6.9/10
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Magnificent Obsession (1935)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 30 December 1935 (USA)
The life of spoiled rich Robert Merrick is saved through the use of a hospital's only resuscitator, but because the medical device cannot be in two places at once, it results in the death ... See full summary »

Director:

John M. Stahl

Writers:

Sarah Y. Mason (screenplay), Victor Heerman (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Irene Dunne ... Helen Hudson
Robert Taylor ... Robert Merrick
Charles Butterworth ... Tommy Masterson
Betty Furness ... Joyce Hudson
Sara Haden ... Mrs. Nancy Ashford
Ralph Morgan ... Randolph
Henry Armetta ... Tony
Gilbert Emery ... Doctor Ramsay
Arthur Treacher ... Horace
Beryl Mercer ... Mrs. Eden
Alyce Ardell ... Elise
Theodore von Eltz ... Dr. Preston
Sidney Bracey ... Butler
Arthur Hoyt ... Perry
Cora Sue Collins ... Ruth
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Storyline

The life of spoiled rich Robert Merrick is saved through the use of a hospital's only resuscitator, but because the medical device cannot be in two places at once, it results in the death of Dr. Hudson, a selfless, brilliant surgeon and generous philanthropist. Merrick falls for Hudson's widow, Helen, though she holds him responsible for her husband's demise. One day, he insists on driving her home and makes a pass at her. She gets out of the car and is struck by another car, she then goes blind. Merrick then talks to a friend of Dr. Hudson who tells him that her husband had a philosophy-to help people, but never let it be known that you are the one helping them. Only then, he believed, could there be true reward in life. Merrick watches over Helen, and visits her during her recuperation, concealing his identity and calling himself Dr. Robert. When he finds out that she is nearly penniless, he secretly pays for specialists to try to restore her vision. Finally, she travels to Paris ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

After You See It You'll Never Be the Same! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

30 December 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le secret magnifique See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After being loaned by MGM, his home studio, to Universal for this film, Robert Taylor would not make another non-MGM movie for 24 years (until the Paramount film The Hangman (1959)). See more »

Goofs

When operating on Helen's eyes, Merrick asks for an otoscope. He should have asked for an opthalmoscope, which is what he was using. An otoscope is for ears. See more »

Quotes

Robert Merrick: Take back to the cook and tell her that if she brings back again, I'm gonna buy this hospital and fire her and everybody else in it. I want some decent breakfast.
Nurse: It's the same breakfast we serve all the patients.
Robert Merrick: Yeah, but I am "The Special".
See more »

Alternate Versions

All prints now in circulation run 102 minutes. See more »

Connections

Version of Magnificent Obsession (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played under the opening credits
See more »

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User Reviews

I'd give it an 8 out of 10
17 August 2000 | by leecozadSee all my reviews

Magnificent Obsession - 1935 I've probably watched Universal's 1954 version of Magnificent Obsession 25 times while researching the movies made in the San Bernardino mountains. This is one of those films where there can be no doubt about its location, Lake Arrowhead. But I have always had my doubt about the original 1935 version as ever having been made in the mountains, even though one of the Captain's of the Arrowhead Queen unequivocally stated that he had heard it had been filmed at Lake Arrowhead. In my research over the years, I had never been able to ascertain one way or the other until August, 2000 at the U.C.L.A. Film Archives. The most pleasant surprise is that there is at least one identifiable scene with Lake Arrowhead in the background - including a speedboat cruising across the lake. It is a very brief scene and by far and away, the majority of the film is shot in a studio. Another equally pleasant surprise is a very young (23) Robert Taylor playing a sophisticated playboy (#1) and then an older doctor (#2) and pulling it off believably. His maturity and acting ability are evident from the first frame. Irene Dunne, who was 7 years older, is an accomplished and polished actress with only a few groans to show for her effort. (Her groping blind scenes leave you exasperated.) Comic relief is supplied by an aged Charles Butterworth, as an unlikely suitor to a very young Betty Furness, the step-daughter of Ms. Dunne. This is not the soapy Universal version done later by Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman, but a thoughtful, intelligent script that is closer to the original Lloyd C. Douglas novel, who just happened to be the screenwriter on this version. The print of the 1935 version is very dark and will probably never be shown again in public unless a restoration effort is made. Unfortunately, there are too many films to restore and only so much money available.


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