blackbird's two minute movie review: Magnificent Obsession

I haven't done one of these in a while but that doesn't mean we haven't been watching movies.
Last night we watched the first hour of the second Sherlock Holmes movie again for the fifth or sixth time. We know how to have fun.
But, the night before, we stumbled upon this old gem after missing the first 15 minutes or so. No matter, it's a good one, starring Jane Wyman before she was married to the president and Rock Hudson before he was gay and takes place in one of those towns on a lake in California where swanky people hang around.
Apparently, in the part we missed, Rock had been dicking around on the lake in his speedboat and crashed and was resuscitated using the only machine they had on the lake - which was bad news for Jane, who's husband, a local doctor, was having a heart attack and died because the machine was on the other shore saving Rock.
When we tuned in, Rock was in the hospital in silk pajamas, smoking and yelling at people on the phone, completely oblivious to his luck and Jane's husband's misfortune. She was across the hall receiving visitors who tell her what a good man he was and how he did such kind things for them in such a mysterious way, keeping these deeds a secret.
Get the picture? Rock is a total douche and Jane is the widow of a saint.


He's such a jerk he actually tries to put the moves on her. She graciously deflects him even though he's kind of date rape-y and through a series of unfortunate events, Rock falls in love with her and is eventually the cause of an accident which results in her becoming blind. (In the old days, in movies, you could be hit by a car, not have a mark on you, but go blind.)

Meanwhile, Rock has gone on a bender and been rescued by a kindly old gent with sprayed-on gray hair who talks about Jane's dead husband and how he was involved in the practice of doing good deeds secretly. There's a lot of heavenly choir music. Even though he makes it sound like a cult-like devotion to good things, Rock realizes he's been a jerk for years and decides he can win Jane's grieving heart if he does good stuff RIGHT AWAY.


Sadly, that's when the accident happens. Right after Rock gives some poor shlub two hundred dollars because his baby died, BAM, Jane gets hit by a car and is blind. Expecting immediate results for his generosity, Rock is torn up.

But, in an even creepier move, he realizes that since Jane can't see him, he can pretend to be some guy named Robbie and win her over.

It works!


This is Jane in her blind-person retro sunglasses before they were even RETRO.
She falls for Rock, he isn't such a dick anymore, and he even arranges for her to go to Switzerland to see the eye doctor...because that's where people went when they were really, really sick in the old days: Switzerland.

Things don't go so well on her trip, though, and after what seems like a year of complicated tests (can you see THIS LIGHT? NO?!) Jane has to break it to him. She's still blind.


And, in a move right out of An Affair To Remember, she decides to have Agnes Moorehead take her away forever, so she's not a burden.


As you can plainly see, Agnes is up for the job.

This is successful for years, whilst Rock realizes that quitting medical school back when he was a dick was a mistake. He becomes a doctor, just in time, I might add, and you may have guessed, as Jane is in a hospital in New Mexico (in the old days, swanky people hid out in New Mexico) and needs emergency surgery.
Of course, there is no doctor in New Mexico who can perform such surgery, and Rock is (just a little) inexperienced.
Miraculously, in a completely bloodless procedure, with just a bit of sweat on his brow, and that old guy from the beginning, who taught him about doing good watching from the amphitheater along with the choir of angels, Rock manages to perform brain surgery.


Will Jane wake up?
Will she realize that the doctor who saved her was the same asshole who was not only responsible for her husband's death but also her blindness?
Will she forever have to "dance with her eyes closed?"

I leave it to you!
It is a Magnificent Obsession.


L.P. said…
Thank you, thank you! You provided some much-needed laughter. At first I was getting this one confused with The Magnificent Ambersons (looks like Agnes Moorhead was in that one, too. Lady got around).

In any case, you need to make movie reviews a (more)regular feature. Pretty please? *whines*

Terese said…
I remember catching part of this movie one afternoon only watched the beach scenes as I too thought Rock was being a jerk. Finally I know the title of the film and what is happening. Thanks for that. I get the impression that my parents and movie goers at the time were into long plots. Naturally Jane Wyman was nominated for an academy award for her role. As you would expect; as even today the nominations go to women who transform their acting through adverse characters.
Anonymous said…
Oh, the melodrama! I love movies of this genre.
Great review, bb :)

Paola said…
And why you ever stopped giving us these priceless reviews is unknown to me.
Please resume, if you can.

Popular Posts