7.4/10
8,867
73 user 58 critic

Lust for Life (1956)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 15 September 1956 (USA)
The life of brilliant but tortured artist Vincent van Gogh.

Directors:

, (co-director) (uncredited)

Writers:

(screen play), (based on the novel by)
Reviews

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Vincent Van Gogh
... Paul Gauguin
... Theo Van Gogh
Pamela Brown ... Christine
... Dr. Gachet
... Roulin
... Anton Mauve
... Theodorus Van Gogh
... Anna Cornelia Van Gogh
Jill Bennett ... Willemien
... Dr. Peyron
... Dr. Bosman
... Colbert
... 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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Ansco Color) (as Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Parts of the film were shot in Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh lived and died. Kirk Douglas had his hair cut specially in the style of the artist and had it dyed to a similar reddish tint. This was enough to make some of the older inhabitants of the town believe that Van Gogh had returned. See more »

Goofs

At Arles, when Paul Gaugin is explaining his philosophy, Vincent mistakes him for Theo saying "but Theo, err Paul ..." See more »

Quotes

Vincent Van Gogh: I tried to show a place where a man can ruin himself, go mad... commit a crime.
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Soundtracks

Carrousel
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Miklós Rózsa
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Painstakingly perfect
2 August 2005 | by See all my reviews

I have always liked this movie--despite not being a great fan of Van Gogh's work. However, I recently came to absolutely love this film and can really appreciate the artistry of the producers and director--they OBVIOUSLY really cared about the story and did so much to replicate the life of Van Gogh.

Let me explain. I teach a psychology class and part of the class involves discussing famous people with mental illnesses. Considering I teach at an arts school, it seemed natural to show and discuss Lust for Life. In addition, I picked up perhaps the definitive book on the paintings of Van Gogh. As we watched the film, I flipped through the massive book and was shocked how accurately everything was portrayed in the film. The locations, scenery and characters were absolutely dead on in every respect. In particular, all the little bit characters in the film looked almost like clones of the paintings of these actual people Van Gogh knew. For example, the sailor friend, his doctor in the mental hospital, the artist Pisarro and MANY others were just about carbon copies.

In addition, the myth of Van Gogh was avoided in the film. Unlike the common story, Van Gogh did NOT cut off his ear and give it to a prostitute. The exact nature of the event is a little confusing, but no reputable historian would tell the often repeated story about the prostitute! It was likely a suicide attempt and only a portion of the ear was torn off as he was slicing his throat--or, he did it as a histrionic reaction to a fight with his crazed friend, Gaughin.

The only MINOR short-coming is that in a couple places, Kirk Douglas' acting seems a little overboard. But, considering how his performance was OVERALL, this can easily be overlooked. Also, although Van Gogh cut off most of his ear as a result of a suicide attempt, the movie accidentally SWITCHES which ear was removed--look carefully and you'll see.


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