Lust for Life

One of the greatest stories on film, this is the story of painter Vincent van Gogh. Directed by Vicente Minelli in 1956, was passionately played by Kirk Douglas.

The story begins by showing us how this young man tried to find his destiny and calling by enrolling as a missionary. At first, the strict church officials reject him, considering him a clumsy, uneducated and ordinary preacher. One of them, nevertheless, kindly offers him a starting place to serve his fellowmen in a town of miners.

There, Vincent discovers his own humanity by watching these people barely survive while working hard in the pits of the earth. When he tries to reach them with the Gospel while joining them in their daily troubles, the church officials oppose his approach again and cut off his economic support.

He then, begins to search for the meaning of his life. Despite his emotional pain, he discovers painting and falls in love only to suffer rejection again. His difficult friendship with French painter Gaugin (Anthony Quinn) also takes its toll on his health. Afterwards, his isolation takes him through tragic phases of mental illness. Still, he creates a plethora of paintings the world would treasure for many years after his death.

This is a modest film from the 1950’s era. That’s why its cinematography lacks splendor compared to today’s productions, but the superb acting compensates for the fact that the paintings and the landscapes are not as colorful as they should be.

Many years after this movie was made, another young man called Don Mclean composed a song called “Vincent” that expresses very well what anyone would feel after watching this film.

8 thoughts on “Lust for Life

  1. Great post on a wonderful movie. This is one of my favorite Kirk Douglas films. Douglas’ physical style serves his portrayal of van Gogh well. He wears his pain; not only do we feel it, but we see it. Sometimes Douglas can be over the top, but here it works for him, because van Gogh was so repressed and yet he became imprisoned in throes of psychosis which caused him to act out physically.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok I sure will. I know what you mean…I watch a lot of silent movies but luckily Chaplin and Keaton movies have been remastered and most look great…before they were they were harder to watch.


  3. Make sure you watch it through a very high speed streaming service ( high quality) or a good dvd. Otherwise, the picture age really shows and distracts from the plot.
    For me, the acting here is first rate, not only Douglas but also Anthony Quinn.

    Liked by 2 people

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