6.9/10
697
20 user 13 critic

Magnificent Obsession (1935)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 30 December 1935 (USA)
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 »

Director:

John M. Stahl

Writers:

Sarah Y. Mason (screenplay), Victor Heerman (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A selfish playboy enamored by a woman he seems to hurt more than he intends begins to understand a deeper meaning to their relationship.

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A re-editing of Gone to Earth (1950) after a disagreement and court case between director Michael Powell and producer David O. Selznick. Selznick's changes are mainly:- (1) Adding a ... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A respected grocery shop employee in Prague is covering up for her manager's misconduct with whom she is having an affair; however, things will get complicated when a thorough auditor pays a visit.

Director: Jirí Weiss
Stars: Anne Heywood, James Booth, Rudolf Hrusínský
Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Drummond leads a black-shirted platoon of men from his former unit against foreign interlopers trying to pull England into dangerous overseas entanglements.

Director: Walter Summers
Stars: Ralph Richardson, Ann Todd, Joyce Kennedy
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A meek milquetoast of a clerk is mistaken for Public Enemy #1, and the notorious killer takes advantage of the situation.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Jean Arthur, Arthur Hohl
Gone to Earth (1950)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A beautiful, superstitious, animal-loving Gypsy is hotly desired by a fox-hunting squire even after she marries a clergyman.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Stars: Jennifer Jones, David Farrar, Cyril Cusack
Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Three refugees become sworn brothers during a war. One (Kuo Chui/Philip Kwok) works in a whore house, one (Chiang Sheng) in a gambling house, and the other (Lo Mang) in a martial arts ... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang
Stars: Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok, Meng Lo, Sheng Chiang
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Romance and heartbreak walk hand-in-hand when Philip Chagal accidentally meets Helen Lawrence in a restaurant where she is a waitress. Unhappily married to a woman who suffers from mental ... See full summary »

Director: John M. Stahl
Stars: Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Barbara O'Neil
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Without sound, in three movements. Title cards declare that what a person likes and his manner of liking them reveals character. There are long looks at forms and rhythms. The film begins ... See full summary »

Director: Henwar Rodakiewicz
Certificate: Passed Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An eccentric woman learns she is not dying of radium poisoning as earlier assumed, but when she meets a reporter looking for a story, she feigns sickness again for her own profit.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Charles Winninger
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Police Lieut. Candella, longtime friend of the Rome family, walks a tightrope in the case of cop-killer Martin Rome.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Victor Mature, Richard Conte, Fred Clark
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In this gothic rendition of the classic fairy tale, a merchant's youngest daughter is held prisoner by a mysterious winged beast.

Director: Juraj Herz
Stars: Zdena Studenková, Vlastimil Harapes, Václav Voska
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Irene Dunne ... Helen Hudson
Robert Taylor ... Robert Merrick
Charles Butterworth ... Tommy Masterson
Betty Furness ... Joyce Hudson
Sara Haden ... Mrs. Nancy Ashford
Ralph Morgan ... Randolph
Henry Armetta ... Tony
Gilbert Emery ... Doctor Ramsay
Arthur Treacher ... Horace
Beryl Mercer ... Mrs. Eden
Alyce Ardell ... Elise
Theodore von Eltz ... Dr. Preston
Sidney Bracey ... Butler
Arthur Hoyt ... Perry
Cora Sue Collins ... Ruth
Edit

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

Taglines:

After You See It You'll Never Be the Same! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

30 December 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le secret magnifique See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"Screen Director's Playhouse" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 13, 1949 with Irene Dunne reprising her film role. 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

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.
Robert Merrick: You mean, if I'd go out and help people secretly that would establish that "contact" you speak of?
See more »

Alternate Versions

All prints now in circulation run 102 minutes. See more »

Connections

Version of Magnificent Obsession (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played under the opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
laugh all you want, but this story did wonders for a farm kid and a truck driver
16 January 2013 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

"Magnificent Obsession" is a 1935 film starring Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor; it was remade in the '50s in Technicolor and starred Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson. The story is preposterous, the melodrama is over the top, but this film gave both Taylor, a farm boy from Nebraska and Hudson, a truck driver from Illinois, their big breaks.

Robert Merrick (Taylor) is a drunken playboy who, one afternoon, falls off his sailboat and has to be resuscitated with the use of what's called in this film a "pulmotor," a device that forces oxygen into the lungs.

Unfortunately, the pulmotor was needed across the lake for an older man, a Dr. Hudson, who has had a heart attack, but because one isn't available, the man dies. When his wife (Dunne) and daughter (Betty Furness) arrive home, they get the horrible news. There is bitterness everywhere because Dr. Hudson was beloved, a fine doctor and an exceptional man, and Merrick is a drunken, rich loser.

At one point, Merrick meets a man (Ralph Morgan) who gives him the secret philosophy that Dr. Hudson lived by and taught him - give anonymously and without expecting repayment.

When Merrick spots Mrs. Hudson, he has no idea who she is and tries to pick her up. One day, he offers her a ride and "runs out of gas." As she's leaving the car to take a ride with someone else, a car hits her and she is badly injured - in fact, she's blinded.

Merrick now befriends her in the park, where she sits practicing her Braille. He doesn't identify himself - she calls him "Dr. Robert"; he tells her that he once had aspirations to be a doctor himself. He arranges for her to have a steady income, since Dr. Hudson gave most of his money away and only has worthless stocks - she thinks her husband's copper stocks are now worth a lot -- and then he arranges for some of the finest doctors in the world to meet in Paris and study her. She thinks it's because her husband was so highly regarded. Alas, the prognosis is that the doctors see no point in surgery. It goes on from there, assuming fabulous aspects.

This kind of melodrama was extremely popular in the 1930s; director Douglas Sirk loved this type of film and remade some of them in the '50s, giving them big, glitzy productions, and made some new ones as well.

Though today the plot seems ridiculous, because of the commitment and likability of the actors and the spiritual undertone that goes throughout the film, somehow one doesn't stop watching, and it sure worked well in 1935 and 1954.

Robert Taylor is gloriously handsome, known for his perfect profile, resonant speaking voice, and charming presence. I have never considered him much of an actor, but he was my mother's favorite, and I watch him every time he's on TCM in her honor. He holds the record for being employed by a studio the longest - 24 years with MGM, until it dissolved, and went on to more films, a successful television show, and he replaced Ronald Reagan on Death Valley Days.

Irene Dunne gives a lovely performance without histrionics or being overdone in any way.

Good movie? For what it is, yes.


0 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 20 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed