Martin Scorsese Loves Kirk Douglas

--Deadline November 15, 2019


Speaking of Scorsese, if you made the long trek up the coast to Santa Barbara last night (sadly, I couldn’t make it this year due to too many conflicts), you would have been among the lucky to see him receive the 14th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film presented by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. When this starry evening began in 2006 with Douglas attending, the veteran star was a mere 89 years old. It’s still going strong — and so is he at 102. In fact he turns 103 in less than a month on December 9. At this rate Douglas is going to outlive every one of his KD Dinner honorees. Frequent Scorsese star Leonardo DiCaprio and The Irishman co-star Al Pacino presented the award to him in an evening that also included words from SBIFF director Roger Durling and Board Chairman Lynda Weinman.

Although this evening is perfectly timed to awards campaigns, and certainly Scorsese’s latest The Irishman is in the thick of it, no one could be a better choice especially  –since you just knew that Scorsese, more than anyone else, would throw the spotlight on Douglas (who sent his best wishes and a couple of barbs on tape) and know more about the impact of this legendary actor than anyone else. In his acceptance speech, Scorsese made note of many classic Douglas films and their importance, but he pointed out interestingly that he was so obsessed by the two movies about the Hollywood film industry he starred in for Vincente Minnelli, that he had wanted to remake them. Those films are 10 years apart: 1952’s multi-Oscar-winning The Bad and the Beautiful and 1962’s Rome-set Two Weeks in Another Town. I am equally obsessed with them but had no idea until I read press reports of Scorsese’s speech that he wanted to do new versions for years and even had writers including Paul Schrader and Richard Price working on them. Scorsese said he had the gorgeous one-sheet from Bad and the Beautiful hanging on his office wall for 30 years. No one knows movie classics better than Scorsese, or has done more to preserve them, so I would give him an award just for that.