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Kirk Douglas in 'Before I Forget': What did the critics think?

March 9, 2009 |  2:37 pm

Kirk Douglas in 'Before I Forget'It wasn't your typical opening Friday at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

But, really, how could it be? When the star performer is the guy whom the theater’s named after, it’s safe to say that it's probably not going to be just another night out. And in this case, we’re talking Kirk Douglas — film star, television star, stage star, author, philanthropist, etc., etc. — performing in the one-man play he penned, “Before I Forget.”

In the show, staged by Jeff Kanew, Douglas shares tales about his life, work and family, intertwined with video from his long career in Hollywood.

The 92-year-old actor will be performing just two more shows this weekend.

So what did the critics think? Click on the jump to see.

--Lisa Fung

Kirk Douglas"Genuinely touching and amusing by turns, the show — special event, really — has a relaxed, moseying feel," writes Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times. "It’s as though we’ve been invited into Douglas’ Beverly Hills den to watch home movies and listen to tales from his incredible showbiz odyssey."

At Variety, Bob Verini writes, "Douglas' insights may not be deep, but they're pithy, witty and heartfelt." Also, "Most memorable are the moments of uncensored candor. The wounds of a hard-drinking, hard-nosed father, to whom his celebrity son was invisible, are as raw as yesterday."

"With irresistible charm, a sharp sense of humor and a repertoire of stories and jokes drawn from his adventures as a movie star, Douglas brings back all too briefly the magic of Hollywood," says Laurence Vittes of the Hollywood Reporter.

Over at the Orange County Register, Paul Hodgins spends much time fussing over Douglas' stamina before writing, "But despite the vicissitudes of age and debilitation, Douglas looks and sounds vigorous for his years."

Additional coverage: here and here.

Top photo: Kirk Douglas reminesces about his friend Walter Matthau in a scene from "Before I Forget." Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles TImes. Bottom photo credit: Craig Schwartz