Magnificent Obsession
Movie poster
Directed by John M. Stahl
Written by Lloyd C. Douglas (novel)
Sarah Y. Mason
Victor Heerman
George O'Neil
Starring Irene Dunne
Robert Taylor
Release date(s) December 30, 1935[1]
Running time 112 min.
Language English

Magnificent Obsession is a 1935 drama film based on a book of the same name by Lloyd C. Douglas. It was adapted by Sarah Y. Mason, Victor Heerman, and George O'Neil, and directed by John M. Stahl. It stars Irene Dunne, Robert Taylor, Charles Butterworth, and Betty Furness.

Plot summaryEdit

The life of spoiled Robert Merrick (Robert Taylor) is saved through the use of a hospital's only pulmotor, but because the medical device cannot be in two places at once, it results in the death of Dr. Hudson, a selfless, brilliant surgeon and generous philanthropist. Merrick falls in love with Hudson's widow, Helen (Irene Dunne), though she holds him responsible for her husband's demise. One day, he insists on driving her home and makes a pass at her. She gets out and is struck by another car, losing her sight.

He watches over her and visits her during her recuperation, concealing his identity and calling himself Dr. Robert. When he finds out that she is nearly penniless, he secretly pays for specialists to try to restore her vision. Finally, she travels to Paris and is told that her eyesight is gone forever. Robert follows her, confesses his true identity and proposes marriage. She forgives him, but goes away, not wanting to be a burden to him.

Years later, Robert has become a brain surgeon. He learns that Helen urgently needs an operation, which he performs. When she awakens, her sight has miraculously returned.

Production notesEdit

The film, which raised Robert Taylor to stardom, had its New York premiere at Radio City Music Hall on December 30, 1935 and drew capacity crowds, despite frigid weather.[1]


The film was remade in 1954 by director Douglas Sirk, with Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman in the leads.

Adaptations to Other MediaEdit

Magnificent Obsession was adapted as a radio play on the April 26, 1937 and November 13, 1944 broadcasts of Lux Radio Theater, the first starring Robert Taylor and Irene Dunne in their original film roles, the second with Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche. It was also adapted on the January 19, 1941 broadcast of The Screen Guild Theater, starring Myrna Loy and Don Ameche and the February 13, 1949 broadcast of Screen Director's Playhouse with Irene Dunne and Willard Waterman.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Brown, Gene (1995). Movie Time: A Chronology of Hollywood and the Movie Industry from its Beginnings to the Present. New York: MacMillan. p. 125. ISBN 0-02-86042906. 

External links Edit