Obsession (1976) Directed by Brian De Palma Screenplay by Paul Schrader From a story by Schrader and De Palma Produced by George Litto Cinematographer: Vilmos Zsigmond Editor: Paul Hirsch Music by Bernard Herrmann With: Cliff Robertson, Geneviève Bujold, John Lithgow 98 minutes, released by Columbia
Stylish and technically perfect, Obsession, like so many of his films (like Dressed to Kill or Raising Cain) is much better when seeing it for the second time around—and the “ick” factor increases exponentially when you know what’s the story behind “obsessed” Cliff Robertson and the always beautiful Geneviève Bujold— Although I would’ve preferred that the movie went all the way with its wrongness (Oldboy, I’m looking at you).
I’m sure De Palma and screenwriter Paul Schrader (another sick fuck if ever there was one) chortled with merry twistedness at some point in Obsession’s production. [As it turned out, De Palma heavily rewrote and toned down what was in Schrader’s original script, much to Schrader’s chagrin and anger.]
And don’t let me forget to mention Bernard Herrmann’s magnificent score—I’ve got the LP of it, and it’s a wonderful, overwrought, over-the-top doozy, lots of horns and brass and mournful, but bombastic sounds. Genius!
Released in August 1976, Obsession reportedly did well at the box office despite being trashed by some critics, but it was De Palma’s film that was released in November of ’76 that put him on the map: Carrie.
That was my original idea for the title of this blog, a sort of summation of nearly everything I'd ever wanted cinematically: regularly playing on the ABC Channel 7 4:30 movie--or on WOR-TV Channel 9's 4 O'Clock Movie--the greatest monster movie in the universe, and incredible combo of miniatures, men in suits and stop motion, with entire continents destroyed!
But then there was a coup d'etat, and Tzar Ivan I of Ivanlandia took charge.