Magnificent Obsession

Magnificent Obsession

DVD - 2008
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Reckless playboy Bob Merrick crashes his speedboat, requiring emergency attention and the use of the town's only resuscitator--at the very moment that beloved local Dr. Phillips has a heart attack and dies waiting for the life-saving device. Bob and the doctor's widow, Helen, find themselves inextricably linked amid a series of increasingly wild twists, turns, trials, and tribulations.--Container.

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a
akirakato
Feb 03, 2015

DISC 1 includes "Magnificent Obsession" made in 1954 directed by Douglas Sirk; DISC 2, "Magnificent Obsession" made in 1935 directed by John M. Stahl.
The story is based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Lloyd C. Douglas.
Both films are more or less the same, but I like the 1954 version better simply because the speadboat scenes are so exciting.
After her husband death, Helen Phillips receives a flood of calls, letters and visitors all offering to pay back loans that Dr. Phillips refused to accept repayment of during his life.
Many claimed he refused by saying "it was already used up."
Edward Randolph, a famous artist and Dr. Phillips's close friend, explains to Helen what that phrase means.
This helps her to understand why her husband left little money, even though he had a very successful practice.
One night, Merrick ends up at the home of Edward Randolph, who explains the secret belief that powered his own art and Dr. Phillips's success.
Merrick decides to try out this new philosophy.
His first attempt causes Helen to step into the path of a car while trying to run away from Merrick's advances.
She is blinded by this accident.
Merrick soberly commits to becoming a doctor, trying to fulfill Dr. Phillips's legacy.
Although it sounds pedantic, the story turns out interesting and fascinating.

n
Nursebob
Jan 29, 2015

When ill-mannered millionaire playboy Bob Merrick (a convincingly hetero Rock Hudson) crashes his racing boat the paramedics tie up the town’s only resuscitator in order to revive him. Of course this is the exact time that the saintly Dr. Phillips, local hero and benefactor, decides to have a heart attack and dies for want of the same resuscitator. Overcome with guilt, Merrick becomes haunted by the good doctor’s memory whether it’s in the form of a half-finished portrait, or his widow’s accusing stares (Jane Wyman, beautifully victimized). His desperate attempts to make amends inadvertently lead to yet another disaster which leaves the poor woman permanently blinded. This is when he becomes involved with a mysterious friend of the Phillips family who indoctrinates him into a secretive mystical order; apparently when the late doctor was not busy walking on water he made a cult out of tapping into the power of the universe by doing anonymous good deeds. As he woos the blind widow using an assumed identity, Merrick decides to turn his life around and devote himself to the betterment of others; he even returns to medical school and graduates with honours. But can he ever repay his debt to the woman he loves? Sirk has outdone himself with this sudsy weeper. It is awash with rich vibrant colours, impassioned performances and a lush musical score complete with heavenly choir. His odd mixture of romantic melodrama and Christian voodoo may not always gel, but he embellishes it with so much froth you hardly notice. I suppose you could read all sorts of meaning into the film’s outrageous plot: how blindness takes many forms from the physical to the metaphysical; how averting one’s eyes from the baser trappings of human nature leads to a clearer spiritual vision; or how our sense of reality changes when familiar elements are removed from their usual context. There is certainly enough symbolism in Sirk’s use of shadows, doorways and windows and he wraps it all up in so much religious hocus-pocus, including a mock witch-burning. I chose to watch it as a magnificently overdone soap opera instead, and as such it was pure joy!

m
mellietells
Feb 28, 2013

I found the 1952 version very earnest, and though i enjoyed the acting, the story was leaden, and too serious.

Even though I did not like the story all that much I decided to watch the older version, starring Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor. MUCH better! Story just as lame, but the humour that was put into it was most welcome. The actors generally seemed more at ease in their roles. i would give it a higher rating, but the other version doesn't deserve it.
Melanie

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