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Magnificent Obsession, June 27

Douglas Sirk

Friday, June 27, 2003
Douglas Sirk (U.S., 1954)

The impossible plot of Magnificent Obsession becomes exponentially more impossible as the film progresses. Playboy Rock Hudson, though undeserving, lives because Jane Wyman's noble husband dies. To make matters worse, he inadvertently causes Jane's blinding in a car accident. To make matters better, he journeys to Vienna, becomes an eminent surgeon, with one goal: to make her see. Out of this, Sirk created a magnificent, obsessive, consummately ironic essay on blindness and anxiety. Ever the anguished ironist, observer of the hollowness of middle-class ideals, Sirk's idyllic color vistas might seem to callously mock his heroine's blindness. But it is us he is mocking: playing on our pity, he creates a metaphor for our fear.

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Robert Bless, based on the novel by Lloyd C. Douglas and an earlier film version by John M. Stahl. Photographed by Russell Metty. With Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead, Barbara Rush. (108 mins, Color, 35mm, From Universal Pictures)