Kirk! UCLA Film Archive kicks off sweeping centenary celebration

KIRK DOUGLAS

Would not dream of missing Friday’s opening night — or viewing many of the 25 film titles featured therein — of UCLA Film & Television Archive’s centenary retrospective for actor Kirk Douglas (b. 1916). In his 60-year career he appeared in 90 movies, so claims Wikipedia. The massive movie star still lives among us.

Kirk Douglas: A Centenial Celebration blasts onto the big screen of the Billy Wilder Theatre, in living color, with Vincente Minnelli’s wrenching Vincent Van Gogh biopic, “Lust for Life.

The acclaimed movie, a passion project of Minnelli’s, forged a signature role for Douglas. The actor’s unstinting portrayal of the artist-as-tortured-genius garnered a Golden Globe award as well as an Oscar nomination.

Series curator Shannon Kelley, speaking by phone, notes that the Douglas canon tours the work of A-list (primarily American, often auteur) Hollywood directors. Along with several by Minnelli (Lust for Life, The Bad and the Beautiful, Two Weeks in Another Town), the retrospective spools films by Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks, King Vidor, Stanley Kubrick, Michael Curtiz, Lewis Milestone, Jacques Tourneur and more.

Kirk Douglas: A Centenial Celebration | UCLA Film & Television Archive | opens July 8, runs thru September

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