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
I am a Douglas Sirk devotee and regard him as one of the screen's more underrated directors. Having said that, I regard "Magnificent Obsession" as a bit much, even for Sirk. I like Sirk because, even though he is a master of soapers, he is more than that. His films contain social commentaries that are often biting, and they often contain good character studies. In this preachy film the social commentary is absent and the characters are one dimensional. But I can forgive all this because the acting is good--Wyman, Kruger, and Moorhead are excellent--and Sirk showed that Rock Hudson could act if properly directed. This was Hudson's breakthrough film. But the music is almost too much to bear! I have never heard such wretchedly maudlin, and loud, movie music in my life. The heavenly choruses in the background are shameless. In spite of all this, however, it is all quite entertaining. 7/10
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