Obsession

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OBSESSION —director Brian De Palma may have been paying homage to Alfred Hitchcock with this slick, predictable thriller from 1976, but all he succeeded in doing was ripping off Vertigo, and in doing so it shows up that film as an inimitable classic.

Cliff Robertson plays a guy who’s wife and daughter are kidnapped and killed. Fifteen years later he meets a facsimile of his late wife,’reborn’, as it were, and the plot twists its 98 minutes around this obsession.

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Dull, conspicuously derivative, even with a lush romantic music score from the great Bernard Herrmann that revisits his own work for Hitchcock. Robertson’s facial expressions don’t convey a great deal, but he does some quite good stuff with his voice, its deep timbre often effectively  putting across desperation.

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John Lithgow ably plays the bad guy. Good cinematography from Vilmos Zsigmond. But it’s all for naught, striving too obviously in the face and shadow of its inspiration. Yawn. $1,400,000 cost-factor brought back $4,468,000+.

With Genevieve Bujold, Sylvia Kuumba Williams, Wanda Backman and J.Patrick McNamara. Herrmann’s score was nominated for an Oscar. He was also up for Taxi Driver that same year, but the nominations were posthumous, as he died after completing the other film. Both efforts lost out to Jerry Goldsmith for The Omen. Goldsmith’s better scoring job, for Logan’s Run, was not on the list.  Such are the vagaries of something or other…

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