I-Land is where memories and experiences turn into short stories, personal journal entries and narration in first person, part memoir, part fiction, exploring topics such as the relation between humans and the societies they live in.

Kirk Douglas: Never Forgotten

From the vaults. 2020. On the power of inspiration and legacy..

Where to begin? This man’s work on screen was an inspiration. It kept me going in bad times, giving me the energy to move forward and make things better. Detective Story, Champion, Lust For Life, Man Without A Star, Gunfight At The O.K. Corral, Paths Of Glory – the list goes on.

Remember Spartacus? Who doesn’t? His role as the rebel slave helped shape the naive child in this child viewer (I was eleven when I watched it) and his book ‘I Am Spartacus’ – on how he made the film and broke the black list – revealed the man behind the actor, the producer in times of trouble, teaching me so much about the film industry.

And then the roundabout lessons: Kirk Douglas’ fraught relationship with his son, Michael, created the kind of pressure that sent Michael into the production business, resulting in the film adaptation of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, a film that reminded me to keep my head straight and not get carried away with Ratchett-like hubris when studying psychology in college. A real life lesson.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest also turned me on to Kesey’s same-titled novel, which opened up a whole other world. Psychedelia, the summer of love, the clash between the 60s and 70s, cultures locked in battle over a world vision.

In addition, the film revealed to me how ruthless the film business was (Kirk Douglas wanted to star in the film, but when Michael acquired the rights to it he cast Jack Nicholson, to the consternation of Dad, and yet the father-son relationship endured, and more good things followed).

Then there’s The Bad And The Beautiful, starring Kirk Douglas as Jonathan Shields… There were many reasons I went into the film industry, and this here motion picture cleared a lot of things in my head, giving me much-needed focus. Still does.

This scene, for example…

…on how to tell a better story by withholding, making impressions, and going back to basics.

Always go back to basics. A new beginning awaits there, even when everything seems to be over.

Kirk Douglas, you will be missed. And will be forever part of us.