Magnificent Obsession (1954)


“Smash up somebody’s car when you’re drunk and write out a check. Get in a mess with a showgirl and write out a check. And when a man dies, write out a check to his widow. Account paid in full. ” – Helen

Number of Times Seen – 1 (1 Dec 2019)

Brief Synopsis – A reckless man tries to find a way to make his life more meaningful which gets complicated as he pursues the widow of a doctor who’s death he accidentally caused.

My Take on it – This is yet another film that I had never heard of before coming across it during my quest to watch all films that have garnered Oscar nominations for its acting performances.

The overall premise is an intriguing one but the way that the story is presented just doesn’t work well enough and things are mediocre despite such a great cast.

Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman are both great actors but only Hudson plays his character realistically enough.

He is perfectly cast as a reckless playboy which matches the persona that he reflected both on and off screen.

Wyman tho fails to make us believe her character and all that she experiences here.

Her performance is too over the top and fails to be effective enough.

She was somehow nominated for an Oscar for her work here which is quite surprising.

The chemistry between these two stars is almost non-existent and that also takes away from the realism of the story.

The plot itself starts off in a very sappy manner and only finds a way to redeem itself towards the end.

Unfortunately tho, the narrative goes to some very strange and silly places along the way where things happen much too conveniently and that hurts things even more.

Bottom Line – Interesting idea that doesn’t work as well as one would hope especially given the cast. Hudson is perfectly cast in the lead role and makes us believe the recklessness of his character. Wyman on the other hand plays her character too over the top which doesn’t manage to be effective enough. She was somehow nominated for an Oscar for her work in this film despite this. The chemistry between the two of them fails to feel realistic and that hurts things even more. The story starts off a bit too sappy and redeems itself later on even though the narrative gets a bit too silly due to the convenience of how things play out.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Jeff Chandler turned down the role of Bob Merrick because he thought the story was too “soppy”. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)

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One thought on “Magnificent Obsession (1954)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Actress – Oscars 1954 | MovieRob

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