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.
He was Spartacus, of course. But the great thing about Kirk Douglas living for more than a century – with most of those years spent as a Hollywood icon and cinematic family patriarch – is we got to see him do so much more than just wield sharp weaponry in an epic adventure. (And, man, he had that down.)
Douglas, who died Wednesday at 103, was a tried-and true icon who began his epic run in the mid-1940s with films including “The Strange Love of Martha Ivers” and “Mourning Becomes Electra” and who owned the ’50s and ’60s, formed a great partnership with Burt Lancaster and earning three best-actor Oscar nominations (but never won). Douglas worked well into his twilight years, including a starring role opposite son Michael, ex-wife Diana and grandson Cameron in “It Runs in the Family” in 2003.
RTFA. It lists Brian Truitt’s idea of the five essential Kirk Douglas movies. There will more of the same, of course. My own late favorite is “Lonely are the brave”. One of the first hikes I sought out after moving to New Mexico was the Movie Trail in the Sandias. Scene of one of the most critical passages in this quiet, immensely important, film.