douglas' clenched teeth and fist approach to drama comes through to reveal the actor behind the makeup, but his Oscar nominated performance seldom falls victim to the actor's "star" persona. Even Anthony Quinn, an actor who has given the same performance in dozens of movies, is good, but his brief turn as Paul Gaughan is hardly distinguished enough to merit the Oscar for best supporting actor. The rest of the cast is beautifully assembled with James Donald properly sympathetic as Vincent's patient, supportive brother, Theo, and no way can I complain about any film that finds room for the splendid presence of Henry Daniell, seen here as the patriarch of the Van Gogh family. The paintings, a wild riot of colorful intensity, are seen throughout (courtesy of numerous private collectors and public museums, including my hometown's Cleveland Museum of Art), and without them, "Lust for Life" would have a lot less luster.


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