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"Obsesssion" - {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: Arrow
Release Date:
Special Features:

See Below


After attending a showing of Hitchcock's classic "Vertigo" director Brian De Palma and writer Paul Schrader were inspired to come up with a film of their own mirroring Hitchcock's classic film but taking it one step further. Schrader wrote a script that had three parallel stories running simultaneously; one set in the past, one set in the present and one set in the future. Forced to trim the film, De Palma cut the future sequence at the suggestions of composer Bernard Herrmann and retitled "Deja Vu" to "Obsession".***

A clever, well constructed romantic thriller "Obsession" remains one of De Palma's most fascinating films and while some of the plot twists and themes were borrowed from "Vertigo", De Palma takes them a step further here.***

Recently released in the UK on a no region Blu-ray the film looks much improved by comparison although this is never going to be a demo quality Blu-ray; De Palma and Vilmos Zsigmond chose to shoot the film in soft focus with lots of difusion filters as part of the lighting scheme. As a result while the film does, indeed, look lovely, it's not going to feature the strong deteail that you might seen with a more contemporary film. De Palma and Zsigmond were going for creating a layered textured look and they largely succed with the film. "Obsession" has received a nice restoration at the hands of Arrow Films (or, perhaps, it's Sony who did the work for them--I'm not quite sure). Either way, the film looks exceptionally good for its age.***

Arrow films has done a terrific job with the film using a high bit rate transfer on a dual layered disc to try and capture as much of the natural look of the film as possible; "Obsession" has always been somewhat grainy to begin with and Arrow films stays true to the original look of the film.***

The audio sounds quite nice with a new 5.1 mix.***

Special Features:

The special features are quite nice as well. We get a 35 minute documentary on the making of the film featuring De Palma, Zsigmond, Cliff Robertson, Geneviene Bujold and editor Paul Hirsch discussing the making of the film. Paul Hirsch relates a story about a very frail Bernard Herrmann weeping after seeing a screening of the finished film. He was weeping because he couldn't recall writing the main theme for the film although he recognized it as his own. MIA is writer Paul Schrader presumely because he is still unhappy about the changes that De Palma made to his screenplay by dropping the last third of the story set in the future. De Palma was wise in cutting the last section of the original script because it would have stretched the credability of the story even further.***

We also get the original trailer and two De Palma shorts from De Palma's personal collection--"Woton's Wake" made in 1962 and the documentary short "The Responsive Eye" from 1966. Both are fascinating glimpses into De Palma's early technique.***

We also get a replica of Paul Schrader's original script (which differs from the finished shooting script)AND a critical essay on the film itself. It is housed ina slip case with the Blu-ray and there are replicas of the original posters as well as a new (ugly)commissioned fold out poster included as well.***

Final Words:

I'd order it via amazon's UK site as it is less expensive.*** Arrow has done an outstanding job of putting together the Blu-ray.***


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