Kirk Douglas

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Kirk Douglas Pencil Portrait
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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


A3 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase

A4 Pencil Print-Price £30.00-Purchase

*Limited edition run of 250 prints only*

All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.

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Last update: 20/11/18

The archetypal Hollywood movie star of the postwar era, Kirk Douglas built a career with he-man roles as soldiers, cowboys and assorted tough guys in over 80 films. His restless, raging creations earned him three Academy Award nominations for Best Actor and one Golden Globe win for his portrayal of Vincent van Gogh in “Lust for Life” (1956). But besides his lasting mark as a seething strong man with a superhero-like head of hair and the most famous dimpled chin this side of Shirley Temple, Douglas was a Tinseltown innovator and rebel. As one of the first A-listers to wrest further control of their career by founding an independent production company, he also effectively ended the 1950s practice of blacklisting Hollywood talent suspected of communist ties when he insisted on crediting famed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo for his script adaptation of “Spartacus” (1960).

I can barely believe it, but he’s now a sprightly 102 years of age and perhaps best sums up the secret of his longevity himself:

“Age is in the mind. I’ve survived a helicopter crash and back surgery. i have a pacemaker. i had a stroke that almost made me commit suicide. But I tell myself, I have to continue growing and functioning. That’s the only antidote for age”.

Researching Kirk’s life, I was drawn off-course – as indeed I often am – by the desire to research an unusual aspect to his appearance; namely that famous dimpled chin of his. I have one myself and to be perfectly honest, I’ve never really thought very much about it. When I was little, my mother would inform me that the angel had applied a finishing touch to my face just seconds before I was born – a late artistic flourish many unluckier individuals did not benefit from. Nowadays I read that a chin dimple makes a person unique because it appears like an imperfection on the chin area. It makes you remember them no matter what they do. Okay, I can live with that!

Recommended viewing

Ace in the hole (1951)

Paths of Glory (1957)

The Vikings (1958)

Last train from Gun Hill (1959)

Reuniting the core team from “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” (1957), including producer Hal Wallis, director John Sturges, cinematographer Charles Lang Jr., and composer Dimitri Tiomkin – “Last Train from Gun Hill” (1959) is a crackling western in which Douglas excels as the uncompromising Marshall Matt Morgan, a man determined to find the culprits who raped and murdered his sioux wife.

Morgan’s attempt to bring the murderer to justice is the focus of the action, and Carolyn Jones as Belden’s abused mistress adds another dimension to the human drama. Tiomkin’s score—largely based on an unused song—is colorful and melodic in the composer’s trademark western style.

One of my earliest introductions in life to that old proverb – ‘Blood is thicker than water,’ Anthony Quinn is the heartbroken father, at once torn in two over his friend’s bereavement yet resolute in his love for his errant son.

Douglas and Quinn convey the inevitability of a modern Greek tragedy, Carolyn Jones delivers impressively, and Earl Holliman is most effective and sympathetic as the weakling son.

A superior western in every sense of the word.

Strangers when we meet (1960)

It has its detractors and its screenplay is a distinctly slow burn, but in many ways this movie is a near perfect encapsulation of Eisenhower’s cold war suburban America, before the onset of Vietnam, student riots and the love generation; a time when middle class values were synonymous with prosperity and a “feel good “ factor.

Douglas is Larry Coe, an award winning architect professionally stifled by his pragmatic wife Eve (Barbara Rush) who is determined to make her husband focus on more marketable, straightforward work than the adventurous design projects he craves. Breaking out long enough to accept a commission to design and construct a unique house for the successful writer Roger Altar (Ernie Kovacs) on the top of a hill, Larry’s home based consultancy work affords him the time to safely chaperone his children onto the school bus each morning whereupon his eyes light upon Margaret ‘Maggie’ Gault, a beautiful blonde mother of one sexually neglected by her husband Ken, who lives in the same neighborhood. Rebuffing his initial overtures, she is nonetheless impressed by his work and they begin a clandestine affair.

Watching on with keen interest is his oily neighbour, one Felix Anders (another superb turn from Walter Matthau), who doesn’t believe in love but understands opportunism. His clumsy attempt at seduction leaves Eve in tears just prior to her husband’s return home and despite the inevitable rain soaked altercation in which Larry punches him to the ground, it’s patently obvious that he cannot take the moral high ground. The lovers are left to decide between their emotions and respect for their families.

Luxuriate in the location shots of Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Santa Monica, and Malibu, and bemoan the overlong running time, yet “Strangers when we meet” still has much to commend it, including Novak in a role perfectly suited to her onscreen fragility, the thought provoking implied sex, and Kirk’s smouldering repression. The beautiful colour photography and art deco designs embue the movie with great period charm. A diverting near two hour experience, perfectly suited to a rainy sunday afternoon.


Seven days in May (1964)

Based on the novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey, director John Frankenheimer fashions a superb cold war thriller about a right-wing general’s attempt to start a military coup against the President of the United States.

The project had the approval of JFK who had personally read the novel, and strongly encouraged the movie to be made. Accomodating to the end, Kennedy arranged his schedule so that he and the First Family would be in Hyannisport for a weekend, leaving Frankenheimer with a free hand to film a mock parade outside of the White House between pro and anti-disarmament treaty protestors. This opening scene establishes a Cinéma vérité quality to the movie with hand held closeup shots, as they ultimately clash with the police.

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