Jan 032019

Obsession was a rather bland mystery-drama which doesn’t have a whole lot going for it aside from some good cinematography however the acting from Cliff Robertson in the lead was weirder rather than endearing, and the film lacked De Palma’s flair.



— Collector’s Edition —

Genre(s): Mystery, Drama
Shout Factory | PG – 98 min. – $34.93 | January 15, 2019

Date Published: 01/03/2019 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Brian De Palma
Writer(s): Brian De Palma & Paul Schrader (story), Paul Schrader (screenplay)
Cast: Cliff Robertson, Genevieve Bujold, John Lithgow
Features: Commentary, Interviews, Promotional Materials
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 1.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 32.14 GB
Total Bitrate: 43.65 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 2.5/5

Plot Synopsis: A tenth wedding anniversary celebration ends tragically when Michael Courtland (CLIFF ROBERTSON) discovers that his wife (GENEVIEVE BUJOLD) and 9-year-old daughter (WANDA BLACKMAN) have been kidnapped. When an attempt to thwart the captors goes awry, Courtland’s wife and daughter are never recovered. Several years later, while vacationing in Florence, Courtland falls in love with a young woman who looks amazingly looks like his dead wife. On the eve of their wedding, the woman disappears and Courtland finds a ransom note… a duplicate of the one found several years earlier.

Quick Hit Review: Brian De Palma is one of my favorite directors where even his failures (Femme Fatale) tended to entertain even its so-so performances. Although I have heard of Obsession, and even own a copy on DVD, never got around to watching and this 1976 mystery-drama had its moments for sure, it was fairly predictable with both of its twists. Cliff Robertson was a fine actor but seemed wrong in the role, with charm being replaced by creepiness. John Lithgow for his part was decent but the star was Genevieve Bujold who made the film somewhat watchable.

This is one of De Palma’s weaker films for me as even his style wasn’t fully utilized but it is a nice pairing with his co-screenwriter Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) and while this was not terrible and never regretted watching, there are far better De Palma (and Schrader for that matter) movies to spend time on. Is it a terrible movie? Of course not and although one can predict the twists, this was at least was watchable, just this was one of De Palma’s lesser offerings.



This release comes with a matted slip cover and the interior cover is reversible with the original poster artwork.

Audio Commentary with Douglas Keesey, author of ‘Brian De Palma’s Split-Screen’. This is a fairly academic track with a specific emphasis on De Palma and his directing style.

Producing Obsession with George Litto (26:16; HD) is a new interview with an interview by Producer George Litto as he talks about his own career and getting Obsession off the ground.

Editing Obsession (20:30; HD) is another new interview with Academy Award winner Editor Paul Hirsch (Star Wars). This one was pretty fascinating, including telling a story about Bernard Herrmann and a blow up they had on Sisters, though they later became friends.

Obsession Revisited (37:31; SD) is an archival featurette from 2001 and includes interviews with Brian De Palma, Cliff Robertson, Genevieve Bujold, Editor Paul Hirsch and Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond.

Also included is the Theatrical Trailer (1:59), a few Radio Spots (0:59) and an Image Gallery (6:17).


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Obsession looks surprisingly strong on Blu-ray, making its North American debut from Shout Factory where it is presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer that I’m wondering if it is the same one from the Arrow Video UK release. Whatever the case, this does look pretty damn good with the natural film grain shining through aiding the sharp detail with colors that are bright and black levels nice and stark. I did notice a couple instances of some minor dust marks but nothing distracting.

AUDIO – 4.25/5

The disc comes with the choice of either a 5.1 or Mono DTS-HD Master Audio track, the former being the default option. Both of them do sound rather good with the 5.1 having a bit more depth with audio coming out of every available speaker, though the LFE doesn’t get all that utilized, while obviously the mono track was decent enough with crisp and clear dialogue levels.


OVERALL – 3.5/5

Overall, Obsession was a rather bland mystery-drama which doesn’t have a whole lot going for it aside from some good cinematography especially during the Italian sequences, however the acting from Cliff Robertson in the lead was weirder rather than endearing, and the film lacked De Palma’s flair that he would utilize later. This Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release from Shout Factory offers up great video/audio transfers and a good selection of bonus features.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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