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Obsession (1976)

PG  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Thriller  |  13 September 1976 (Sweden)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 5,324 users  
Reviews: 53 user | 63 critic

A businessman becomes fixated upon a young woman who resembles his dead wife.

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(story), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: Obsession (1976)

Obsession (1976) on IMDb 6.8/10

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Michael Courtland
...
Elizabeth Courtland / Sandra Portinari
...
Robert Lasalle
Sylvia Kuumba Williams ...
Maid (as Sylvia 'Kuumba' Williams)
Wanda Blackman ...
Amy Courtland
...
Third Kidnapper (as Patrick McNamara)
Stanley J. Reyes ...
Insp. Brie
Nick Kreiger ...
Farber (as Nick Krieger)
Stocker Fontelieu ...
Dr. Ellman
Don Hood ...
Ferguson
Andrea Esterhazy ...
D'Annunzio
Thomas Carr ...
Paper Boy
Tom Felleghy ...
Italian Businessman
Nella Simoncini Barbieri ...
Mrs. Portinari
John Creamer ...
Justice of the Peace
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Storyline

New Orleans businessman Michael Courtland's life is shattered when his wife and daughter are tragically killed in a botched kidnap rescue attempt. Many years later whilst visiting Italy he meets and falls in in love with Sandra Portinari, who bears a striking resemblance to his wife. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The love story that will scare the life out of you See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 September 1976 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Deja Vu  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,400,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Brian De Palma in the dvd interviews, when Bernard Herrmann watched Obsession for the first time, he knew exactly how the music score would sound. See more »

Goofs

When Court and Elizabeth are briefly seen dancing to a conspicuous waltz soundtrack (roughly five minutes into the film), their movements and steps are nowhere near in the style of a waltz, clearly indicating that the scene was filmed to another music, with the waltz soundtrack added later. See more »

Quotes

Sandra Portinari: How did she die?
Michael Courtland: I killed her.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film has no end credits, other than the words "The End" in the final frame. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Oldboy (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Intriguing,dreamlike if slow romantic romantic thriller,certainly NOT just a Vertigo rip off
30 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

Obsession has been somewhat overshadowed by some of director Brian De Palma's other Hitchcock-influenced suspense thrillers like Dressed to Kill and Body Double. This is a shame,because Obsession is one of his very best. It's a very slow moving film,and requires total immersion in it's suffocating atmosphere. And it's certainly NOT simply a rip off of Vertigo.

What De Palma does is take the basic idea of Hitchcock's film-a man losing a woman and than encountering her 'double'and than spin a very different story off it. In fact,De Palma's 1984 film Body Double copies a lot more of Vertigo! Some parts of Obsession seem closer to Rebecca,and there are some obvious references {scissors from Dial M For Murder,for example}. However,Obsession is also entirely it's own film. It has an atmosphere and feel all it's own.

Although there are suspenseful bits in the film,and despite a very emphatic but appropriate score by Bernard Herrmann which in it's own way also tells the story,Obsession is a film of restraint,it's characters seeming to move in a dream,making Cliff Robertson's undoubtedly bland portrayal of the hero almost appropriate. There is a slow,balletic grace to the film. De Palma's signature show off moments are often less flashy but amongst his most brilliant,check out the scene with Robertson as he watches the creation of a mausoleum for his dead wife,and see if you notice the beautifully subtle transition to 18 years later. Some of the scenes of the heroine {a simply delightful Genevieve Bujold}in Robertson's house are extremely eerie and contain a very slow but effective 360 degree camera spin,while the flashback scenes near the end are very cleverly done-notice the way Bujold's character as an adult is put into the flashbacks when she was actually a child.

More than any other De Palma film,this has moments of pure beauty,often when film and score combine {one could write a whole review of the score itself}. One example is the scene when Robertson enters the church where he first met his wife. Vilmos Zsigmond's gorgeous photography and the quiet organ and string piece of music used create such a strong,almost ghostly atmosphere,and than Robertson sees Bujold,and she turns round in slow motion while the score's often used wordless choir plays. Beautiful.

The film's Big Twist is probably guessable,and any potentially questionable {you might consider the 'twist' in poor taste} elements are not really answered at the end. However,Obsession is a much more compassionate film than Vertigo and indeed most of De Palma's other films,which,while often brilliant pieces of cinema tend to treat it's characters like pawns to move to the next great set piece. Obsession is a very rewarding and satisfying experience it you relax and let it take over you.


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