MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954) C 108m dir: Douglas Sirk
w/Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Barbara Rush, Agnes Moorehead, Otto Kruger, Gregg Palmer
Attention Douglas Sirk Fans! This film marked the first truly successful (both artistically and financially) film Sirk directed in the U.S. His pairing of Hudson (then a little-regarded stock "actor") with Wyman was inspired; it marked the real beginning of Hudson's career. MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION also set the stage for the melodramas that Sirk made in the 1950s that would gain such acclaim for him a couple of decades later when his work was rediscovered. It is not Sirk's best film (that honor goes to, arguably, ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS which has the same two stars and was made as a direct result of this film's success), but it is the one that enabled him to jump with both feet into the genre that gave him the best venue for his particular sensibilities. As such, it is particularly important to his oeuvre .
From Variety 's review of the film: "The same inspirational appeal which marked the 1935 making of Lloyd C. Douglas' bestseller is again caught in this version of Magnificent Obsession , with Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson undertaking the roles previously enacted by Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor. It is a sensitive treatment of faith told in terms of moving, human drama which packs emotional impact.
"As megged by Douglas Sirk from Robert Blees' moving and understanding screenplay [adaptation by Wells Root, based on the 1935 screenplay], the Ross Hunter production, impressively mounted, commands dramatic attention. Characters become alive and vital and infuse spiritual theme with a rare sort of beauty.
"Hudson is the rich playboy responsible for Wyman's blindness who renounces his past existence to devote himself to study and work, hoping as a surgeon to cure her.
"Film takes its title from the 'magnificent obsession' which possessed a doctor for whose death Hudson is indirectly responsible."
Wyman was nominated for an Oscar for her work.