The Forgotten Films of Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas is clearly a movie icon, one of the last few Hollywood giants left, and a real movie STAR. After such glorious feats as Champion, Paths of Glory, Gunfight at the OK Corall and Spartacus, Douglas found a new home in sci-fi/horror films as his career progressed. I've taken a look at these little scene forgotten Kirk Douglas gems.

Dr. Jekyll & My. Hyde (1973)
Everyone from Anthony Perkins to David Hasselhoff has played the titular roles in various adaptations of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novella. However, it's the made for television adaptation starring Kirk Douglas that I find one of the most memorable. One thing the film does perfectly, is set up the atmosphere of Victorian London which feels as though it's been lifted from a Hammer film. It sounds like a strange role for Douglas, but somehow it works - he may not have the best singing voice but it makes for a very bizarre and entertaining watch. And guess what? It's on Youtube, so you can sit back and enjoy this forgotten classic.

Holocaust 2000 (1977)
This is unashamedly an (Italian produced) Omen rip-off with Douglas starring as a business executive in charge of a nuclear power plant, who discovers his son is the anti-christ who plans to wipe the world out with this nuclear power. I'm not going to lie and say this is better than The Omen but it's still excellent. The film is chocked full of the atmosphere you'd expect from 70s Italian horror and a cast of well established British and Italian stars (From Simon Ward and Anthony Quayle to Agostina Belli and Adolfo Celi). My one criticism is the inclusion of Kirk Douglas love scene, nobody wants to see a 61 year old man rolling about on top of a 30 year old woman.

The Fury (1978)
Possibly the most well-known of all of the films on the list, due to it being one of Brian DePalma's directorial efforts. The film like DePalma's prior feature, Carrie, once again sees the subject of telepathic powers come into question. This time however, we see a government agent who's telepathic son is kidnapped by a secret US agency. This is highly original piece from DePalma featuring his trademark suspense combined with several elements of ultra-violence. Douglas brings a credibility to the role and it's a joy to see him work with DePalma.

Saturn 3 (1980)
Of all the films featured, this is the most critically slated, nominated for several Razzies. I love the movie purely because it's such a mess, which should comes as no surprise seeing as the main plot elements are - space station + evil horny robot + love triangle. This again, features some intimate scenes between the now 64 year old Kirk and this time the young Farrah Fawcett - which isn't pretty. Considering, the cast features the acting talents Douglas, Fawcett and Harvey Keitel it's still a wonderful hot mess.

The Final Countdown (1980)
Are these getting more ridiculous as we progress? The Final Countdown follows a modern aircraft carrier, transported through time to just before the attack on Pearl Harbour. So the answer to my first question would most definitely be yes. Douglas acts his heart out as the ship's commander and is joined by Martin Sheen. Katharine Ross & James Farentino. The Final Countdown also acknowledges the consequences of changing history, and really feels way ahead of it's time.

How's that? Five forgotten classics that are worth checking out for the incomparable Mr. Kirk Douglas.

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