IMDb > Magnificent Obsession (1954)
Magnificent Obsession
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Magnificent Obsession (1954) More at IMDbPro »

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Magnificent Obsession -- Classic love story involving a man who falls for the woman who's husband's death he is indirectly responsible for

Overview

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7.1/10   3,374 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Lloyd C. Douglas (novel)
Robert Blees (screenplay)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Magnificent Obsession on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 August 1954 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
THE STORY OF A WOMAN'S NEED FOR A MAN that will become one of the great emotional thrills of your lifetime!
Plot:
When churlish, spoiled rich man Bob Merrick foolishly wrecks his speed boat, the rescue team resuscitates... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
User Reviews:
A magnificent obsession indeed See more (52 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jane Wyman ... Helen Phillips

Rock Hudson ... Bob Merrick

Agnes Moorehead ... Nancy Ashford

Otto Kruger ... Edward Randolph

Barbara Rush ... Joyce Phillips
Gregg Palmer ... Tom Masterson
Paul Cavanagh ... Dr. Henry Giraud
Sara Shane ... Valerie Daniels
Richard H. Cutting ... Dr. Derwin Dodge
Judy Nugent ... Judy
Helen Kleeb ... Mrs. Eden
Rudolph Anders ... Dr. Albert Fuss
Fred Nurney ... Dr. Laradetti
John Mylong ... Dr. Emil Hofer
Alexander Campbell ... Dr. Allan

Mae Clarke ... Mrs. Miller
Harvey Grant ... Chris Miller
Joseph Mell ... Dan (as Joe Mell)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gail Bonney ... Phyllis (uncredited)
George Brand ... Doctor (uncredited)
Jack Chefe ... Waiter (uncredited)
Harold Dyrenforth ... Mr. Jouvet (uncredited)
Lance Fuller ... Bar Patron (uncredited)
Jack Gargan ... Doctor (uncredited)
Lisa Gaye ... Switchboard Girl (uncredited)
Herschel Graham ... Bit Role (uncredited)
Joy Hallward ... Maid (uncredited)
Myrna Hansen ... Bar Patron (uncredited)
Bob Herron ... Taxi Driver (uncredited)
Bradford Jackson ... Bar Patron (uncredited)

Jack Kelly ... First Mechanic (uncredited)
Lucille Lamarr ... Nurse (uncredited)
William Leslie ... Bar Patron (uncredited)
Paul Levitt ... Anesthetist (uncredited)
George Lynn ... Williams - Bob's Butler (uncredited)
Kathleen O'Malley ... Switchboard Girl (uncredited)
Ray Quinn ... Doctor (uncredited)
Lee Roberts ... Joe - Mechanic (uncredited)
Norbert Schiller ... Julian Lang - Inter-Europa Travel Agent (uncredited)
Frederick Stevens ... Cafe Owner (uncredited)
Amzie Strickland ... Luncheon Guest (uncredited)
Greta Ullmann ... Flower Saleswoman (uncredited)
Charles Victor ... Doctor (uncredited)
Will J. White ... State Police Sergeant Bill Ames (uncredited)
Robert Williams ... State Police Sergeant Burnham (uncredited)
Helen Winston ... Receptionist (uncredited)

Directed by
Douglas Sirk 
 
Writing credits
Lloyd C. Douglas (novel)

Robert Blees (screenplay)

Wells Root (adaptation)

Sarah Y. Mason (based upon the screenplay by) and
Victor Heerman (based upon the screenplay by)

Finley Peter Dunne  uncredited

Produced by
Ross Hunter .... producer
 
Original Music by
Frank Skinner 
 
Cinematography by
Russell Metty (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Milton Carruth 
 
Art Direction by
Bernard Herzbrun 
Emrich Nicholson 
 
Set Decoration by
Russell A. Gausman 
Ruby R. Levitt 
 
Costume Design by
Bill Thomas (gowns)
 
Makeup Department
Joan St. Oegger .... hair stylist
Bud Westmore .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Edward Dodds .... unit production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William Holland .... assistant director
James Curtis Havens .... second unit director (uncredited)
Gordon McLean .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Leslie I. Carey .... sound
Corson Jowett .... sound
 
Special Effects by
David S. Horsley .... special photography
 
Music Department
Joseph Gershenson .... musical director
 
Other crew
William Fritzsche .... technicolor color consultant
Jack Daniels .... dialogue director (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
108 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.00 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
Australia:PG | Finland:S | Sweden:Btl | UK:U | USA:Approved (PCA #16853, General Audience) | West Germany:12

Did You Know?

Trivia:
'Jane Wyman (I)' appears as herself and narrates the trailer.See more »
Goofs:
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): 23 minutes in: The sign behind the reception desk at the hospital gives the date as "Tuesday September 10". But just a few seconds later, when Bob writes the $25,000 check to the hospital, he dates it September 17.See more »
Quotes:
Valerie:[first lines]
Valerie:Bob! Bob, take it easy!
Dr. Bob Merrick:Easy? Where's that get ya?
See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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39 out of 46 people found the following review useful.
A magnificent obsession indeed, 14 March 2005

My unashamed love for the films of Douglas Sirk may be described as an obsession, but it is to me, of course, a magnificent obsession. My attempts to influence others as to Sirk's genius have mostly failed. He's a director whose work you either get, or not. Those who view his works as camp masterpieces are very much missing the point. What is intrinsic in works of camp is the end product being appreciated in a manner that the creator had not intended. However, every camera angle of each frame, every nuance, indeed every color in every shot is totally intentional in all of Sirk's major films.

"Magnificent Obsession" is far from Sirk's best work, but it is perhaps his most important. Though he had made films in many genres, it was "All I Desire", his 1952 melodrama that paved the way for what would become his special place in cinema history. In the often ridiculed genre of so called "woman's movies", Sirk discovered there was great scope for artistic expression as well as social criticism and much more in this apparently vacuous genre. "Magnificent Obsession" is the first film in which this vision is realised.

To understand why this happened at all one must remember that Sirk was under a long term contract with Universal throughout the fifties, when they were by all accounts an inferior studio. As an European immigrant in need of work, Sirk signed to Universal, with the full understanding of the type of projects that would be offered to him. His intellectual and rich theatrical background would be put to use in clearly inferior material. When asked about this, he gave the example of how many of Shakespeare's plots are weak and uninteresting in themselves; it's the language that makes them art. Sirk was a master of cinematic language in all its aspects. The plots of his movies are often truly abysmal, but the language always pure joy to behold. "Magnificent Obsession" is a prime example of the abyss between screenplay and the cinematic language employed.

After reading the script of "Magnificent Obsession", Sirk called the plot "crazy" and did not want to make it. But as a contracted director, he had little sway with the studio heads and was persuaded, as always, to make the movie. It should be noted that he never had a bad word to say about Universal, even after he left Hollywood. He fully understood the contract he had made and simply made the best of his situation. It should also be noted that he gave Universal some of their greatest commercial successes of the decade, and created for them a star leading man, something they were in desperate need of. That star was Rock Hudson. "Magnificent Obsession" was Hudson's breakthrough film. He made eight films together with Sirk.

The magnificent obsession in question is the quest for spirituality; not exactly high on the agenda of materialistic, picture perfect, upper class American society of the fifties. Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson) is a shallow, womanizing, heavy drinking, spoiled playboy. The movie charts his journey towards spirituality. He is guided on this path by an older intellectual artist, Edward Randolph (Otto Kruger). Many critics have noted the physical similarities between Kruger and Sirk himself. It's almost irresistible to develop this notion. It is Randolph who despite Merrick's crass behavior perceives a potential for greater things and leads him towards self fulfillment.

Similarly it was Sirk who first spotted Rock Hudson's star potential. Under his guidance and direction, Hudson would in a matter of two to three years, become one the most popular actors in Hollywood. Having worked closely on eight films, it would seem absurd that Sirk was not aware of Hudson's homosexuality. This did not deter Sirk, (who himself was not gay). Moreover it fits well with his fascination for what he termed "split characters". It's the embodiment of fifties picture perfect appearance shielding a very different reality that is central to much of Sirk's work.

Edward Randolph quietly removes himself when he realises his protégé has finally found his new self. His work is done. While Hudson was no heavyweight in the acting stakes, under Sirk's direction he gave some very respectable performances, "Magnificent Obsession" amongst his best. His post Sirk career would soon take him to Doris Day territory, a far cry from the likes of "Written on the Wind", "Tarnished Angels" and "Battle Hymn".

All of Sirk's films are worth taking a close look at, particularly from "Magnificent Obsession" onwards. There are a handful of directors who so well grasped the possibilities of film making and possessed the know how in using the many elements that make up this art form.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Magnificent Obsession (1954)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Jane Wyman is NOT beautiful katiewon
Horrible match for a couple liquidbabydoll-391-515328
Why is 'Dr. Merrick' Shirtless in the O.R.?! sshistory
Dr Randolph's Obsession? miriamwebster
Who was the Barbara Rush character? pouncemo
Rant about Dr. Phillips ncmoviefan
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