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3.9 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Product Description

In 1959, affluent businessman Michael Courtland (Cliff Roberston) and his wife (Geneviève Bujold) are celebrating their tenth anniversary when his daughter and wife are kidnapped and held for ransom. The effort to rescue the girl and her mother ends tragically, and Courtland merely exists, his days consumed with guilt. Many years later, still grieving over his loss, he returns to Florence - the city where he first met his wife - where he meets a young woman who bears a remarkable resemblance to her. Set largely in New Orleans, this incredibly atmospheric thriller has a southern gothic feel with its dreamlike photography (by cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond) and deliberate pacing. Often compared to Hitchcock’s Vertigo because of its protagonist’s obsessive attempt to recreate his lost love and the score by the incomparable Bernard Herrmann, director Brian De Palma’s (Scarface, The Untouchables) undeniable obsession with cinema results in a thrilling approach to a hauntingly familiar

Though he had made comedies with Robert De Niro (Hi Mom, Greetings!), a horror movie (Sisters), and a rock musical (Phantom of the Paradise), it wasn't until this 1976 film that Brian De Palma truly announced himself as the heir to Alfred Hitchcock. Written by Paul Schrader, this film is an homage to Vertigo, with its own stylish twists and turns. Cliff Robertson plays a businessman who, while traveling in Italy, meets a young woman (Genevieve Bujold) who is a dead ringer for his late wife, who had been killed in a kidnapping years earlier. As he woos and wins her, the vibes get creepier and creepier because, well, something's not right about this woman. Interestingly, this film came out the same year as De Palma's Carrie, a much more successful movie at the box office. But it was this movie that, for all its flaws, proclaimed De Palma as a stylist with a sure-handed command of visual storytelling. --Marshall Fine

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: John Lithgow, Genevieve Bujold, Cliff Robertson
  • Directors: Brian De Palma, Brian Palma
  • Producers: Harry N. Blum, George Litto
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005J6US
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,919 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Obsession" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Based on a very smart screenplay directly written for the screen by Paul Schrader and Brian De Palma, OBSESSION is, in my opinion, the masterpiece of the director of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. The movie can be read at several different levels but is primarily an excellent thriller treating of the guiltiness felt by a man who failed to rescue his wife and his daughter when kidnapped in New orleans.
The key of OBSESSION lies in the scene of the first encounter between Courtland and Sandra, in the medieval church in which the hero married his first wife. Sandra is trying to restore old paintings that happen to have been themselves painted over older paintings. Asked by Courtland if the new paintings will be erased, Sandra answers that it's not useful to destroy them in order to bring into light the original ones.
So OBSESSION is clearly an homage to Alfred Hitchcock's VERTIGO but is also a movie of its own who deserves credit. I remember that the sumptuous travellings of De Palma's camera were, in the seventies, rather unusual in the american production and generated numerous critics. One can only observe, 25 years later, that De Palma new aesthetics has inspired a whole generation of american filmmakers, like Steven Spielberg for instance, who has understood that a camera movement could produce emotions in the viewer's heart.
Among the bonus features of this DVD, there is a very interesting featurette with recent interviews of the cast.
A DVD zone your library.
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A lot of people dislike DePalma because once they've seen his films, then go back for a second viewing, they realize just how well he fooled them, the whole time displaying any clues possible right before their very eyes; hence, making them feel stupid. That is one of the qualities I love about his films. For once you've seen it, then go back and view it again with the knowledge you have of the overall film, letting all of the hints and OBVIOUS clues that are placed right before your very eyes the entire time; yet, when the movie was over, you felt like a rug just got pulled right out from beneath you.
And a LOT of people point out the "Hitchcock" touch his films seem to have, which they a degree. What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that DePalma was also a student of the French Cineme Nuavue, artists like Godard, Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni, and Lelouch. Yes, this film is admittedly (by DePalma - he said that he and friend, writer Paul Schrader had just seen "Vertigo" and loved the idea so much that it inspired this screenplay) inspired by Hitchcock's "Vertigo", if anyone out there has ever seen Claude Lelouch's French 1966 masterpiece "A Man And A Woman" they will know what I'm talking about in reference to all of the OTHER great artists of film that inspired DePalma's style, decision, precision, and delivery.
Not to give any kind of spoiler, but the climatic ending that swirls into a freeze frame is straight from the ending of Lelouch's brilliant film "A Man And A Woman", and SO appropriately so, seeing that this film has such a romantic tone throughout it, even during the most suspenseful of scenes, the style of filming it is so romantic (I don't mean a love story, but in tone).
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Format: DVD
Another excellent De Palma thriller, this time without the sex and violence. Even if you don't like his other movies like BODY DOUBLE, if you want an interesting and atmospheric thriller, get this. It is a much more subtle film some of ones that followed, partly a love story, partly a mystery and all class. I won't explain the story as it has already been explained here and elsewhere a million times, so on to the DVD.
The picture is a bit grainy(some parts look better than others), but although I hadn't seen the film before I have read that it has always looked grainy and washed out ever since it was first released. Still apart from the grain the picture is still sharp. You get 5.1, 2 channel and mono english sound tracks and they sounded good to me.
Also included on the disc is an excellent 35 minute documentary and a trailer(plus trailers of two other films).
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Format: DVD
Brian DePalma directed a string of truly inspired films in the 1970s, from SISTERS to CARRIE, from the campy, baroque glam of PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, to the decade-ending double shots of DRESSED TO KILL and BLOW OUT. In the middle, he directed OBSESSION, which upped the ante of perversity, beauty and lurid unpleasantness of Hitchcock's VERTIGO (with a dash of DIAL 'M' for good measure). What people dismiss as second-hand aping, I see as respectful homage, an updating of Hitchcock's perspective for the post-Vietnam, post-Beatles age. He was, after all, one of the leaders of the "film school brats" of the late 1960s (all members of which blatantly copied the masters of the previous generation), and, to my mind, was the most brilliant (at least technically), the most mature, and the most sensitive of his peers. Give me the twisted emotional and visual depths of OBSESSION over a malfunctioning mechanical shark or a juvenile "creature cantina" any day!
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Format: DVD
OBSESSION is a great film, and even stands the test of time after 32 years!

I first saw this film in 1975 upon it's release. It had an enormous impact on me, perhaps as I was a lot younger then, but it stayed with me for many years. It was great to see it again after all this time, and it stands up very well indeed, unlike a lot of films from the 70's and 80's.

Its essentially a homage to Hitchcock, it has many similar structures, plot twists and very clever photography. You may guess what's going on if you are a a seasoned movie viewer, but the journey is lots of fun, with some great characters and performances along the way.

Brian De Palma is a fascinating director, and this is a far better film than the later production and Kirk Douglas vehicle THE FURY, which, whilst it is suspenseful, its just not in the same league. OBSESSION was De Palma's first widescreen production.

Filmed deliberately in soft focus to mask and assist the passage of 15 years (as explained in the excellent 2000 production documentary on the disc), the picture quality loses a little, even in the fully restored version on this release, but the wonderful score by Bernhard Herrmann is a real pleasure along with the terrific 5.1 Dolby mix. In the doco it's great to see interviews with both Cliff Robertson and Genevieve Bujold, but John Lithgow is overlooked, or perhaps would not be involved. A pity, as he has a pivotal role in the film and is a great Faustian character.

Some of the film is shot at the San Miniato church in Florence, it's a beautiful place, and well worth a visit.

I recommend this one to film fans, a real pleasure.
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