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Anyone Catch "Obsession" (1949) Saturday Night?


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I could not stop watching that chesnut for one second.

First, I'll watch anything directed by Dmytryk; he may be the greatest of them all.

Robert Newton, the acid bath, the references to Crippen, London in rubble after the war, Scotland Yard, cheating wife, the dog who saves the day.

Yes, plot holes with enough girth to swallow Godzilla, but it was some potboiler. Dialogue was crackling.

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Those vintage British O gauge model trains were a trip! Today, they would be worth many thousands. As an sometime picker, I dream of coming across old trains like that; get them cheap and it's a guaranteed killing! I see gold when I see that stuff. If any of you should have model trains from the 30's and 40's, get them appraised! They could be worth a mint!

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"Cheat on me, will ya woman? You'll ne'er do it again! I'll strip ya down to yer basic parts and feed 'em to the sharks o'er the seven seas! Scottland Yard'll ne'er find me, 'cause I'm sailin' fer 'merica on the mornin' tide!"

 

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This movie really caught (and held) my attention. But I feel it was a far-from-perfect effort from Dmytryk that if remade today could live up to its intended impact.

 

First, a user review I read said that Newton's villain in this piece is comparable to Walker's Bruno in STRANGERS ON A TRAIN and Milland's world-class manipulator in DIAL M FOR MURDER. Completely agree.

 

However, I think this film and its villain could've gone a bit more to the extreme. For instance, I think we should have seen more sadism between the men. And I think there should've been a stronger, more implied homosexuality between the men. Newton's character should have some Freudian sexual motivation for his own obsessive attitude about his wife's lover, namely that he wants the man for himself. Otherwise, he would've just killed the competition off early on and made it appear to police that the missing man might still be alive somewhere. SInce he goes to so much trouble to keep him (and the dog alive) for so long despite the fact that he claims to be ready to kill them both at a moment's notice, it must be realized that he continues to want them both alive and that protestations about why he is keeping them alive become excuses to support his obsessive desire to lord over the other man and get off on it.

 

Also, though I am not one for profanity in films, I think this story calls for it. These two men in the hidden room should be vulgar and verbally crass in most every way possible. They should be goading each other to take it to the next level and formalities should have ceased long ago. Two men in this situation are really not going to remain true gentlemen for long. They are going to be at each other's throats and expressing the violent evil they are summoning within each other given the bleak environment and its circumstances.

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Finally got a chance to watch Obsession last night, and I'd give it a 9. It's certainly "British" in its rather clinical and detached approach to murder**, with relatively little character development, and of course with the archtype Scotland Yard superintendent who could have been given a mustache and transported straight to the John Williams character in Dial M For Murder . As a generic type, I find the American and French noir movies far more interesting and engaging, but as a change of pace from what we usually get on TCM, I was very glad to get a chance to see a very well done version of the Albion brand.

 

**Perhaps best embodied by the wife's refusal to call the police for many months, even thinking that her lover might still be alive, due to her even greater fear of social embarrassment.

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>Robert Newton, the acid bath...

 

Someone needed to explain to Newton's character (not to mention the screenwriter, director, producer, etc.) that any acid capable of dissolving human flesh wouldn't stay sealed up for very long in a rubber hot-water bottle...

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Caught it and thought about this interesting and quirky film for quite a while. This was the first time I had seen Phil Brown act on the screen. He was very good but the blacklist hurt his stardom. And Sally Gray was such a beautiful blonde. I watched to see Robert Newton ham it up as usual but he was quite subdued, That surprised me.Monty was such a cute doggie and deserved his prominent list in the credits.

 

 

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