7.4/10
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Lust for Life (1956)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | November 1956 (Australia)
Trailer
3:04 | Trailer
The life of brilliant but tortured artist Vincent van Gogh.

Directors:

Vincente Minnelli, George Cukor (co-director) (uncredited)

Writers:

Norman Corwin (screen play), Irving Stone (based on the novel by)
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kirk Douglas ... Vincent Van Gogh
Anthony Quinn ... Paul Gauguin
James Donald ... Theo Van Gogh
Pamela Brown ... Christine
Everett Sloane ... Dr. Gachet
Niall MacGinnis ... Roulin
Noel Purcell ... Anton Mauve
Henry Daniell ... Theodorus Van Gogh
Madge Kennedy ... Anna Cornelia Van Gogh
Jill Bennett ... Willemien
Lionel Jeffries ... Dr. Peyron
Laurence Naismith ... Dr. Bosman
Eric Pohlmann ... Colbert
Jeanette Sterke ... Kay
Toni Gerry 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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Vincente Minelli was opposed to using Cinemascope as the aspect ration of the film, believing that it was inconsistent with the mostly intimate story that he wanted to tell, as well as with the Van Gogh works depicted from time to time, including the recreations of many of the sites (e.g., a cafe, a pool hall, or Van Gogh's bedroom in Arles) that ended up being depicted in Van Gogh's paintings. Minelli lost that battle with the studio, but was successful in getting to use Ansco Color as his film stock, which was not as saturated a medium as Technicolor; Minelli believed that it would better capture the darker moods of Van Gogh's life. Ansco Color, however, had already gone out of production in 1955 when filming took place, and Minelli had to scrounge enough of the remaining film stock to make the movie, and then had to arrange special processing to develop the film as well. See more »

Goofs

Camera shadow falls across Ducrucq as Van Gogh finds him dead. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Commissioner De Smet: You are now qualified for evangelical work, under the auspices of The Belgian Committee of the Messengers of the Faith. May the lord guide you, and sustain you in all your ways.
Dr. Gachet: [gets up from the table and dismisses the five aspiring clergymen from the room, then looks unenthused at Vincent Van Gogh waiting in the hallway before closing the door and sitting back down]
Dr. Peyron: Congratulations Dr. Gachet, a very creditable group of young men.
Commissioner De Smet: Now about this other young man Dr. Gachet. Are you ...
[...]
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Soundtracks

La Marseillaise
(1792) (uncredited)
Written by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle
Played by a band in France, near the end
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User Reviews

Melodramatic but effective
27 March 1999 | by bwaynefSee all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

November 1956 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Lust for Life See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Perspecta Sound® encoding) (35 mm optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)| 4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Ansco Color) (as Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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