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Magnificent Obsession (1935)

The life of spoiled rich Robert Merrick is saved through the use of a hospital's only resuscitator, but because the medical device cannot be in two places at once, it results in the death ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Mrs. Nancy Ashford
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Tony
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Doctor Ramsay
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Horace
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Alyce Ardell ...
The French Maid
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Dr. Preston
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Butler
Arthur Hoyt ...
Perry
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Ruth
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Storyline

The life of spoiled rich Robert Merrick is saved through the use of a hospital's only resuscitator, but because the medical device cannot be in two places at once, it results in the death of Dr. Hudson, a selfless, brilliant surgeon and generous philanthropist. Merrick falls for Hudson's widow, Helen, though she holds him responsible for her husband's demise. One day, he insists on driving her home and makes a pass at her. She gets out of the car and is struck by another car, she then goes blind. Merrick then talks to a friend of Dr. Hudson who tells him that her husband had a philosophy-to help people, but never let it be known that you are the one helping them. Only then, he believed, could there be true reward in life. Merrick watches over Helen, and visits her during her recuperation, concealing his identity and calling himself Dr. Robert. When he finds out that she is nearly penniless, he secretly pays for specialists to try to restore her vision. Finally, she travels to Paris ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

medical | based on novel | See All (2) »

Taglines:

Hate turned into love! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

30 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le secret magnifique  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 26, 1937 with Robert Taylor and Irene Dunne reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

When operating on Helen's eyes, Merrick asks for an otoscope. He should have asked for an opthalmoscope, which is what he was using. An otoscope is for ears. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Robert Merrick: Help? You mean give them money?
Randolph: Money is alright since you have so much of it but there are other kind of help just as good but whatever help you give it must be in absolute secrecy that the world must never know and you must never let anybody repay you.
Dr. Robert Merrick: You mean, if I'd go out and help people secretly that would establish that "contact" you speak of?
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Connections

Featured in The Universal Story (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played under the opening credits
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User Reviews

 
The magnificent theory.
2 October 2001 | by See all my reviews

The Sirk excellent remake has overshadowed Stahl's version nowadays.That's certainly unfair,because the latter was a pioneer of the melodrama who would peak with "leave her to heaven" ,ten years later.Stahl 's version,in stark black and white is certainly not as palatable as the 1953 movie and its gaudy technicolor.

Randolph's character seems more important in Stahl's version.His theory is certainly moving:You've only got what you give and you should not expect any award.Merrick tries to apply this theory,first because he wants to seduce the wife of the philanthropist/doctor who indirectly died because of him,because he was an alcoholic playboy.He has not really understood what Randolph tried to explain to him.The scene with the hobo comes as a comic relief,which is terribly needed in such a dark yarn.When ,as leaving the poor man,Merrick thinks he's got some divine reward,he's completely mistaken.A Christian movie,"magnificent obsession" sure is,as Randolph,in his second scene ,mentions the Christ. After all,his theory is not that much far from that of James Stewart's guardian angel in "it's a wonderful life".

Unlikelihoods are here there and everywhere,but it's the rules of melodrama.The story ,which includes death,blindness,moral and physical redemption,is not more far-fetched than westerns and thrillers plots.And life is so strange that it can turn sometimes into the most implausible melodrama;and like it or not,not necessarily with a happy end.


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