Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954). Director: Douglas Sirk. Produced by Ross Hunter.

This Technicolor remake of the 1935 Magnificent Obsession  casts Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman in the roles originally played by Robert Taylor and Irene Dunne, and they give equally good performances. This picture turned Hudson into a major star and he was later re-teamed with Wyman in the more interesting All That Heaven Allows the following year. This has the exact same story as the 1935 film -- wealthy irresponsible playboy Bob Merrick (Hudson) turns over a new leaf after he is, in part, responsible for a beloved doctor's death, and then the accidental blinding [not Merrick's fault] of the doctor's widow (Wyman). The trouble is that this version, while very nice to look at and with fine supporting performances from Barbara Rush, Agnes Moorehead and others, is just as contrived. Although the age difference between the two leads was addressed in All That Heaven Allows, it is ignored in this picture. In smaller roles you'll find Mae Clarke, Paul Cavanaugh, and Richard Cutting of Attack of the Crab Monsters.

Verdict: Glossy and well-intentioned, but there's nothing really there. **1/2.

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