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Kirk Douglas: 1916-2020

Kirk Douglas: 1916-2020

        Kirk Douglas, one of the last surviving movie stars from Hollywood’s golden age, whose rugged good looks and muscular intensity made him a commanding presence in celebrated films like “Lust for Life,” “Spartacus” and “Paths of Glory,” died on Wednesday at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 103.

1950. "Actor Kirk Douglas, half-length portrait, seated in chair, on set during the filming of Ace in the Hole, New Mexico." 35mm color transparency by Charles and Ray Eames. View full size.

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They happen in threes

We also just lost Orson Bean (2/7/20) and Robert Conrad (2/8/20). Classic tv and movies will never be the same again.

Cynical newspaper hack

In a pleasant coincidence, there is an article in The Guardian today by Vanessa Thorpe arguing that the finest role by Kirk Douglas was as the “cynical newspaper hack” in this movie. She writes: “Ace in the Hole, directed by the masterful Billy Wilder, creator of Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity, swiftly becomes a blistering portrayal of the dynamics of what we now call ‘a media circus’. Inspired by the real-life press feeding frenzy that sprang up in 1925 when a man called Floyd Collins was trapped in a Kentucky cave, the plot has Tatum (Chuck Tatum, “the restless and unprincipled reporter played by Kirk Douglas in the 1951 Hollywood classic”) taking control of the scene of a mining disaster and working it to his own ends. Quickly establishing himself inside the filling station run by a trapped man’s wife, the newshound twists the facts to suit his tale and shows no visible pangs of guilt. ‘I’ve met a lotta hard-boiled eggs in my life, but you, you’re 20 minutes,’ the wife tells Tatum in grudging awe.”

Ace in the Hole

An interesting and offbeat movie, one of the best starring Kirk Douglas. RIP

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