Obsession (1975)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Cliff Robertson, Geneviève Bujold, john Lithgow
Extras: Documentary, Trailers, Filmographies

Director Brian DePalma has always been an admirer of the master of suspense cinema, Alfred Hitchcock, and it often reflects in his work. Not that DePalma is in any way plagiarizing Hitchcock’s work. Quite the opposite. DePalma has learned the techniques similar to those employed by Hitch to direct his audiences and to create suspenseful films that keep you in your grip to the end. In ’Obsession, ’ Brian DePalma once again shows how powerful a murder thriller can be without turning it onto an overt or violent film. It is what is implied in the pictures and the mood that makes the experience so utterly thrilling.

’Obsession’ is the story of Michael Courtland, a businessman whose wife and 9-year old daughter are kidnapped on his 10th wedding anniversary. The attempt to rescue them from the hands of the kidnappers fails and both, mother and daughter are killed. Years later, on a vacation trip to Florence, Michael falls in love with another woman, who looks just like his previous wife. They decide to get married but on the eve of their wedding, she too is kidnapped, and the ransom note has a striking resemblance to the one he received several years earlier!

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment presents ’Obsession’ in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio on this DVD in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The transfer is generally clean, although a number of dust marks and scratches are evident throughout the film. The picture is quite grainy, which seems to be a deliberate device employed by DePalma to generate a certain flair for the movie. Color reproduction is good, but it is important to keep in mind that the film deliberately dwells in faded pastel colors by design. Flesh tones are very naturally rendered and blacks are very deep and perfectly balanced. Shadow delineation is very good, creating a pleasing image that nicely restores the movie’s original look and tone. The compression is very good, no doubt, due to the use of a dual-layer disc, which affords Columbia to use the highest possible bitrate for this release.

The DVD contains a variety of audio tracks, such as a newly remixed 5.1 channel Dolby Digital track, as well as a Dolby Surround mix. But also the original English mono track and the French mono language track are included on this disc. The audio is good and without notable detractors. Free of noise or defects, the audio is producing a full-bodied presentation that nicely enhances the picture. Surround usage is good, but not very aggressive. Mostly ambient effects are fed into the surround channels, as well as expansions of the music score by Bernard Herrmann. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable.

’Obsession’ is a masterful thriller that will keep you on the edge, no doubt. It has been created by a group of incredibly accredited filmmakers, who know how to cast a spell on the audience, and the result is one powerful film experience. Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment’s DVD is a great incarnation of the film, so make sure to check it out.