The familiar tragic story of Vincent van Gogh is broadened by focusing as well on his brother Theodore, who helped support Vincent. The movie also provides a nice view of the locations which Vincent painted.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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. See more »
A painting of Roulin is shown displayed in Theo's house before Van Gogh has met him. See more »
Oh, Vincent. I'm sorry to put off seeing you, but we artists have to be selfish, you know. We have to save our ourselves. After all with each painting, we die a little.
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The best part of this film was to see so many of Vincent Van Gogh's paintings. There must have been at least a hundred of them shown in this movie.
It's a biography of a tragic life, one of the most famous artists of all time, and a tortured soul, but the film isn't as interesting as one would hope for such a figure.
It just doesn't have the emotion and the charisma of "Moulin Rouge" (1952) in which we see the bio of another famous French painter of that era: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Kirk Douglas is okay as Van Gogh, perhaps not up to Jose Frerrer's high standards with Toulouse-Lautrec, but still convincing in showing the artist's desperate fight against loneliness and his passion for his artwork.
I am probably being too harsh constantly comparing this to Moulin Rouge but I also noticed a big difference in the cinematography, too. This just wasn't as visually striking as it should be, especially since Van Gogh loved to paint in the beautiful French countryside.
The film still has its merits and thankfully didn't get depressing dwelling on Van Gogh's mental problems. It also had good supporting roles turned in by James Donald and Anthony Quinn.
I was still anxious to see this on a widescreen DVD when it was issued in recent months but every report I read said the DVD transfer was poor, a big disappointment.
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