Peter Ustinov once testified that the making of Spartacus took so long that although his daughter Andrea had only just been born at the outset of filming, by the time the film was completed she was responding to queries at school as to what her father’s job was with the answer, ‘Spartacus’. When one considers that the eventual director was none other than goggle-eyed Stan Kubrick, never to garner for himself the nickname ‘One Take Stan’, this seems less than surprising. The first director was Anthony Mann, soon to take his revenge for being bumped from this epic by being responsible for the age-spanning The Fall Of The Roman Empire. To be fair to Kubrick, he did have to contend with some of the most monstrous egos ever to have occupied the planet, some of them, like Charles Laughton’s, visible from space. Laurence Olivier did his bit on the self-obsession front too, and doubtless Tony Curtis would have been attempting to claim his place amongst the big apes as well. The biggest ape of them all was principal star Kirk Douglas, magnificent as the title character, though Laughton – managing to be peutlant, oily and sympathetic with the same character and often all at the same time – is also superb. One of the more entertaining of the woolly blanket genre, this is notable for the excellent cast, workable story and last gasp of Kubrick as a watchable director.Read More
Posts Tagged With 'Kirk Douglas'
“Gooooot a whale of a tale to tell you lads, a whale of a tale or two-oo…” Kirk ‘snails’ Douglas steals the show – just – against heavy opposition from James Mason, Paul Lukas and Herbert Lom in this Disney version of Verne’s classic from the days when the words ‘Disney version’ meant something quite good and weren’t a prelude to nausea. So much to see here; the attack on the ships, the dinner, the penal colony, the giant squid, Ocalina Fagiolina…the list goes on.Read More
The main source of mirth with this being, of course, Martin Amis’ notorious dabbling in sci-fi scripting. Not sure if he was aping his dad on this one (who was more a ghost story man really, although our investigations into lost Republic movie serial Kingsley Of The Rocket Men remain inconclusive), but the results speak – stiltedly – for themselves. Farrah ‘something for the dads’ Fawcett and Kirk ‘something for the grandmothers’ Douglas farm that soya stuff those Usborne books told us we’d all be eating all the time by now, play unconvincing minimalist chess and go jogging in gossamer leisurewear until Harvey Keitel turns up with top-heavy brain-in-tank tin-squeezing behemoth Hector, and man vs. machine fun ensues. At least, it does if you play TV Cream’s patented Spot Ed ‘UFO’ Bishop game.Read More
Hmm. Nuclear power station owner Kirk Douglas suspects his son to be the Antichrist, who’s after the controls to the carbon rods for a bit of millennial meltdown mayhem. Cue loads of half-bothered anti-nuclear sentiment, some stock symbolism about the book of Revelations and a crucial equation looking vaguely like ‘Jesus’ written backwards, a bizarre nightmare sequence wherein the power station rises from the sea and turns into a bunch of grinning dragons in back-projected Supermarionation, some fun proto-Silence of the Lambs asylum set design, a rather nifty top-of-head-meets-chopper-blade death for a visiting dignitary, Douglas getting his kit off and being kicked about a padded cell, and some rather nasty stuff about abortion. This Anglo-Italian co-production effortlessly blends all that’s ludicrous about both nation’s horror traditions into one demented whole. But the laughs are mainly on Kirk Douglas. Especially whenever he’s acting ‘outraged on humanity’s behalf’, or pantless.Read More
Kirk ‘snails’ Douglas is the captain of the Nimitz, a bloody great aircraft carrier which encounters a special effect (a laser light with dry ice round it) and finds himself, his ship and his crew in the way of the attack on Pearl Harbour. Just to add a little extra confusion they stumble across Charles ‘Rollerboys’ Durning, a senator who has just had his yacht shot up by the Zeros and wants to warn the government. But that would change history wouldn’t it? Or should they intervene? Or shouldn’t they? And what will they do with Durning? And why have you got a ship named after an admiral that’s still alive? Where’s that tape…Read More