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Magnificent Obsession
1954 Jump to Synopsis and Details
 
Magnificent Obsession #1
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Magnificent Obsession #2 - Belgian
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Magnificent Obsession #4
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Magnificent Obsession #9
Magnificent Obsession #5
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Magnificent Obsession #6
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Magnificent Obsession #7
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Magnificent Obsession #8
Magnificent Obsession #3
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Magnificent Obsession #10
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Magnificent Obsession #11
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Magnificent Obsession #19
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Magnificent Obsession #25 Magnificent Obsession #13
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Magnificent Obsession #15
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Magnificent Obsession #16
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Magnificent Obsession #17
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Magnificent Obsession #18
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Magnificent Obsession #12
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Magnificent Obsession #20
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Magnificent Obsession #26
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Contributed by Daniel López
Magnificent Obsession #27
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Contributed by Daniel López
Magnificent Obsession #24
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Magnificent Obsession #14
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Magnificent Obsession #28
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Magnificent Obsession #21
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Magnificent Obsession #22
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Magnificent Obsession #23
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Magnificent Obsession #29
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Magnificent Obsession #30
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Description

Magnificent Obsession (1954) is a Universal International Pictures romantic feature film starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson. The screenplay was written by Robert Blees and Wells Root, after the book Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas. The film was directed by Douglas Sirk and produced by Ross Hunter. Sirk sometimes claimed that the story was based distantly on the Greek legend of Alcestis.

Synopsis

Spoiled playboy, Robert Merrick's (Rock Hudson) reckless behavior causes him to lose control of his speed boat. Rescuers send for the nearest resuscitator located in Dr. Phillips's house across the lake. While the resuscitator is across the lake, Dr. Phillips suffers a heart attack and dies without his resuscitator. Merrick ends up a patient at Dr. Phillips's clinic, where most of the doctors and nurses resent the fact that Merrick apparently caused Dr. Phillips's death. During this period, Helen Phillips (Jane Wyman), Dr. Phillips's young widow, receives a flood of calls, letters and visitors all offering to pay back loans that Dr. Phillips refused to accept during his life. Many of these people claimed he refused by saying "it was already used up." Edward Randolph (Otto Kruger), a famous artist and Dr. Phillips's close friend, arrives and 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.

Merrick finally discovers why everyone dislikes him. He unsuccessfully attempts to run away but collapses in front of Helen's car (she does not know his name), and ends up back at the hospital. After his discharge, Merrick tries to resume his playboy life, but pangs of guilt causes him to leave one of these parties, drunk. After running off the road, Merrick ends up at Edward Randolph's house, who recognizes him. Randolph 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 and Merrick soberly commits to becoming a doctor, trying to fulfill Dr. Phillips's legacy. He also has fallen in love with Helen and secretly helps her adjust to her blindness as a poor medical student, Robby.

Merrick secretly arranges for Helen to travel to Europe and consult the best eye surgeons in the world. After extensive tests, these surgeons tel Helen there is no hope for recovery. Right after this, Robby shows up at her hotel to provide emotional support, but eventually confesses to being Merrick. Helen has already guessed this, but agrees to marry him. Later that night, Helen realizes she will be a burden to him, and so runs away and disappears.

Many years pass. Robert Merrick is now a dedicated and successful brain surgeon who secretly continues his philanthropic acts, and searches for Helen. One evening, Edward Randolph arrives with news that Helen is very sick, possibly dying, in a small Southwest hospital. They leave immediately for this clinic. Merrick arrives to find that Helen needs a complex brain surgery to save her life. As the only capable surgeon at the clinic, Merrick performs this operation. After a long night waiting for the results, Helen awakes and discovers she can now see.

Review from Amazon.com

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.

Cast

Jane Wyman as Helen Phillips

Rock Hudson as Bob Merrick

Barbara Rush as Joyce Phillips

Agnes Moorehead as Nancy Ashford

Otto Kruger as Edward Randolph

Gregg Palmer as Tom Masterson

Sara Shane as Valerie

Paul Cavanagh as Dr. Henry Giraud

Judy Nugent as Judy

Richard H. Cutting as Dr. Derwin Dodge

Robert Williams as State Police Sergeant Burnham

Will J. White as State Police Sergeant Bill Ames

Helen Kleeb as Mrs. Eden

Rudolph Anders as Dr. Albert Fuss

Fred Nurney as Dr. Laradetti

John Mylong as Dr. Emil Hofer

Alexander Campbell as Dr. Allan

Mae Clarke as Mrs. Miller

Harvey Grant as Chris Miller

Joseph Mell as Dan (as Joe Mell)

Norbert Schiller as Julian Lang, Inter-Europa Travel Agent

Gail Bonney as Phyllis

George Brand as Doctor

Jack Chefe as Waiter

Harold Dyrenforth as Mr. Jouvet

Lance Fuller as Bar Patron

Jack Gargan as Doctor

Lisa Gaye as Switchboard Girl

Herschel Graham as Bit Role

Joy Hallward as Maid

Myrna Hansen as Bar Patron

Bob Herron as Taxi Driver

Bradford Jackson as Bar Patron

Jack Kelly as First Mechanic

Lucille Lamarr as Nurse

William Leslie as Bar Patron

Paul Levitt as Anaesthetist

George Lynn as Williams, Bob's Butler

Kathleen O'Malley as Switchboard Girl

Ray Quinn as Doctor

Lee Roberts as Joe, Second Mechanic

Greta Ullmann as Flower Saleswoman

Charles Victor as Doctor

Helen Winston as Receptionist

  
 

Directed by
Douglas Sirk 

Writing credits
Lloyd C. Douglas novel
Wells Root adaptation
Victor Heerman original screenplay
Robert Blees screenplay
Sarah Y. Mason screenplay
Finley Peter Dunne

Produced by
Ross Hunter - producer

Original Music by
Frank Skinner 

Cinematography by
Russell Metty (director of photography)

Film Editing by
Milton Carruth 

Art Direction by
Bernard Herzbrun 
Emrich Nicholson 

Set Decoration by
Russell A. Gausman 
Ruby R. Levitt 

Costume Design by
Bill Thomas (gowns)

Makeup Department
Joan St. Oegger - hair stylist
Bud Westmore - makeup artist

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William Holland - assistant director
James Curtis Havens - second unit director
Gordon McLean - assistant director

Sound Department
Leslie I. Carey - sound
Corson Jowett - sound

Special Effects by
David S. Horsley - special photography

Editorial Department
William Fritzsche - color consultant: Technicolor

Music Department
Joseph Gershenson - musical director

    

 
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