Blu-ray Review: Brian De Palma's OBSESSION

Editor, U.S.; California (@m_galgana)
Blu-ray Review: Brian De Palma's OBSESSION

Directed by Brian De Palma and written by Paul Schrader from a story concept by the pair, the 1976 film Obsession gets a new Blu-ray release today from Scream Factory. (It's a collector's edition with a slipcover.)

This early entry in De Palma's filmography is quite Hitchcockian, begining from the very first frame with legendary composer Bernard Herrmann's bombastic score. Cinematography from Vilmos Zsigmond is a literal sight to behold, and the cast is very good, from lead Cliff Robertson, who plays a land developer, to his partner played by John Lithgow, and Geneviève Bujold, who plays a doomed woman in a double role --- very De Palma.

Robertson's character Michael Courtland lives in a nice mansion in the lush Garden District of New Orleans, and celebrates his partnership and new company with Lithgow's Robert Lasalle with a swank party. A few hours later, Courtland's wife Elizabeth (Bujold) and daughter are kidnapped for ransom.

Everything goes wrong, and the two perish. About 20 years later, Courtland and Lasalle are visiting Italy when they encounted a dead ringer for the perished wife, Sandra Portinari (also Bujold). Naturally, Courtland develops an obsession with the woman and brings her back to New Orleans to marry her. Weird things happen, unhealthy relationships fester, and much anguish is involved.

The thriller twists and turns and unfortunately for me, veers far more into the overly melodramatic, particularly with the infantilization of a grown woman's character. While I'm not sure I'd watch this film again, I did enjoy some of the twists, and I always like watching intricate camerawork and complicated shots, which are a staple of De Palma's films.

If you're a De Palma completist, you'll want to check this one out.  

Featurettes go into the behind-the-scenes process of some of the crew who worked on Obsession, such as producer George Litto and editor Paul Hirsch. The vintage interviews with De Palma himself and his two leads were interesting, particularly when De Palma admits that Bujold thinks he ruined her performance during the finale.

Bonus Features

  • NEW Audio Commentary With Author Douglas Keesey (Brian De Palma’s Split-Screen: A Life In Film)
  • NEW Producing Obsession – An Interview With Producer George Litto
  • NEW Editing Obsession – An Interview With Editor Paul Hirsch
  • Obsession Revised – Vintage Featurette Featuring Interviews With Director Brian De Palma, Cliff Robertson, And Geneviève Bujold
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Radio Spots
  • Still Gallery

Intrigued? Head over to Scream Factory to see more details on the release and order Obsession here.

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