Welcome to the Posts section of the official Kirk Douglas website. Its purpose is to let Kirk share his thoughts and activities with you, and to enable you to share your thoughts with him.

Below you’ll find links to the most recent "Reflections" and "Activities" posts.

Clicking the “Reflections” button to the left, you’ll be taken to a page where Kirk, a best-selling writer as well as a movie star, has posted his most recent thoughts and musings.

Clicking the “Activities” button, you’ll be taken to a page where you can learn about current and past goings-on in which Kirk is involved.

Clicking the "Kirk Douglas Theatre" button, you'll get the latest news about productions at the theatre, named to honor Kirk Douglas and established as the newest and most intimate of the Center Theatre Group's spaces, which include the Ahmanson and Mark Taper Theatres at the Los Angeles Music Center.

By clicking “Fan Mail,” you’ll have the opportunity to share your thoughts with Kirk.

Kirk Doulgas's new book, written with his wife Anne, Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood is now available. This link will enable you to order a copy, and have part of the proceeds go to the work of The Douglas Foundation.

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Film legend Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens, his wife of nearly sixty-three years, look back on a lifetime filled with drama both on and off the screen. Sharing priceless correspondence with each other as well as the celebrities and world leaders they called friends, Kirk and Anne is a candid portrayal of the pleasures and pitfalls of a Hollywood life lived in the public eye. 

Compiled from Anne's private archive of letters and photographs, this is an intimate glimpse into the Douglases' courtship and marriage set against the backdrop of Kirk's screen triumphs, including The VikingsLust For LifePaths of Glory, and Spartacus. The letters themselves, as well as Kirk and Anne's vivid descriptions of their experiences, reveal remarkable insight and anecdotes about the legendary figures they knew so well, including Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, the Kennedys, and the Reagans. Filled with photos from film sets, private moments, and public events, Kirk and Anne details the adventurous, oftentimes comic, and poignant reality behind the glamour of a Hollywood life-as only a couple of sixty-two years (and counting) could tell it.

A Star Is Born: Kirk Douglas turns 101 today

--Los Angeles Times December 9, 2017

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“So much of my life has been make-believe that the characters looked more real than the people around me. For years I'd do three, sometimes four pictures a year. … And what you're acting can be realer than things in your own life.”

Kirk Douglas, 1988, from his autobiography The Ragman’s Son

 

 

Hollywood Royalty! Judi Dench Meets Kirk Douglas Ahead of His 101st Birthday: 'He Is a Legend'

--People  December 6, 2017

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Hollywood royalty came together last week.

Dame Judi Dench and screen icon Kirk Douglas met for the first time ahead of Dench receiving the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Nov. 30. Since the 100-year-old actor was unable to attend, he invited Dench to his Los Angeles home the day before the ceremony.

“I will never forget this moment,” Dench tells PEOPLE of meeting Douglas in this week’s issue. “He is a legend in our family.”

The day after the two swapped stories and bonded over their shared Dec. 9 birthday — she turns 83, he hits 101 — Dench was honored in a ceremony honoring her expansive career. With over 50 tables all named after her movies, guests celebrated the screen legend as some of her past costars and leading names in Hollywood spoke in her behalf.

Tributes were given by Jeff Bridges, Armie Hammer, and her Victoria & Abdul co-star Ali Fazal, who flew over 20 hours from India to be there for her. Fazal said that one of the best pieces of advice Dench gave him was “learn your lines and don’t bump into furniture.”

Dench, for her part, was delighted with the honor, saying it was one of the “best parties I’ve ever been to.”

Santa Barbara Film Fest: 'Victoria and Abdul' Star Judi Dench Receives Kirk Douglas Award

--Hollywood Reporter  December 1, 2017

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Dame Judi Dench, the legendary British actress who is currently vying for her eighth Oscar nomination, for her performance as Queen Victoria in Stephen Frears' Victoria and Abdul, was feted with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film on Thursday night at a black-tie gala dinner.

The event, which took place at the Bacara Resort and Spa near Santa Barbara, with all proceeds going to SBIFF's free year-round educational programs, featured tributes to the 82-year-old from her admirer Jeff Bridges, her J. Edgar costar (and this season's Call Me By Your Name best supporting actor contender) Armie Hammer and her Victoria and Abdul costar Ali Fazal.

Afterwards, Dench took the stage to a standing ovation and spoke about what an honor it is to be associated with Douglas, whose entire family she once spent time with in Italy.

Dench, who will turn 83 on Dec. 9 (the same day on which Douglas will turn 101), is best known for the seven films that have brought her Oscar attention — Mrs. Brown (1997), Shakespeare in Love (1998, resulting in her one win), Chocolat (2000), Iris (2001), Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006) and Philomena (2003) — and for appearing as M in eight Bond films between 1995 and 2015.

Past recipients of SBIFF's Kirk Douglas Award, which goes "to a lifelong contributor to cinema through their work in front of the camera, behind, or both," include Douglas, John Travolta, Ed Harris, Quentin Tarantino, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Forest Whitaker, Jessica Lange, Jane Fonda and, last year, Warren Beatty.

The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival is set to run Jan. 31-Feb. 10.

‘Paths Of Glory’ - Stanley Kubrick's Anti-War Masterpiece

--The 405   November 26, 2017

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“There's a picture that will always be good, years from now. I don't have to wait 50 years to know that; I know it now". -Kirk Douglas on 'Paths of Glory', 1969.

Sixty years on, the title Paths of Glory remains as ironic as the first day this film was shown to an audience. There's no glory to be had in the 88 minute run time of Stanley Kubrick's anti-war masterpiece. It's a film that picks the audience up, spins them through a moral battlefield and then kicks them out the other side.

Kubrick was beginning to make a name for himself in the mid 1950's. His first masterpiece, 1956’s The Killing – a gritty noir crime film starring Sterling Hayden and inspired countless pretenders (Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs being one that references it) had brought him to the attention of Hollywood, despite its relative failure at the box-office.

Kubrick and his producing partner James B. Harris were set up at MGM and given a pile of scripts to sift through and find something they might want to shoot. They couldn't find anything, but Kubrick remembered a novel by Humphrey Cobb titled “Paths of Glory” that he had liked and he wanted to make into a war movie.

Kubrick hired Calder Willingham (Later famous for The Graduate) to write the screenplay, though the final credit would go to Kubrick himself, Willingham and the crime writer Jim Thompson, famous for his hard-boiled novels. Nobody at MGM had much faith in the commercial potential of the film and it eventually ended up being financed by United Artists.

The film starred Kirk Douglas, who himself had voiced concern over the commercial potential of the picture but, in his own words, “had to make it”. Indeed, Douglas's production company Bryna helped produce the film alongside Harris.

The film has a dark tone almost from the very start. In 1916, at the height of the WWI, a discussion is held between two high-ranking Generals in the French Army: George Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) and Paul Mireau (George Macready) about advancing on an Anthill – a key position that the Germans have managed to hold onto. Mireau is hesitant to begin with until he learns that if he accepts the offer, promotion is his – regardless of the result of the attack. Mireau knows that casualties will be large but sees the chance to advance his career prospects – the “Paths of Glory” title could be said to refer to this. Mireau passes the information onto the commanding officer in the trenches Colonel Dax (Douglas), who voices his concerns on how suicidal the mission sounds.

The attack inevitably fails and – on accusations of treason – three of Dax's men are forced to stand trial (portrayed by Kiss Me Deadly’s Ralph Meeker, the always interesting to watch Timothy Carey, and The Shining’s bartender, Joe Turkel) -A token amount that is suggested by Broulard. Dax himself decides to represent them in court.

What follows from there onwards is a stunning account of the follies of war and the power-grabs at the heart of the military. One that still shocks and surprises new viewers today.

The reasons for this are myriad. The stunning black and white photography is haunting and features some of Kubrick’s early attempts at his now infamous tracking shots. One particular camera move down the trenches has real significant emotional impact later on, revealing to the audience the human side of the self-centred decision that causes the soldiers to be there. The battle is beautifully shot too, showing the futile nature of attacking the position from Dax’s point of view.

When the action moves into the makeshift court room, Kubrick deliberately emphasises the distance between the soldiers and the generals via his framing. Lots of wide angle photography highlights the chasm of morality and it's clear, even more so than The Killing, that Kubrick's earlier eye for still photography has translated into cinema in an astonishing manner.

The acting is excellent too. Douglas, all clenched jaw and glaring eyes is brilliant as Dax, the moral centre of the film. When late in the film he is forced into pointing out a mistake by one of his superior officers, it's worth stating that his acting choices are emphasised by what he doesn't do or doesn't say. He's terrific here, in one of his favourite roles. McCready has most of the fun as the horrendous Mireau, a role of a cowardly superior in it all for himself and Menjou plays Broulard as an affable head teacher, quick to pass the responsibility down as long as he personally isn't implicated.

The power of the film resonates today but at the time it stood out on its own. The First World War and the decision making process behind its military operations hadn't been openly questioned in such an uncompromising manner before. Indeed, the film was banned in France – because of its obviously unflattering portrayal of the French army being regarded as an anti-French statement – for many years. The box office results were as disappointing as many feared, with the film just about breaking even on its $1 million budget, but the initial reviews were strong and United Artists were delighted.

For one person though, the film would have a personal life-long impact on their private life. That was its director, Stanley Kubrick. The film's final sequence had an emotional moment where a group of the French soldiers sit in a bar and await a show. A young singer, portrayed by Susanne Christian, as she was credited, performed a track that soon silences the room from its bawdy atmosphere and has grown men crying. It's a rare moment of emotional release in a film that's all about understatement and one of the most humane sequences Kubrick ever shot. Susanne Christian would fall in love with her director and go on to be his second wife, separated only by Kubrick's own passing in 1999.

Indeed, for her and for cinematic history, Paths of Glory leaves quite a legacy.