Alphabetical Movie – Last Train from Gun Hill
Kirk Douglas, guys. Just look at the guy!
He’s a manly man if ever there was a manly man! The dude is almost 100 and has had a stroke and he still could kick my ass. Of course, I’m pretty sure my eight year old could kick my ass.
Don’t tell him that….
The think about Kirk is that he never tried to be macho. He just was.
In Last Train from Gun Hill, he spends most of the movie barely containing his rage over the murder of his wife. You have the feeling that at any moment he’s going to lose control and destroy everything and everyone in a town that seems dead set on not giving a shit.
He never does lose control, though, and that makes him so much more dangerous.
That’s Kirk Douglas for you. He’s a seething ball of pent-up manliness just itching to unleash himself.
The definition of manliness has changed over the years and that is a shame. I enjoy Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Willis but they represent a new brand of manliness. One that, quite frankly, Kirk Douglas would defeat with nothing but an icy stare and the silent implication that he was going to fuck their shit up.
If there was a modern equivalent of Kirk Douglas’ brand of manliness, I think it’d probably be Jason Statham. Like Douglas, you know that Statham is a badass long before he ever proves it.
The difference being, Statham will eventually unleash his inner badass. Because he needs to do that. Douglas never needed to unleash the badass. He only did it if he had to.
Paths of Glory is a great example of Douglas bottling up that manly rage and never letting it loose. At any point in the movie, you honestly believe that Douglas could end World War I on his own.
Without a gun.
He would just end it with his macho mystique.
But he doesn’t.
Because he has seen that humanity is not deserving of rescue. They must be punished in flame and blood. Kirk Douglas has pronounced them unworthy. They shall not be saved.
There are times when that manliness could be a challenge. Take his performance in Lust for Life. Yeah sure he was nominated for an Oscar and it was a great performance but it was still Kirk Douglas. So you watched him play Vincent Van Gogh with the scary thought that at any moment, he was going to jam a paintbrush through someone’s eye.
Because they deserved it.
He’s older now. The lustre of his manliness may have faded just a little bit. I don’t think it would be wrong to say that he might have lost a step.
But I’m not going to tell him that.