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Magnificent Obsession (1954)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  7 August 1954 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 3,412 users  
Reviews: 52 user | 40 critic

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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(novel), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Title: Magnificent Obsession (1954)

Magnificent Obsession (1954) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Gregg Palmer ...
Paul Cavanagh ...
Sara Shane ...
Richard H. Cutting ...
Dr. Derwin Dodge
Judy Nugent ...
Judy
Helen Kleeb ...
Rudolph Anders ...
Dr. Albert Fuss
Fred Nurney ...
Dr. Laradetti
John Mylong ...
Dr. Emil Hofer
Alexander Campbell ...
Dr. Allan
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE STORY OF A WOMAN'S NEED FOR A MAN that will become one of the great emotional thrills of your lifetime!

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

7 August 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die wunderbare Macht  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'Jane Wyman (I)' appears as herself and narrates the trailer. See more »

Goofs

In early scenes of Bob Merrick boat racing on the lake, he is warned to be careful because "...it is really kicking up out there!" but we immediately see the lake and it is calm, almost without any waves at all. See more »

Quotes

Valerie: [first lines]
Valerie: Bob! Bob, take it easy!
Dr. Bob Merrick: Easy? Where's that get ya?
See more »

Connections

Remade as The Killer (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Glossy Facade Gives Way To A Studio Classic
23 July 2005 | by (Foster City, CA) – See all my reviews

Looking back on the abbreviated career of Douglas Sirk, "Magnificent Obsession" rises above being just another "woman's film" or "weepie". It actually serves as a notable turning point as it is the first in a string of Technicolor melodramas Sirk helmed at Universal-International, as well as one of his most popular. It also kick-started the malnourished career of Rock Hudson and sent his fame into another realm. Despite the film's lame-brained premise and endless implausibilities, Sirk takes the material and dishes out a sweet, moving drama that is a thinly disguised tale of Christianity.

Hudson stars as Bob Merrick, a millionaire playboy with no cares in the world. His lavish and self-serving lifestyle inadvertently leads to the death of a prominent local doctor, Wayne Phillips. Dr.Phillip's widow, Helen(Jane Wyman)tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, while at the same time resisting the advances of Bob Merrick. His persistence results in an accident in which Helen goes blind. In a convoluted and corny twist, Bob tries to redeem himself by giving selflessly to others and devoting his life to medicine to find a way to restore Helen's eyesight.

Every stereotype of every soap opera convention is used in overwhelming doses to tell the story of "Magnificent Obsession". The "alternative lifestyle" of Christianity that Bob learns is a mish-mash of psychobabble that even the most detail-oriented viewer would find boring and confusing. And the seriousness in which the actors take the material is eye-rollingly unbelievable. But this film is saved by the always-savvy direction of Douglas Sirk(who himself hated the plot)and an elegant, understated Jane Wyman who brought her own brand of sophistication to every role she played - and was Oscar-nominated for this role. Even Hudson is able to overcome his nerves in his first leading, A-list role to give a performance that is convincing. Sirk's use of reflective surfaces and a dominating color palette give this movie a look that is undeniably sheen. And Frank Skinner's classical score takes the ordinary material to an emotional level; although the choral "oohs and aahs" on the soundtrack are a bit pungent for such a quiet film. This is not Sirk's best work, but it is definitely solid enough to engage first time viewers and a must for fans of the German-bred director's work.


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