It will be a Magnificent Obsession: Popular Fiction, Popular Sentiment and Popular Acting Talk by John Mercer and Screening
As part of the A Weekend With Doris event at the University of Kent, 27th to 29th September, John Mercer will be talking about Rock Hudson’s breakthrough role in Douglas Sirk’s Magnificent Obsession. In many ways this film paved the way for his later collaborations with Doris Day in the late 50s and early 60s.
The film was a massive commercial hit (Universal’s biggest success of 1954) and was a remake of an equally big hit of 1935 starring Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor. Based on a best selling book and spawning numerous radio adaptations, far from being an obscure source, audiences were very familiar with the story of the redeemed playboy falling in love with and rescuing the eyesight of a widow by the time the Sirk film was released. I will be comparing the 1954 and 1935 filmed versions of the story and talking about the ways in which film history gets written and rewritten, meaning that certain accounts of events become the ‘official’ history.
The talk is followed by a digitally restored screening of Sirk’s film.