I can't read my great book, The Yellow House..., without picturing Kirk Douglas and Anthony Quinn as van Gogh and Gauguin.
More's the shame, as I thought the 1956 movie, Lust for Life, (Vincente Minnelli, director) had some problems that I just can't get over.
This movie critic disagrees:
"Lust for Life is appropriately titled, for mere passion seems inadequate when describing this superb fictionalized biography (based on Irving Stone's popular novel) of Vincent Van Gogh. In a deservedly Oscar®- nominated performance, Kirk Douglas is physically and emotionally perfect...(He describes this movie as) this blessed project, which centers on Van Gogh's stormy friendship with fellow artist Gauguin (Oscar-winner Anthony Quinn). Minnelli used an outmoded color film process and innovative camera techniques to vividly recreate Van Gogh's paintings, and he filmed on the actual Dutch and French locations where Van Gogh's mastery flourished. The artist's lust for life also fed his madness, and this film deeply understands the fine line in between." --Jeff Shannon
Before I rant on, I will admit that I liked the movie just fine. Take Anthony Quinn as Paul Gauguin. Not bad casting, since Gauguin cast himself as a man's man, a Breton sailor-type, who had actually served as a French Naval officer. Quinn was a big man, too. Turns out that AQ was a painter and a sculptor, which is an eerie parallel to PG, who painted and sculpted.
Compare for yourself:
My problem is with Kirk Douglas being cast as VVG. Come on! Kirk Douglas is also a man's man, big and virile, even in his current and elderly condition of being crippled by a stroke. The handsome Kirk Douglas is nothing like the diminutive, stinky and ugly wretch of a man, Vincent van Gogh.
Similarities between Kirk and Vincent: KD born in Amsterdam, NY. VVG born in Holland. Both have sorta reddish hair. That's all I've got!
Note: I don't really believe the photo above is van Gogh, but it's close enough for the fun we're having here.