When churlish, spoiled rich man Bob Merrick foolishly wrecks his speed boat, the rescue team resuscitates him with equipment that's therefore unavailable to aid a local hero, Dr. Wayne ... See full summary »
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When churlish, spoiled rich man Bob Merrick foolishly wrecks his speed boat, the rescue team resuscitates him with equipment that's therefore unavailable to aid a local hero, Dr. Wayne Phillips, who dies as a result. Phillips had helped many people, and when Merrick learns Phillips' secret, to give selflessly and in secret, he tries it in a ham-handed way. The result further alienates Phillips' widow, Helen, with whom Merrick has fallen in love. Merrick's persistence causes another tragedy, and he must remake his life, including going back to medical school, in an attempt to make amends and win her love. Written by
Magnificent Obsession is an overly melodramatic soap opera blessed with some good actors who cannot rise above the script. If you listen to this movie without watching the picture, it is easy to hear the horrible music, the overly dramatic phrasing, and the silly dialogue. Everything is just too earnest.
What really makes this film as loser though is the premise upon which the story is constructed--that everyone has a destiny. And that you cannot fulfill that destiny unless you help others without acknowledgement.
Helping others without extracting credit for it is a noble aim. Everyone should aspire to it. But by saying that you will get what you want via your destiny if you follow this noble path, it undercuts the message, by rewarding the giver. Also, the concept of destiny, as expressed in Christian terms in the film, is nothing more than mumbo jumbo. Too bad they didn't advocate giving for the sake of doing something nice for someone. Or solely because it is the right thing to do.
For those who think of Rock Hudson only in terms of his partnerships with Doris Day, a film like Magnificent Obsession might be an eye opener. But he played plenty of meatier roles with better scripts, e.g. Giant.
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