LUST FOR LIFE (1956) C widescreen 122m dir: Vincente Minnelli
w/Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald, Pamela Brown, Everett Sloane, Niall MacGinnis, Noel Purcell, Henry Daniell, Madge Kennedy, Jill Bennett
Terrific film about the the turbulent personal life of artist Vincent Van Gogh, masterfully portrayed by Douglas. Anthony Quinn won his second Oscar for his performance as Van Gogh's close friend and severest critic, artist Paul Gauguin.
From The Movie Guide: "Lust for Life was optioned by MGM in 1947, but it took almost nine years before the studio finally filmed Irving Stone's immensely popular fictionalized biography of Vincent Van Gogh. ...
"LUST FOR LIFE tells a tragic story, but the portrait of Van Gogh's uncompromised genius is also inspiring. Douglas gives an appropriately fiery star turn as Van Gogh, delivering some of the best work of his career. With typical dedication, Douglas even went so far as to take extensive painting lessons for the role. Quinn, in a relatively small part, is also excellent as the moody Gauguin, who attempts to befriend his fellow genius.
"Director Vincente Minnelli fought in vain against using CinemaScope for this film, feeling that 'the dimensions of the wider screen [bore] little relation to the conventional shape of paintings.' Minnelli also felt that the candybox Eastmancolor MGM used did not offer the soft tones he needed to reproduce Van Gogh's world and art. He described the color process as being 'a brilliant mixture of blues, reds, and yellows that resembled neither life nor art.' With producer [John] Houseman's support, Minnelli hounded MGM executives into buying up all the remaining film stock from the discontinued Ansco process, and the company responded by opening a special laboratory to process his footage. Houseman and Minnelli also searched out surviving contemporaries of the great artist, visited locales when [sic] Van Gogh lived and worked, and managed to film 200 of the painter's masterworks (located around the world) without subjecting them to the dangers of standard movie lighting."
Besides the Oscar that Quinn was awarded for Supporting Actor, the film was also nominated for Best Actor (Douglas), Adapted Screenplay (Norman Corwin), and Art Direction.