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Magnificent Obsession

Whoa! Fast boat!

I think this may be the last Rock Hudson/Jane Wyman Douglas Sirk movie I haven’t seen before? (This is a Criterion blu ray.)

But there’s a whole bunch of Sirk movies I haven’t seen yet. I’ve only seen, like, one third of those? Why doesn’t somebody release a Sirk box set? Hop to it!

Movies like this raise unrealistic expectations for hairdo preservation while driving convertibles!

Hospitals were nice in those days…

But this restoration is rather odd. Were there problems with the source material? The graininess isn’t unusual, but there’s er chromatic aberrations in a lot of the scenes. That is, sometimes there’s a shimmery orange outline that’s floating around…

Hm, it says here in the liner notes that it was created from an interpositive, so I guess the negatives were lost? (Or in bad shape.) An interpositive is copied from a negative to create new negatives, so it could theoretically be second generation.

So the plot is that Wyman’s husband (who was a total saint) died because Hudson (who was a total asshole) bogarted the life-saving equipment. So I’m guessing Wyman is going to end up marrying Hudson? That’ll be a properly melodramatic melodrama.

Hah! I knewed it!

Is that Agnes Moorehead? She’s wonderful, anyway.


Oh, is this some cult movie? Seems like the good doctor was the leader of a do-gooder cult of some kind…

Wow, this isn’t going where I thought at all. I mean, it is, but not in the particulars.

This is the creepiest movie I’ve ever seen! I mean, the plot is satisfyingly preposterous, but like wow. It’s all gaslighting, but the guy doing the gaslighting is… the hero?

I guess it’s a bit ambiguous whether we’re supposed to go “aww” or “what’s the number for 911!”, but it’s… it’s creepy. I suspect Sirk is aiming for the latter?

Suddenly a scene that’s all fuzzy… I mean, image quality wise.

I’d never have guessed that a Sirk movie could be too over-the-top, but this is?

I’m not sure. It’s beautifully shot, and with very enjoyable performances from everybody involved, especially Hudson and Wyman, of course. It’s enjoyable to watch. But it’s not one of Sirk’s better movies, in my opinion. It’s just a bit to leaden, and the payoff isn’t as magnificent as this obsession seems to warrant.

Magnificent Obsession. Douglas Sirk. 1954.

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