In the beginning of his legendary career, Kirk Douglas (1916 – ) b. Issur Danielovitch, was almost typecast as a well-meaning but ineffectual husband in two fine films, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, 1946, and A Letter to Three Wives, 1949. But his career ascended into mega-stardom when he played cynical heroes motivated by rage: Champion, 1949, Ace in the Hole, 1951, The Bad and the Beautiful, 1952, Paths of Glory, 1957, Spartacus, 1960, and his favorite picture, Lonely Are the Brave, 1962,
Douglas was never a conventional leading man. Though handsome as a fairy tale prince, he wielded his masculine beauty like a weapon. There was none of the gruff, working class charm that made Gable the King. Douglas was not an urbane gentleman like William Powell, nor a witty charmer like Cary Grant.
Kirk Douglas excelled at playing, in his own words, “sons of bitches.”
On Passover, Jews around the world recite a passage from the Haggadah that strikes a note both poignant and defiant.
In every generation they [our enemies] rise up against us to destroy us, but the Holy One Blessed Be He saves us from their hands.
But Judaism does not place faith in faith alone. Man is born with free will and G-d expects us to exercise that free will in order to do what is right.
Jewish law holds—as does common sense—that it is incumbent to strike preemptively at your enemies before they attack you. Because Jewish history shows with Newtonian certainty that when people threaten to kill Jews — they mean it.
Our IslamoNazi enemies in Tehran have made it quite clear that they intend to annihilate the Jewish State. Barack Obama has, at the same time, made it even more clear, that he couldn’t care less about Israel or the Jewish people. To this doctrinaire Marxist who has made common cause with Jew-haters for his entire academic and political career, Israel is just an annoying and illegitimate neocolonial outpost in the Middle East.
In every generation they rise up.
The surprise is that the American people and 74% of American Jews rose up and freely elected one of our bitterest foes.
A few photos to enjoy over the next few days.
We continue our survey of the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1960s.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s, click here.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1940s, click here.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1930s click here.
For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1920s click here.
2. Spartacus, 1960
He wanted Hur.
More than anything, Kirk Douglas yearned to play Ben Hur. But director William Wyler had another actor in mind for Hollywood’s most coveted role. Adding insult to injury, Wyler offered Douglas the mustache-twirling role of Hur’s enemy, the villainous Messala. His pride wounded, Kirk Douglas refused to play a supporting role — not even to Charlton Heston, Hollywood’s supernova star.
Years later, Douglas confessed: “That was what spurred me to do it [Spartacus], in a childish way—the ‘I’ll-show-them’ sort of thing.”
Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovich Demsky, an impoverished Jewish kid who remained angry and resentful of authority his entire career.
We continue our survey of the twenty greatest movies of the 1950s.
For a complete listing of the greatest movies of the 20, 30s and 40s, click here.
4. Ace in the Hole, 1951
A hand-embroidered motto, “Tell the Truth” sits as a dusty epitaph on the newsroom wall of an inconsequential Albuquerque newspaper where Kirk Douglas, a cynical New York reporter, hustles a job.
Sent out to cover a local rattle snake hunt, Douglas stumbles on a man trapped inside a cave, and turns it into a “human interest” story that explodes on the national scene and becomes — entertainment.