Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-5830 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- JVC RS-46 Projector
- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
Obsession: Collector's Edition
Brian De Palma is a legendary director, and having one of his long lost films finally make it state side is always a treat. For region free fans we’ve been able to import the Arrow release since 2011, but for those fans who don’t import, Scream Factory has picked up the license and transferred the same great video and solid audio masters over, and added their own bit of flair to the cover art and even included some really in depth interviews and commentary tracks to fill out Collector’s Edition status (although they DID drop the thick booklet with the original script that was on the Arrow release).
The year is 1959. Successful entrepreneur Michael Courtland (Cliff Robertson) is celebrating his tenth wedding anniversary with a lavish party when the unthinkable happens. His wife Elizabeth (Bujold) and his daughter are kidnapped and a ransom note for half a million dollars is left behind (which in 1959 was a small fortune). Michael is all ready to pay the money when the chief inspector for New Orleans butts in and decides to run the show. Unfortunately the inspector and his men botch the job and the whole ransom goes south, ending with Michael losing his wife and daughter.
16 years later, still mourning the loss of his wife and daughter, Michael and his business partner Bob (John Lithgow) decide to take a trip to Florence Italy where Michael runs across a painter who is restoring part of a chapel named Sandra (Bujold), who is the spitting image of his wife Elizabeth. Smitten with Sandra and what she represents to him, Michael begins seeing the young woman (against the advice of Bob) and soon the two are married (again, with reticence from Bob, who is told to shove off). First comes love, then comes marriage, and then comes an exact replica of 16 years ago, as Sandra is kidnapped and a $500,000 ransom note is left for him.
One of the main reasons that De Palma is able to give off such an authentic Hitchcock vibe to Obsession is his choice of musical director. He chose longtime Hitchcock collaborator Bernard Herrman into crafting the score, and the results are jaw dropping. It makes the film seem so much more modern, yet so very very familiar at the same time. The harsh reverberating music is mixed in very hotly, as if to mimic the crushing tones that are going on within Michael’s head as he panics and tries to find Sandra. It’s the perfect choice for a man who has been described as the modern Alfred Hitchcock, and De Palma makes sure Herrman doesn’t just mimic Hitchcock, but makes the score (and subsequently the film) his own.
While Cliff Robertson is the star of the film, the tow iconic characters that just stand out are John Lithgow and Genevieve Bujold. Lithgow is gloriously hammy, chewing up the scenery with a giant mustache and acting the whole southern businessman schtick. It’s hilariously fun and Lithgow just rolls with it. However, he’s only second best to Bujold, who really steals every scene that she’s in (and according to the special features Robertson was actually intimidated by her due to how fantastic she was at everything). She’s gorgeous, demure, shy, yet so approachably innocent that you fall in love with her as much as Michael does.
The only problem with the film is the middle act. It gets a bit dull and flat as De Palma explores a few too many sub plots that just don’t go anywhere fast. These could have been trimmed quite a bit and the main story would not have suffered at all in my opinion. It’s not a great problem, but it’s the only reason that I didn’t score this a 4/5 or even a 4.5/5. That middle act has always been a flaw in the film, and it still does to this day.
Rated PG By the MPAA
• NEW Producing Obsession – an interview with producer George Litto
• NEW Editing Obsession – an interview with editor Paul Hirsh
• Obsession Revised – vintage featurette featuring interviews with director Brian De Palma, Cliff Robertson and Genevieve Bujold
• Theatrical Trailer
• Radio Spots
• Still Gallery
Obsession is one of the Brian De Palma’s middle of the road films, but even a middle of the road De Palma film is still definitely worth a watch. The film is tense, tightly woven, but has a bit of lull during the center act where De Palma could have truncated certain sections of the film to make a more even pace. The Scream Factory release is the first domestic release we’ve gotten of the film, although it was released by Arrow in England in 2011. The Scream Factory Collector’s Edition brings over the same video transfer as the Arrow release, but adds a new commentary and a few nice interviews to add to the special features categories. Definitely worth checking out.
Starring: Cliff Robertson, Genevieve Bujold, John Lithgow, Sylvia Kuumba Williams, Wanda Blackman, J. Patrick McNamara
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Written by: Brian De Palma, Paul Schrader
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA Mono
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Scream Factory
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 15th, 2019
Recommendation: Solid Watch