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Critics reviews
Magnificent Obsession
Douglas Sirk United States, 1954
A 1954 remake of a 1935 flick based on a 1929 book so “confused” Sirk couldn’t get through it, Magnificent Obsession is creepy where it isn’t implausible—two very sound reasons to watch, then watch again.
June 10, 2015
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Besides treating the ridiculous story with the utmost dramatic precision and visual coherence, the director lends it surprising thematic depth. Every step depends on stifled emotions and closely guarded secrets, resulting in a buildup of operatic passion that endows everyday gestures and inflections with grandeur and nobility.
June 01, 2015
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Produced in the wake of Henry Koster’s CinemaScope adaptation of Douglas’ THE ROBE, Sirk’s 1954 remake of MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION is, by any standard, an absolutely batshit movie. (It’s the kind of film where a lecture about the radical power of kindness compares the crucifixion of Christ to the act of turning on a light bulb.) It’s not so much an adaptation of Douglas as a third-hand amplification of his aura.
May 22, 2015
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Much of the commentary on his version over the years has correctly drawn attention to its use of the stock features of melodrama: the exaggerated use of coincidences in the plotting, the broadly-drawn characters, the full-on score, and so on. Sirk drew extensively on these elements throughout his career, but it’s probably accurate to say that, of all the films he made, Magnificent Obsession is where he takes them over the top.
December 23, 2014
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