Magnificent Obsession is the Pick of the Week

A 1954 Douglas Sirk weepfest rounds out a new week of releases.
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When it comes to classic melodrama, director Douglas Sirk can't be beat. In his films, which usually include themes of class, social status, wealth, and human frailty, these stories play out in rich, elegant Technicolor that you can overlook the sometimes overwrought weepiness. His 1954 effort, Magnificent Obsession, is often his most unconvincing film, but with the talents of Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman on display, you just go with it. The plot of a reckless, loaded playboy running over a distraught widow seems saccharin today, but back then it was an actual story. Again, you just have to go with it, because it is worth the watch, especially because of the colors.

The only new aspect of the upcoming Blu-ray release is a new restoration, but the supplements are the same. They include the trailer, tributes to Sirk by directors Alison Anders and Kathryn Bigelow, an archival interview with screenwriter Robert Blees, a commentary track, and an archival documentary on Sirk's life and career. Disc Two includes the 1935 version with Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor. There is also a leaflet with the same essay "Magnificent Obsessions" from the original DVD release, which is by critic Geoffrey O'Brien. So, if you happen to be a fan of this and Sirk's work, or if you're a Criterion completionist, then I think that this release will do just fine in your collection, despite the supplements being a little better than the film itself.

Other releases:

Cruising (Arrow): New York is caught in a sadisitc nightmare as a killer stalks gay men in the city's underground bars. Al Pacino plays Steve Burns, a young rookie assigned to the case who delves into the world of S&M to lure the killer out, but the more he does, the more he risks losing his identity in the process.

The Witches (Warner Archive): While on a holiday resort near seaside, a curioys young boy stumbles upon a sinister witch convention.

The Harder They Come (Shout Factory): A young Jamaican man finds himself tied to drug dealers and corrupt record producers while trying to become a successful singer of Reggae.

Sweet Charity (Kino): Film legend Shirley MacLaine stars as dance hall hostess Charity Hope Valentine, a woman whose faith in old-fashioned romance is tested by a series of failed relationships.

Last Year at Marienbad (Kino): A dashing stranger tries to convince an alluring married woman to run away with him, but it seems that she doesn't remember the affair they may or may not have had, last year at Marienbad.

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