17 December 2014

Obsession (1976)
98 min.
Directed by Brian De Palma.
With Cliff Robertson, Genevieve Bujold, John Lithgow, Sylvia Kuumba Williams, Wanda Blackman, Stanley J. Reyes.
Brian De Palma was at it again, with this virtual remake of yet another Alfred Hitchcock film...in this case Vertigo (1958).

Scripted by Paul Schrader (the writer on Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver), the similarities to Hitch's Stewart-Novak classic are rather strong and obivous here.

Michael Cortland (Robertson) is a New Orleans businessman travelling in Italy who meets Sandra Portinari (Bujold), a dead ringer for his late wife Elizabeth, who died in an ill-fated kidnapping attempt years before.

The two begin a romance, and decide to return to Louisiana together. They even decide to get married.

But on the eve of their wedding, when Sandra turns up missing - and Michael finds a ransom note identical to the one he found when Elizabeth went missing 10 years before - well, the coincidences have just gotten too much...

We enjoy this one, in large part due to the exceptional cast (Bujold is always a mesmerizing performer to watch), and it's all heightened by De Palma's vibrant hand at storytelling.

There's also some gorgeous photography from cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (who would go on to work on Michael Cimino's depressing Deer Hunter among other notables.)

The beautiful locations are buoyed by a successful mix of intrigue and mystery that will keep you entertained...even if you feel like maybe you've seen it all before.

With a superior original score courtesy Bernard Herrmann.

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