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For De Palma fans, Obsession (1976) really is a work of cinematic ecstasy. After honing his stylistic craft for almost a decade, De Palma pays full homage to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) climbing to intoxicating and often hilarious heights. In this tour de force, De Palma is working with one of the greatest cinematographers in Vilmos Zsigmond, one of the greatest editors in Paul Hirsch, one of the greatest screenwriters in Paul Schrader, and one of the greatest composers of all time in Bernard Herrmann (who died shortly before the film's release). The plot is kept appropriately simple for this ultimate exercise in De Palma's style. In New Orleans, Michael Courtland (Cliff Robertson) loses his wife Elizabeth (Genevieve Bujoldin) in a botched kidnapping. Fifteen years later he travels to Florence, Italy where he encounters an Italian woman named Sandra (also played by Genevieve Bujoldin) who looks exactly like his wife. Bujold is positively radiant in this role, and Michael becomes believably obsessed with her. While Cliff Robertson may not be on par with Jimmy Stewart, he is a fine vessel of De Palma's obsessions. Michael brings Sandra back to New Orleans to be married and the cyclical plot kicks in as Michael's obsession drives him to madness. John Lithgow has an excellent supporting role as Michael's business partner. While Obsession (1976) doesn't have the memorable set pieces of Carrie (1976) which would be a hit later that year, it is still Brian De Palma working at the height of his craft and it doesn't get much better than that.
Obsession is a 1976 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Brian De Palma, starring Cliff Robertson, Genevieve Bujold and John Lithgow. The screenplay was written by Paul Schrader, from a story by De Palma and Schrader. Bernard Herrmann provided the film's soundtrack before his death in 1975. The story is about a prominent New Orleans businessman who is haunted by guilt following the death of his wife and daughter during a kidnapping-rescue attempt gone wrong. Years later, he meets and falls in love with a young woman who is the exact look-alike of his long dead wife.
Both De Palma and Schrader have pointed to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) as the major inspiration for Obsession's narrative and thematic concerns. Schrader's script was extensively rewritten and pared down by De Palma before shooting, causing the screenwriter to proclaim a complete lack of interest in the film's subsequent production and release.
Completed in 1975, Columbia Pictures picked up the distribution rights but demanded that minor changes be made to reduce potentially controversial aspects of the plot. When finally released in the late summer of 1976, it became De Palma's first substantial box-office success and received mixed reviews from critics.
(Summary from Wikipedia)
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