7.1/10
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Magnificent Obsession (1954)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 7 August 1954 (USA)
Trailer
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 »
Reviews
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 ... 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:

HERE IS A LOVE STORY that will become one of the deepest 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Magnificent Obsession was an early starring role for Hudson, and, according to Wyman, he was very nervous. Some of his scenes had to be re-shot thirty or forty times, but Wyman never said a word. Reportedly, years later at a party, Hudson ran into Wyman and said, "You were nice to me when you didn't have to be, and I want you to know that I thank you and love you for it." See more »

Goofs

17 minutes in: When the cab pulls up in front of Brightwood Hospital to drop off Tom, the shadow of the microphone boom is clearly visible on the hood of the vehicle. See more »

Quotes

Valerie: [first lines]
Valerie: Bob! Bob, take it easy!
Dr. Bob Merrick: Easy? Where's that get ya?
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Connections

Referenced in Dil Ka Rishta (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
The Glossy Facade Gives Way To A Studio Classic
23 July 2005 | by Michael27-1See all my reviews

Looking back on the abbreviated career of Douglas Sirk, "Magnificent Obsession" rises above being just another "woman's film" or "weepie". It actually serves as a notable turning point as it is the first in a string of Technicolor melodramas Sirk helmed at Universal-International, as well as one of his most popular. It also kick-started the malnourished career of Rock Hudson and sent his fame into another realm. Despite the film's lame-brained premise and endless implausibilities, Sirk takes the material and dishes out a sweet, moving drama that is a thinly disguised tale of Christianity.

Hudson stars as Bob Merrick, a millionaire playboy with no cares in the world. His lavish and self-serving lifestyle inadvertently leads to the death of a prominent local doctor, Wayne Phillips. Dr.Phillip's widow, Helen(Jane Wyman)tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, while at the same time resisting the advances of Bob Merrick. His persistence results in an accident in which Helen goes blind. In a convoluted and corny twist, Bob tries to redeem himself by giving selflessly to others and devoting his life to medicine to find a way to restore Helen's eyesight.

Every stereotype of every soap opera convention is used in overwhelming doses to tell the story of "Magnificent Obsession". The "alternative lifestyle" of Christianity that Bob learns is a mish-mash of psychobabble that even the most detail-oriented viewer would find boring and confusing. And the seriousness in which the actors take the material is eye-rollingly unbelievable. But this film is saved by the always-savvy direction of Douglas Sirk(who himself hated the plot)and an elegant, understated Jane Wyman who brought her own brand of sophistication to every role she played - and was Oscar-nominated for this role. Even Hudson is able to overcome his nerves in his first leading, A-list role to give a performance that is convincing. Sirk's use of reflective surfaces and a dominating color palette give this movie a look that is undeniably sheen. And Frank Skinner's classical score takes the ordinary material to an emotional level; although the choral "oohs and aahs" on the soundtrack are a bit pungent for such a quiet film. This is not Sirk's best work, but it is definitely solid enough to engage first time viewers and a must for fans of the German-bred director's work.


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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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