Magnificent Obsession

Film

Drama

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Time Out says

Sirk directed a number of films which say an awful lot about '50s America. A European who saw Americans more clearly than most, he found, in the 'women's weepies' producers often gave him, a freedom to examine contemporary middle class values. This one (from a novel by Lloyd C Douglas) has a preposterous plot: playboy Hudson takes up medicine again after being indirectly responsible for the death of a philanthropic doctor and directly responsible for his widow's blindness. Assuming the dead man's role, Hudson starts practising the same kind of secretive Christianity, but has to resort to an alias to win the widow herself. Sirk turns all this into an extraordinary film about vision: sight, destiny, blindness (literal and figurative), colour and light; the convoluted, rather absurd actions (a magnificent repression?) tellingly counterpointed by the clean compositions and the straight lines and space of modern architecture. Sirk's films are something else: can Fassbinder even hold a candle to them?
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Release details

UK release:

1954

Duration:

108 mins

Cast and crew

Art Director:

Emrich Nicholson, Bernard Herzbrun

Cinematography:

Russell Metty

Screenwriter:

Robert Blees

Producer:

Ross Hunter

Director:

Douglas Sirk

Cast:

Paul Cavanagh, Rock Hudson, Barbara Rush, Jane Wyman, Agnes Moorehead, Otto Kruger

Editor:

Milton Carruth

Music:

Frank Skinner

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