7.1/10
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Magnificent Obsession (1954)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 7 August 1954 (USA)
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2:24 | Trailer
A rich playboy whose recklessness inadvertently causes the death of a prominent doctor tries to make amends to his widow, and falls for her in the process.

Director:

Douglas Sirk

Writers:

Lloyd C. Douglas (novel), Robert Blees (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jane Wyman ... Helen Phillips
Rock Hudson ... Bob Merrick
Agnes Moorehead ... Nancy Ashford
Otto Kruger ... Randolph
Barbara Rush ... Joyce Phillips
Gregg Palmer ... Tom Masterson
Paul Cavanagh ... Dr. Giraud
Sara Shane ... Valerie
Richard H. Cutting ... Dr. Dodge
Judy Nugent ... Judy
Helen Kleeb ... Mrs. Eden
Rudolph Anders Rudolph Anders ... Dr. Fuss
Fred Nurney Fred Nurney ... Dr. Laradetti
John Mylong ... Dr. 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! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

7 August 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Magnificent Obsession See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At 23:04-23:08 the date on the hospital board changes from Monday September 2 to Tuesday September 10. This is interesting because actress Jane Wyman would pass away on Monday September 10. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Simon & Simon: A Significant Obsession (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Consolations, S. 172 No. 3 in D flat major - Lento, placido
Written by Franz Liszt
See more »

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User Reviews

Might work for melodrama fans but did nothing for me
5 July 2006 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Bob Merrick is a spoilt, arrogant playboy who enjoys life and takes risks. When his speedboat flips at high speed he is close to death but a resuscitator is rushed to his side from the home of Dr Philips. However while it is with Merrick, Philips dies. Merrick suffers great guilt as a result of this and he tries to use his massive trust fund to make amends. Mrs Philips refuses this and Merrick sinks into self-pity. It is only a chance encounter that teaches him the idea of doing good deeds as a way of improving the world in general. When Merrick's persistence makes things worse he throws himself into a life of service with a vengeance.

Sounding a little like a melodramatic version of My Name is Earl, I came to this film having enjoyed several other Sirk melodramas and finding much to enjoy below and around the soapy, weepy plots that could have been just so much daytime TV fodder. Sadly with this film I didn't find the material that engaging, perhaps because the story is so weak (from a non-weepy type of guy's point of view). That Sirk didn't manage to make more of this film. As a result it does fall squarely into melodramatic territory (and I say that as a negative thing) because the subtext is as unsubstantial as the main plot. The story is mostly an unlikely romance that is brought about as a result of a sort of karma experience with Merrick. I didn't really get into it that much mainly because it was all so sentimental and unconvincing. Weepy fans might like it but I hazard a guess that even they may be cynical enough to have a bit of a problem with this.

Sirk's direction is as good as ever and the whole thing fits the period really well but does it without feeling dated at all. His cast are not so impressive. I've never been that taken with Rock Hudson and he falls rather flat in this turn and seemed unable to get into his character – playing it too abrupt at first and too, too, well, "Jesus" later on. Wyman didn't do it for me either and she also seemed to be suffering with the material she was served with. Support from Rush, Kruger and others all fit the genre but nobody really made that much of an impression on me.

So after a couple of reviews praising Sirk for raising his films above the melodramatic genre that he often worked in, I must confess to being left rather cold by this film. The plot was just too soapy, sentimental and unlikely that I found little of interest in it to compensate for all the syrup and weepy nonsense. Might work for melodrama fans but did nothing for me.


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