Magnificent Obsession Remastered

I just got my copy of the Criterion Collection’s two DVD set of Magnificent Obsession, containing both the 1935 and 1954 versions.  I had watched the Taylor version previously on the internet and the picture and sound quality were awful.  There were obvious gaps, as in when a person reacts to something that hasn’t happened.  So it was with some trepidation that I inserted my new disc into my laptop.  It is unbelievably good.  The picture is startlingly clear and detailed.  The sound is still not perfect but is worlds better than the other version.  Some themes were clear that hadn’t been before, for instance that Bobby Merrick is suicidal before his meeting with Randolph.  I say this based on his comments when he and Masterson are parked outside the cemetery.  Bobby says something about lying down under a blanket of grass and being at peace.  He is later shown at Randolph’s studio posed as an effigy on a bier.  Randolph’s intervention, I believe, literally saves his life.

I love Arthur Treacher as Horace the Butler.  Arthur Treacher later went on to run a school for butlers and I wonder if this is where his buttling career started.

Granted, some of the plot devices of this film are pretty hard to swallow, especially the timeline, but the fine acting, beautiful photography and top notch production values make it a pleasure.  I haven’t watched the 1954 version but the stills of people in bathing suits in living color against a beautiful lake make me think it’s pretty different.

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About giraffe44

I became a Robert Taylor fan at the age of 15 when his TV show, "The Detectives" premiered. My mother wanted to watch it because she remembered Mr. Taylor from the thirties. I took one look and that was it. I spent the rest of my high school career watching Robert Taylor movies on late night TV, buying photos of him, making scrapbooks and being a typical teenager. College, marriage and career intervened. I remember being sad when Mr. Taylor died. I mailed two huge scrapbooks to Ursula Thiess. I hope she got them. Time passed, retirement, moving to Florida. Then in 2012 my husband Fred pointed that there were two Robert Taylor movies that evening on Turner Classic Movies--"Ivanhoe" and "Quentin Durward." I watched both and it happened all over again. I started this blog both for fans and for people who didn't know about Robert Taylor. As the blog passes 200,000 views I'm delighted that so many people have come by and hope it will help preserve the legacy of this fine actor and equally good man.
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2 Responses to Magnificent Obsession Remastered

  1. Laureli Christensen says:

    In about 1974 I took a Film Criticism course at BYU. As part of the curriculum the entire class watched both the Robert Taylor (1935) and the Rock Hudson (1954) versions of *Magnificent Obsession* back to back. The 1935 version with Irene Dunn and Robert Taylor was astoundingly better than the 1954 version. You are lucky to have both copies to compare. Right now, I can’t find any copies of the 1935 version either for sale or streaming online. However, if you would ever like to know the story of *Magnificent Obsession*, and you can’t find the 1935 version with Robert Taylor, skip the Rock Hudson movie version. It’s laughable in comparison. Read the book instead– by Lloyd C. Douglas. It’s one of my all time favorite books as well!

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    • giraffe44 says:

      I love the 1935 version. I tried to watch the 1954 version and only got about 10 minutes in. It was awful, despite the fact that it made Rock Hudson a star, just as it had Robert Taylor. The chemistry between Taylor and Dunne is excellent. The supporting cast is all good, especially Betty Furness. I’ve also read and liked the book. I agree that you should read the book if you can’t find the 1935 version. The only way you can, that I know of, is the 2 DVD Criterion Collection set. Do you remember what your class’ reaction was to the two films?Thanks for writing.

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