Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 7: Sun May 23

Magnificent Obsession (Sirk, 1954): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 12.45pm

Shot on Eastmancolor negative and later subjected to the dye-transfer printing process (known as Techncicolor No V), this widescreen film is exemplary of Technicolor’s transition into the 1950s. It will be screened from a vintage 35mm Technicolor print preserved in the BFI National Archive. The film will be introduced by BFI Creative Director, Heather Stewart. The film can also be seen on Sunday June 6th - full details here.

Time Out review:
Douglas Sirk directed a number of films which say an awful lot about '50s America. A European who saw Americans more clearly than most, he found, in the 'women's weepies' producers often gave him, a freedom to examine contemporary middle class values. This one (from a novel by Lloyd C Douglas) has a preposterous plot: playboy Hudson takes up medicine again after being indirectly responsible for the death of a philanthropic doctor and directly responsible for his widow's blindness. Assuming the dead man's role, Rock Hudson starts practising the same kind of secretive Christianity, but has to resort to an alias to win the widow herself. Sirk turns all this into an extraordinary film about vision: sight, destiny, blindness (literal and figurative), colour and light; the convoluted, rather absurd actions (a magnificent repression?) tellingly counterpointed by the clean compositions and the straight lines and space of modern architecture. Sirk's films are something else: can Fassbinder even hold a candle to them?
Chris Peachment

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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