The life of Vincent van Gogh, from his youth among the miners in the Borinage up to his friendship with Gauguin, via his Parisian period. After often flirting with it, Minnelli tackles modern art head on. His splendid use of colour is a backdrop onto which the memorable portraits created by Douglas and Quinn are grafted. –Locarno Film Festival
Vincente Minnelli (February 28, 1903 – July 25, 1986) was a Hollywood director and stage director. His skilled integration of story, music, lighting, and design elements in a film made him the most critically respected crafter of American film musicals. With first wife Judy Garland, he was the father of Liza Minnelli.
Born Lester Anthony Minnelli in Chicago, Illinois, United States, Minnelli was the youngest surviving child of Mina Mary LaLouette Le Beau and Vincent Charles Minnelli. His father was musical conductor of Minnelli Brothers’ Tent Theater. Minnelli’s Chicago-born mother was of French Canadian descent and his paternal grandfather was from Sicily.
With his background in theatre, Minnelli was known as an auteur who always brought his stage experience to his films. The first movie that he directed, Cabin in the Sky (1943), was visibly influenced by the theater. Shortly after that, he directed Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), during which he befriended the film’s star… read more
George Cukor (July 7, 1899 – January 24, 1983) was an Academy Award-winning American film director who mainly concentrated on comedies and literary adaptations. His career flourished at RKO and later MGM, where he directed a string of impressive films including What Price Hollywood? (1932), A Bill of Divorcement (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933), Little Women (1933), David Copperfield (1935), Romeo and Juliet (1936), and Camille (1937).
His career suffered a temporary setback when he was replaced as the director of Gone with the Wind (1939), but he continued to direct classic films with The Philadelphia Story (1940), Adam’s Rib (1949), Born Yesterday (1950) and A Star Is Born (1954). His last major success was My Fair Lady (1964), but he worked into the 1980s.
He was born George Dewey Cukor on the Lower East Side of New York City, the younger child and only son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants Victor, an assistant district attorney, and Helen Ilona (née Gross) Cukor. His parents… read more
" If I'm to be anything as a painter I've got to break through that iron wall between what I feel and what I express. my best chance of doing it is here, where my roots are... the people I know, the earth I know. "
Van Gogh as vulgar auteur, castigated for his lack of form but capable of expressing things the "masters" never could. Kirk Douglas seems ill-matched for the role but doesn't play against type so much as channel that type into something boldly different. Metrocolor can't do all Minnelli needs it to here, but the impressionistic fades in and out of VG's art and the world that spawned them is sublime.
This film works in spite of the fact that it shouldn't. A film about the life of Van Gogh shouldn't have been made during the 50s in the Hollywood system when it couldn't be told as gritty or real as other film eras would allow and it shouldn't have starred an alpha male movie star like Douglas as the frail, sensitive artist. Yet the film works annd Douglas gives one of his best performances.