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Magnificent Obsession (The Criterion Collection)

Jane Wyman , Rock Hudson , Douglas Sirk    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Frequently Bought Together

Magnificent Obsession (The Criterion Collection) + Written on the Wind (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection) + Criterion Collection: All That Heaven Allows [Blu-ray]
Price For All Three: CDN$ 98.37

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Product Description

Reckless playboy Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson, in his breakthrough role) crashes his speedboat, requiring emergency attention from 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. Thus begins one of Douglas Sirk’s most flamboyant master classes in melodrama, a delirious Technicolor mix of the sudsy and the spiritual in which Bob and the doctor’s widow, Helen (Jane Wyman), find themselves inextricably linked to one another amid a series of increasingly wild twists, turns, trials, and tribulations. For this release, Criterion also presents John M. Stahl’s 1935 film version of the Lloyd C. Douglas novel, starring Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor.


Rock Hudson became a beefcake star playing a self-absorbed, thrill-chasing millionaire playboy in the first of Douglas Sirk's glossy Technicolor melodramas. In a classic example of the wicked machinations of soap opera fate, Hudson's showboating antics kill the most saintly man in motion-picture history and stalk his newlywed widow (Jane Wyman), driving her into an accident that leaves her blind. The kindly attentions of a bohemian painter and part-time guardian angel help turn Hudson's life around, and he rejects his irresponsible lifestyle and dedicates himself to his new "magnificent obsession" of philanthropy and good deeds, meanwhile romancing Wyman in a sincere, soft-spoken voice and with a phony name. Magnificent Obsession was a huge success and established a style Sirk would refine through the 1950s, reaching a baroque peak in Written on the Wind and culminating with what may be his most successful and most famous film, Imitation of Life. Compared to his later successes, this is arch and flat, lacking the ironic edge and luscious style of his best films, but it's an exceedingly handsome production in bold, bright colors where swooning romance and life-saving operations define life as an emotional roller coaster of mythic proportions. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars LUSH, ROMANTIC, WONDERFUL May 1 2001
Format:VHS Tape
While there may be some elements that are slightly unbelievable (the widow doesn't recognize immediately the voice of the man who blinded her and whose carelessness resulted in her husband's death even though she'd met him before? When she finds out, she actually not only forgives him his deception but falls in love with him?) this is nevertheless a fine, romantic, lush production of an equally fine novel. Many boast about Rock Hudson's performance and it is excellent. His transformation from a selfish, spoiled millionaire's son to a caring neurologist who woos and wins Jane Wyman's character is totally believable. But, to me, it is Jane Wyman who steals the show as the afflicted, blinded widow Helen Phillips. She is totally believable as a newly blinded woman who somehow comes to terms with the fact that she probably will never see again. And the supporting cast, especially Otto Kruger as the philosophical artist is also excellent. And, speaking of philosophy, the book on which this movie is based has a definite, important message which comes through loud and clear without hammering us in the head or preaching at the viewer. The message is not lost in translation to the screen although that often happens when a book is made into a movie. These elements, combined with the spectacular color, lush music and beautiful scenery help to make "Magnificent Obsession" a typical, wonderful, old-fashioned 3-hankie "woman's picture." It's nearly 50 years old but it's still a marvelous rainy-day picture that will uplift and delight any woman who views it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still a MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION Dec 25 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This is a beautiful film directed by Douglas Sirk. It contains extraordinary color cinematography (Sirk's trademark) by Russell Metty expressing Sirk's awe-inspiring and unsettling vision. Otto Kruger gives an inspiring performance in a secondary roll. A beautiful film and one of my favorites!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Of course it's predictable Sept. 16 2001
Format:VHS Tape
A previous reviewer described this film as predictable. Of course it is, it is part of the genre. I thinks she misses the point completely. It is a romance, a saga, and of course it must have a happy end. It goes without saying.
It is my first Sirk, I taped it a couple of weeks ago and saw it today. It felt like going back to the films I saw when I was young. And I loved it, The lush Technicolor, the beautiful sets, the lovely costumes together with some fine acting, a well written script and a lovely melodrama. I cannot think of a better way to spending a boring Sunday than laying in my sofa watching this brilliant entertainment.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable Dec 22 1998
Format:VHS Tape
A wealthy playboy's carelessness causes tragedy. Determined to make amends by doing good works, he gradually undergoes a transformation of character and attains his heart's desire.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie (remember its from another era)!!! Feb. 11 1999
Format:VHS Tape
Loved the movie and though it was predictable, you got to remember it was from another time. The acting was great and Jane Wyman was spectacular and lovely as always.
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