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Lust for Life (1956)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 15 September 1956 (USA)
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)
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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:
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:

He had a lust for life. Sometimes he was brutal, sometimes delicate---always he lived with insatiable passion! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 September 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La vie passionnée de Vincent van Gogh 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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This had been Vincente Minnelli's dream project for years at MGM, as van Gogh's life encompassed all of the director's own passions and beliefs, specifically the prioritizarion of art at the expense of all else and color as a metaphor for language. MGM was resistant, as the film did not have commercial appeal, but Minnelli finagled the opportunity by consenting to helm two Broadway-to-Hollywood musical transfers for the Freed Unit whose commercial appeal would, it was assumed, compensate for the projected losses on Lust for Life (1956). But Minnelli's heart was in neither of these ventures, and both Brigadoon (1954) and Kimset (1955) emerged as artistic and commercial disappointments -- too late, however, as Lust for Life (1956) was already in production when the returns came in. 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...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Interview with Chris Petit and Keith Griffiths (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Polka des poulettes
(uncredited)
Music by Aman Comès
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Colorful and excellent biography of famous painter , giving an emotional portrayal about his anguished existence
29 December 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This awesome and vivid picture concerns life of brilliant but tortured artist Vincent van Gogh . He was a Post-Impressionist painter of Dutch origin whose work—notable for its rough beauty , emotional honesty, and bold color—had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. The picture has an opening credits prologue: Without museums help and that of private collectors the world over, this motion picture about a great painter could not have been made . Van Gogh life is a disaster , he fails at being a preacher to coal miners , he fails in his relationships with parents (Henry Daniell as Theodorus Van Gogh and wife Madge Kennedy) and women (Pamela Brown) . At the same time the movie deals with other Impressionist painters who appear across footage such as Gauguin (Anthony Quinn won well-deserved Academy Award as painter/friend) , Camille Pissarro (David Leonard) , George Seurat , Millet , Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec ; furthermore, his relationships to known characters such as his brother Theo Van Gogh (James Donald) and Dr. Gachet (Everett Sloane). After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness he commits himself suicide .

Magnificent rendition of Irving Stone's biography of known painter , being finely portrayed , especially his anguishes , unrewarding friendships , poorness , pains and many other things . This splendid film packs emotion , top-drawer interpretation , adequate production design , enjoyable soundtrack and exquisite color in CinemaScope . Interesting and thought-provoking screenplay by Norman Corwin . Terrific acting by the great Kirk Douglas who even had his hair cut specially in the style of the artist and had it dyed to a similar reddish tint . Over-the-top performance by Anthony Quinn as Gauguin but he does not get along with Van Gogh , his playing actually lasts 22 minutes and 40 seconds , he won his Best Supporting Actor Oscar . Evocative as well as sensitive musical score by classical composer Miklos Rozsa . Rousing and glittering cinematography by Russell Harlan and Freddie Young . The color process used for the film -Ansco color, but labeled in the credits as Metrocolor- is supposedly unsuitable for long term color preservation . As a result, many prints have lost the extraordinary brightness of the movie's images . Being shot on location , as many of the locations used for filming were the actual locations Vincent van Gogh visited in his life ; parts of the film were shot in Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh lived and died . This motion picture perfectly produced by actor/producer John Houseman was stunningly directed by Vincente Minnelli who even had a portion of a field spray-painted yellow to closer resemble Vincent van Gogh's painting.

The flick is well based on actual events , these are the followings : Van Gogh spent his early adulthood working for a firm of art dealers, traveling between The Hague, London, and Paris, after which he taught for a time in England at Isleworth and Ramsgate. One of his early aspirations was to become a pastor, and from 1879 he worked as a missionary in a mining region in Belgium, where he began to sketch people from the local community. In 1885, he painted his first major work, entitled The Potato Eaters. His palette at the time consisted mainly of somber earth tones and showed no sign of the vivid coloration that distinguished his later work. In March 1886, he moved to Paris and discovered the French Impressionists. Later, he moved to the south of France and was influenced by the strong sunlight he found there. His work grew brighter in color, and he developed the unique and highly recognizable style that became fully realized during his stay in Arles in 1888. The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death. Despite a widespread tendency to romanticize his ill health, modern critics see an artist deeply frustrated by the inactivity and incoherence brought about by his bouts of illness. Van Gogh's late works show an artist at the height of his ability, completely in control and "longing for concision and grace". He died aged 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted although no gun was ever found .


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