Magnificent Obsession. 1954. USA. Directed by Douglas Sirk. 108 min.
Screenplay by Robert Blees, based on the novel by Lloyd C. Douglas. With Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead, Otto Kruger, Barbara Rush. In Douglas Sirk’s delirious remake of a John M. Stahl adaptation, a millionaire playboy (Rock Hudson) fervently devotes himself to the widow (Jane Wyman) whose husband’s death he recklessly caused. A worshipful Rainer Werner Fassbinder noted that, for Sirk, "you can’t make films about things, you can only make films with things, with people, with light, with flowers, with mirrors, with blood, in fact with all the fantastic things which make life worth living.” Sirk’s classicism (he was an intelligent and passionate reader of Ancient Greek drama), the expressive power of his mise-en-scène and his ability to find tenderness through melodramatic artifice, made him exquisitely attuned to Technicolor’s potential for irony and tragedy. A Sight and Sound critic has also noted “Russell Metty's contrary use of Technicolor: we get deep menstrual reds, chalky blues, felt greens and tweedy greys, but mostly as spots of color on a largely monochromatic canvas.” Print courtesy of the Lowell Peterson, ASC. Collection at the Academy Film Archive; courtesy NBCUniversal.