Loosely inspired by Gauguin's life, the story of Charles Strickland, a middle-aged stockbrocker who abandons his middle-class life, his family, and his duties to start painting, as he has ...
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Loosely inspired by Gauguin's life, the story of Charles Strickland, a middle-aged stockbrocker who abandons his middle-class life, his family, and his duties to start painting, as he has always wanted to do. He is from then on a awful human being, wholly devoted to his ideal: beauty.Written by
Albert Lewin had left his highly-paid job as an executive at MGM following the death of his mentor, Irving Thalberg. He set up this independent production of Somerset Maugham's novel but had only a small budget to work with; it was primarily to save money that Lewin also took on the writing and directing jobs on the film. Later, he returned to MGM, but with the proviso that he could occasionally take time off from his executive duties in order to direct his own films. See more »
There is a tinted and a color sequence toward the end of the film, both of which have recently been restored, but for many years this film was seen only in black-and-white. See more »
The print of this film (shown on TCM) suffers from the ravages of time. I wish I could say that the genius of the film shines through, but I cannot.
It is an interesting film. Certainly a curiosity. The unusual use of different film stocks and the selective use of color make it a unique experience.
The subject of the film, a misanthropic painter who offers little in the way of redeeming value, makes the film an interesting story with a hollow center. Charles Strickland (George Sanders) is a man who sacrifices everything in life to retire to Tahiti to paint. Based loosely on the life of Gaugin, the film has an interesting cast of characters that surround Strickland, notably Herbert Marshall as Geoffrey Wolfe and Steven Geray as Dirk Stroeve.
One might feel compelled to watch the story of so unusual a protagonist, but he is not merely indifferent to others; he often goes out of his way to denigrate or insult them. When we finally see the artwork that has driven this man's obsession--if that's what it is--it is anticlimactic.
This work of fiction could have made Strickland a hero, fighting for his artistic vision. Instead, he comes across as little more than a craftsman who does even value his own work. This is disappointing.
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