Happy 2nd Anniversary to The Wonderful World of Cinema!


Well, it’s official. Last Friday, my blog celebrated its two years of existence! Time surely is flying as I have the feeling I just started it yesterday.

Of course, there has been a lot of improvement since October 21, 2014. I know have 125 followers, which is not so bad!🙂 I think Aurora from Once Upon a Screen was one of the first persons to follow me. So, thanks Aurora!🙂

At the beginning, I also used to write quite short articles as you can see with this example:

Three Guys Named Mike: Three Times Bravo! 

Since October 14, 2016, I was also nominated for 6 Liebster Awards and one Sunshine Blogger Award.🙂 And I’m the proud member of Classic Movie Hub and The Lamb.

I’ve co-hosted twice the Favourite Classic Movie Actress Tourney, participated to many blogathons and hosted a few. I sometimes think blogs have a tendency to live thanks to blogathons, because it’s always during these moments that your articles are the most often read!🙂 Well, in my case!

You might wonder, for example, what are precisely my 10 most liked articles. Of course, it constantly changes!

The blogging life is one that keeps you busy. Watching classic movies and writing articles are now two things I couldn’t live without. I mean, it’s so addictive! I take my blogathon duties as seriously as my homework (with the only different that I’m not graded, thanks God ahah)! I’m sure I’m not the only one here! :O

Fun facts about my blog:

  • I started it because of Lara Gabrielle Fowler and Kristen Lopez most interesting blogs: Backlots and Journey in Classic Film. I know I still have a lot of work to do to be considered among their equals ahah.
  • I wrote an article on why Leonardo DiCaprio should win an Oscar. I THINK someone heard me lol!
  • Since I started this blog, I also started another one Three Enchanting Ladies, dedicated to my three most favourite actresses Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Ingrid Bergman
  • I also began to write reviews for ClassicFlix on March 2015. You can read them here.
  • Some of my most favourite subjects to write about are Katharine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock and Buster Keaton (among others).
  • If I’m not wrong, the longest article I’ve written is my Vertigo Analysis. Ok, this was originally a text written for school. Around 4000 words. And I wasn’t at university yet! Most of the final assignment we write at university are around 2000 words. I remember we were asked around 8 pages and I wrote 14… I was crazy. But I had so much to say about Vertigo! It’s Hitchcock after all. I’m pretty proud of this article, as it is different from the kind of stuff I normally write.
  • The first blogathon I attended was the Dueling Divas Blogathon hosted by Backlots. I wrote about the rivalry between Bonnie Parker and Blanche Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde.
  • It’s mostly thanks to this blog that William Holden became my second favourite actor. My William Holden films marathon allowed me to discover his filmography and his talent in depth.
  • The 10 countries that visit my blog the most often are United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Brazil, Germany, Spain, Italy and Russia.
  • The title of my blog is mostly inspired from Frank Capra’s film title It’s a Wonderful Life. Ok, “wonderful” is basically one of my favourite words. You probably noticed that I use it quite often.😉

I will conclude this by thanking my readers, because, without you, this blog has no reason to be!🙂

Thank you!

Happy blogging/reading to all! And now, let’s party!




My idealistic movie star party!

Imagine you would have the chance to invite any movie star to a big party! Who would you choose? To my friend bloggers, I invite you to do the same! Would be fun to compare!🙂

You can choose any movie star you want, living or dead. It can be actors, but also movie directors or anybody who worked/works in the movie business.

You are not limited! You have a very very big house.😉

Here we go with my choices!

To help me co-host the party:

  • Vivien Leigh. Because according to Kendra Bean’s book Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, she was a great host and organized awesome parties. Of course, Larry would attend the party as well😉


The cooks:

  • Joan Fontaine because she was a cordon-bleu
  • Grace Kelly could cook her famous hamburger later in the night
  • Katharine Hepburn would cook her awesome brownies for dessert. Of course, she would come with Spencer!🙂
  • Alfred Hitchcock would bring the wine. He had refine tastes in food, so I’m pretty sure he knew he to select the good wine.😉
  • And to help us finish all the food when nobody is hungry anymore: Gary Cooper, because according to IMDB “His appetite was prodigious, but no matter how much he ate, he always remained thin.”

Joan Fontaine Cooking Dinner With Her Children

To make us dance! 

  • Paul Newman and Joan Woodwar because of this picture:


  • James Stewart and Donna Reed because of their dance scene in It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Ingrid Bergman, because of Cactus Flower
  • Jean Simmons because of Guys and Dolls
  • Audrey Hepburn because of Funny Face
  • Cary Grant because of Indiscreet
  • Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, James Cagney, The West Side Story team, etc.

To make us laugh

  • Chantale Lamarre because she’s one of the funniest and most energetic ladies ever.
  • Carole Lombard and Clark Gable
  • Lucille Ball
  • Leslie Nielsen
  • Peter Sellers


For some music

  • Bing Crosby, because he had an awesome voice
  • Doris Day, for the same reason and because she was one of the loveliest ladies ever
  • Frank Sinatra, because he always bring back good memories
  • Madonna, because well, she’s Madonna!


And more!

  • William Holden would bring the fireworks
  • Burt Lancaster and Nick Cravat could do an awesome circus number!
  • Elizabeth Taylor because she’s my twin😉
  • James Mason to stop the fights, because he was a pacifist
  • Vera Miles and Earl Holliman because they were so kind to answer my letters
  • Margaret Lockwood and Roger Moore to make sure all this stays classy.


And well, all my favourites : Gregory Peck, Anne Baxter, Marlon Brando, Peter O’Toole, Barbara Stanwyck, Fredric March, Teresa Wright, etc, etc. The more the merrier!

Who will you invite?




Hell in a High-Rise: The Towering Inferno (1974)


The 70s was THE golden decade for catastrophe movies. Some of the best ones were made during back then. Think of Airport, The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake and, of course, The Towering Inferno. It’s on this one, release in 1974, that we will concentrate today.


The Towering Inferno was produced by Irwin Allen, known as the “Master of Disaster” (also produced The Poseidon Adventure), and directed by John Guillermin. Note: Irwin Allen directed the action scenes. The film, written by Stirling Silliphant, was a fusion of two books: The Tower by Richard Martin Stern and The Glass Inferno by Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson.

Irwin Allen

The interesting thing is, before Irwin Allen at Fox had time to buy the rights of The Tower, Warner Bros. had already done so. Allen then got interested by The Glass Inferno and bought the rights. But instead of producing two movies that will obviously be very similar and enter in competition, Fox and Warner decided to make a team and fused the two books together in one movie that became The Towering Inferno. It was the first collaboration between two major studios.


The Towering Inferno was obviously a big budget film, with its ton of special effects and, most of all, its all-star cast: Paul Newman, Steven McQueen, William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Jennifer Jones, Richard Chamberlain, O.J Simpson, Robert Wagner, Susan Blakely, etc. A real Hollywood dream. The film costed around $14 000 000 to produce (around $68 000 000 today) and was a big commercial success, winning around $140 000 000 at the world box office on it’ release ($678 000 000 today). Being one of the most entertaining movies of all times, and with such a cast, the success was assured.

The impressive cast

However, the critical reception was more mitigated. It generally was good, but was mostly criticized by builders for some inaccuracies.

Despite that, The Towering Inferno won the Oscar for Best Cinematography (Fred J. Koenekamp, Joseph F. Biroc), Best Film Editing (Harold F. Kress, Carl Kress) and Best Original Song for “We May Never Love Like this Again” (Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn). It was nominated for Best Picture (Irwin Allen), Best Supporting Actor (Fred Astaire), Best Production Design (William J. Creber, Ward Preston and Raphael Bretton), Best Original Score (John Williams) and Best Sound Mixing (Theodore Soderberg and Herman Lewis).


Ok, I’m talking a lot about this film’s production and reception, but it’s because there’s a lot to say. But before I’ll go further with my own appreciation of The Towering Inferno, let me resume the movie briefly for those who haven’t seen it.

Like most catastrophe movies, it’s pretty easy to explain: A new glass high-rise has just been built in San Francisco. It’s the tallest building in the world. Architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) is back in town for its inauguration. Once arrived, he meets the builder James Duncan (William Holden). However, on the same day of the inauguration, a short-circuit produced at the 81 floor causes a fire. Roberts accuses Roger Simmons (Richard Chamberlain), the electrical engineer, of being responsible. The ceremony takes place at the 135th floor, the last one. All those people will have to be evacuated before the fire kills them all. They will be helped by  the courageous Michael O’Halloran (Steve McQueen), SFFD 5th Battalion Chief, and his team of firemen.

As you can see, it’s highly stressful.

What I found very interesting about the narrative lines of this film is how the spectator (us) sees the fire breaks before any character of the movies. Paul Newman & Co are looking for it in the building, but we know where it is before them and we see it growing. The suspense is perfectly established and the tension is more and more intense as the time passes.


The Towering Inferno is a movie I love, it’s a movie that worked well but, it’s not either a “masterpiece”. It has its faults. So, before talking all good about it, we will start by getting rid of these little imperfections.

First, sometimes, it’s too much. Well, I’m particularly thinking of this scene when [SPOILER] Dan Bigelow (Robert Wagner), the Public Relations Officer, and his secretary, Lorrie (Susan Flannery) are caught in the fire and eventually die. It is somehow too dramatic, with the big music, the slow motion, Lorrie who becomes crazy, etc. It somehow becomes funny. I’m sorry, but I didn’t cry in this scene. [End of spoilers]


It contains some catastrophe movies clichés. One of the best example is, [spoiler] the cute couple who is separated by death. [end of spoiler]

And, something that I always found strange is why they didn’t show us reactions from people from the outside? I mean, this building is obviously in  a popular neighbourhood of San Francisco, there’s obviously people walking in the streets. And when you see a building on fire, your first reaction is normally to stop and wonder what’s happening. The movies is mainly concentrated on the victims and the firemen, but I think it would have been interesting if we would have seen reaction shots of the simple witnesses.

But let’s stop this here, because there’s also many good things to say about The Towering Inferno.


First, the cast. The cast is spectacular. In my opinion (and that’s just my opinion)… Ok, I was about to say ” the best performances were given by…” and then I realized I was about to name almost everybody. However, I can’t say I’ve been impressed by Richard Chamberlain (maybe because his character annoys me too much. I know it’s not a good reason), Robert Wagner or Susan Flannery. They were not bad and I know some can think they were great, but just not my favourites.

I can no talk about all the actors and all the performances, but let me give you an overview of my favourites.

Teaming Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, two of the most popular stars in the 70s, wasn’t a small thing. Initially, Ernest Borgnine was supposed to play the fireman and Steve McQueen was supposed to played the architect. He however preferred the other role and was cast as the fireman. Paul Newman was then cast as the architect. Things went fair for the two actors as they were both given the same exact number of lines and both received top billings. On the set, it was a friendly competition. Paul Newman and Steve McQueen are two actors that have a similar acting touch. They act with no pretension and are convincing by reminding simple. I’m more familiar with Paul Newman, but, in this film, I can’t say if I prefer Paul or Steve. They were both brilliant. I have to say I love this moment at the beginning when Paul Newman is introduced to us in the helicopter with his 70s style sunglasses. Such a badass!

Faye Dunaway was known as a difficult actress and often arrived late on the set (which highly annoyed William Holden), but despite that, she could only add good to this film as she had talent. Of course, her Susan Franklin is not as good as her Bonnie Parker or her Diana Christensen, but her performance remains one of the bests in the film. And Faye has always been a personal favourite of mine.


William Holden. Ah, William Holden! Well, I have to say that he is the main reason why I decided to watch The Towering Inferno for the first time (he is my second favourite actor after all)! Bill, even if he was getting older, had not lost his irresistible smile and his beautiful blue eyes. It might not be his most memorable performance, but I can’t help loving him as I love him in all his films. As I often said, William Holden was an actor full of sensibility and (subtlety). He never overacts and is always so hypnotizing. There’s this moment when he does a typical William Holden reaction and that’s perfect: toward the end, after he has spoken to Paul Newman, we can see he’s feeling a guilty of what is happening. He has sad eyes and, I don’t know if you ever noticed that, but Bill sometimes does this little move with his chin and his mouth just like if he was trying not to cry. Breaks my heart!!đŸ˜„

Susan Blakely as Patty Simmons (Roger Simmons’s wife and James Duncan’s daughter) is an actress I had never heard of before. But hey, she’s cool! She is very touching and I think she inspires wisdom. At least, in this film. An intriguing and beautiful lady!


I will wrap up this actors section with Fred Astaire and Jennifer Jones. It’s not surprising that Fred was nominated for Best Supporting actor. He is awesome! We are not only amazed by the way he acts, but also by the way he moves! We can see he was a professional dancer😉 At 75, he still had an incredible tonus. And Jennifer Jones, she is lovely as ever and also had an incredible energy. Unfortunately, it was her last film (not because she died, but because she simply decided to retire from acting in Hollywood). The two actors have a contagious chemistry and I think they made the best team of the film. I love when they dance together! (even if it lasts about 20 seconds…)


Bonus: I’ve always liked the character of Mark Powers, the fireman played by Ernie F. Orsatti. He is the young, cute fireman with not a lot of experience. He is scared at the beginning, but finds courage and becomes a hero. I also love Carlos, the barman played by Gregory Sierra. He probably is the most sympathetic character of them all.

Something I find priceless about the actors are some of their reactions. I’ve previously talked about the William Holden’s sad guitly face, but here are some other of my favourites: When Paul Newman speaks on the phone with William Holden and literally lost his temper: “WE’VE GOT A FIRE HERE!”; when William Holden punches Richard Chamberlain in the stomach (I might sound sadic, but this was deserved. #GoBill); when the two firemen, Scott (Felton Perry) and Mark (Ernie F. Orsatti) realize which building is on fire, etc.


Once again, I’m talking too much about the actors: I love the world of acting😉


The Towering Inferno was also brilliant on many technical aspects. The special effects are incredibly impressive. You might not know this, but real fire was used in the filming. So, the cast and crew  basically put themselves in danger to produce this film. It was an audacious thing to do and it worked successfully.


For its cinematography and its editing, The Towering Inferno also was at the top. Surely, what we remember the most from the cinematography is how the building on fire was filmed, but one scene that particularly caught my attention is when the  first twelve selected women (including Jennifer Jones and Faye Dunaway) are in the glass elevator. The clear-obscure light is very beautiful, but also very strange. It inspires a moment of calm before the tempest.

We also have impressive aerial views of San Francisco at the beginning of the film. The city and its area are seen from Paul Newman’s helicopter’s point of view.


It’s hard to imagine how The Towering Inferno was filmed. Around 50 sets were used (most of them were burned for the cause of the film). But the job was done and that’s why Irwin Allen was the Master of Disaster.


And I bet it was not only a difficult movie to produce for its action and its special effects, but also for having to deal with all those top stars (no pressure…).


In the 70s, John Williams was starting to build himself a name as one of the most brilliant composers of Hollywood’s new generation. His score for Jaws is probably his most well known one from the 70s, but his score for The Towering Inferno is unforgettable too. With those aerial shots I was talking about, it makes the movie starts in a very dynamic way. It’s an epic score that fits perfectly the atmosphere of the film or any catastrophe movie. It’s the sound of panic on a hot nightmare. No wonder why he received an Oscar nomination. He lost to Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola for The Godfather Part II. Were also nominated this year Jerry Goldsmith for Chinatown, Alex North for Shanks and Richard Rodney Bennett for Murder On the Orient Express. Ok, the competition was hard, and that’s one of these moments when you’d like to give the award to everybody.


Even if The Towering Inferno is a dramatic movie, it contains some moments of humour. Those are rare, very rare, but are highly appreciated. The first one I think about is when Dan Bigelow (Robert Wagner) arrives in James Ducan’s office. Duncan is here with Roberts and engineer Will Giddings (Norman Burton). Dan is all happy and proud to show them the giant scissors to cut the ribbon at the inauguration of the glass tower. But when he shows them the scissors, nobody reacts, everybody seems concerned and somehow depress to what he says: “What happened? Somebody hanged a wallpaper upside down?” LOL Ok, then they tell him a fire might be burning in the building…

There’s also this very sympathetic scene when Harry Jernigan (O.J Simpson), the Chief Security Officer, save Lisolette Mueller (Jennifer Jones)’s cat from the flames.


There’s so much to say about The Towering Inferno! And if you’re still curious to know more about it, I highly recommend you to watch this very interesting mini-documentary on its making. Just for Paul Newman’s bloopers, it’s worthy! Here is part 1 of 2 (you’ll find the other one easily):

The Towering Inferno was not only one the best catastrophe movies ever made, but also a majestic tribute to firemen. It’s a movie that makes you realize how this is a hard and courageous profession.


So, if you’re in for 2h30 of pure thrill and entertainment, The Towering Inferno is for you. I assure you, you won’t be bored a minute and will admire every moment of it for everything I’ve previously said in this article.

Well, what are you waiting for?!🙂



My first Sunshine Blogger Award!


At the beginning of September, Anna from Defiant Success nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award. A special event for The Wonderful World of Cinema as it is its first one. Before going further, I would like very much to thank Defiant Success for this nomination!

The Sunshine Blogger Award works pretty much the same way as the Liebster Award. After thanking the blog who nominated me, I have to answer its 11 questions, nominate 11 other blogs and ask them 11 other questions. Luckily, I don’t have to say 11 things about me!

Well, let’s start with Anna’s 11 questions. Some of them have already been answer in past award acceptances, but it will be a pleasure for me to refresh your memory.😉

1. Favorite movie not many people have seen?

Give Us the Moon for the win

2. Same question but about a TV show

I will go with two French-Canadian TV shows as they are quite popular in Quebec, but not in the rest of the world: Infoman and La GalĂšre (well, this one is finished now, unfortunately).

3. Who do you want to see a biopic of and whom would you cast?

A movie about the Mitford sisters would be GREAT! I’ve read a lot about them recently because of my friend author Lyndsy Spence who wrote two books about them. But if I had to choose only one of the girls, it would be Jessica. I loved her autobiograpy “Hons and Rebels”. Who would I choose to cast her? Hum I honestly don’t know.

4. Any movie(s) you’re looking forward to?

The futur biobic about me! Hum seriously, I would say Toy Story 4!

5. Have you attended a film festival?

Well, I’ve never attended film festivals such as the TCM film festival, but small ones hosted by the Cinematheque QuĂ©bĂ©coise or the Cinema du Parc in Montreal. Like a mini Hitchcock Festival or a mini Grace Kelly festival.

6.  Black and white or Technicolor?

Well, it really depends on the movie. There are some movies such as Gone With the Wind or Moonrise Kingdom that I couldn’t imagine in black and white, and there are some black and white movies such as The Night of the Hunter or Casablanca that I couldn’t imagine in colour (I know, there’s a colorized version of Casablanca.. ugh!)

7. What’s your favorite book?

Harry Potter (the whole series). Not a very original choice, I know, but I just love these books and have read them like five times each, maybe more for some of them. I also love DaphnĂ© du Maurier’s Rebecca.

8. Star Wars or Star Treck?

None of them. I’ve only seen the first Star Wars so I can’t really make a choice.

9. Western or film noir?

Oh both. Once again it depends on the movie. I like The Wild Bunch better than Out of the Past, but I like Sunset Boulevard better than Vera Cruz. My favourite western is a Noir Western: High Noon😉 I think it’s a good compromise lol.

10. Sci-fi or musical?

Well, this time I have to choose because I like musicals much more than sci-fi. However, in the past year I’ve discover some sic-fi movies that I really liked such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Day the Earth Stood Still (the 50s rocked).

11. Comedy or drama?

Comedy, because I love to laugh and forget about my problems. But I enjoy many good dramas too!

The 11 blogs I nominate

Here are the blogs I nominate. Congrats to you all!

The Old Hollywood Garden

Love Letters to Old Hollywood

Old Hollywood Films

The Flapper Dame

Critica RetrĂŽ

Back to Golden Days

Phyllis Loves Classic Movies

A Shroud of Thoughts

BNoir Detour

Silver Screening

The Cinematic Frontiere

And here are your 11 questions!


  1. Except for the USA… which country do you think makes the most interesting and worthy movies?

2. If your life had to be like a movie, which movie would you choose?

3. Which movie star inspires you the most? It doesn’t necessarily have to be your favourite.

4. What is your favourite catastrophe movie of the 70s (the golden decade of catastrophe movies)?

5. To you, who is the most iconic actress of all times and the most iconic actor of all times? 

6. Is there a book you would like to see a movie adaptation of? Who would star in it?

7. You think Audrey Hepburn made her best movies with Billy Wilder, William Wyler or Stanley Donen? I chose the movie directors with whom she made more that just one film.

8. If you had the chance to own all the costumes of one movie, which one would it be?

9. What do you think was the prettiest Oscar dress?

10. The ugliest?

11. If you could go back in time, what would you change from the movie history? But you can choose only ONE thing (it can be a movie ending you didn’t like, prevent the premature death of one of your favourite actors, choose another actress for Scarlett O’Hara, anything!) I know, hard choice.

Well, congrats and good luck everybody! And, once again, thanks to Defiant Success for the nomination!🙂

Nothing to do with classic movies, but I just loved Jimmy Fallon's facial expression here
Nothing to do with classic movies, but I just loved Jimmy Fallon’s facial expression here




The Double Life of Mrs. Courtland: Genevieve Bujold in Obsession


When Christina Wehner  and Ruth from Silver Screenings announced their Dual Roles Blogathon, it was not long after I had seen Brian de Palma’s Obsession for the first time so, this film had to be my choice for the event.


The ladies’s blogathon celebrates movies where one actor plays more than one role (ex: Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove or Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator). In Obsession, it’s Genevieve Bujold, who plays the dual roles; first as Elizabeth Courtland and then as Sandra Portinari.

Dual Role Banners


Obsession is a thriller directed by Brian de Palma, written by Paul Schrader and released in 1976. For its story line, the film is often compared to Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Even the brilliant soundtrack also composed by Bernard Hermann has some similarities with the Vertigo one (the dramatic and then the very melodic notes).

On its release, Obsession received mixed critics, but, fortunately, was a financial success.

I read this on IMDB, so I have no idea if it’s true, that, apparently, Hitchcock was furious with the making of this film, precisely because it looked too much like Vertigo. You know that I love Hitchcock, but I think we have to see this film more as a tribute than as a simple copy.

When I watched the movie for the first time, I really didn’t know what to expect of it, so it’s not because of Hitchcock that I watched it. I watched it because of Cliff Robertson, who is one of my favourite actors. But it also was a good occasion for me to watch my first Brian de Palma’s film and my first Genevieve Bujold’s film (one of our Quebec’s prides).

Genevieve Bujold and Brian de Palma


Before I go further, it would be important for me to tell you what Obsession is about:

Obsession starts in 1959 with Michael (Cliff Robertson) and Elizabeth (Genevieve Bujold) Courtland’s 10th wedding anniversary at their big home in New-Orlean. On the same night, Elizabeth and their daughter Amy (Wanda Blackman) are kidnapped and a $500 000 ransom is asked to Michael if he wants to see them back alive. The police organizes a rescue, but the kidnappers manage to run away with the two victims. Unfortunately, they all die in a car accident.


16 years later, Michael still hasn’t recovered from the tragic events. He has to go to Florence, Italy for business with his colleague and friend Robert Lasalle (John Lithgow). Florence is where Michael  had met Elizabeth. When he returns to the church where they precisely saw each other for the first time, he meets a young girl, Sandra Portinari (Genevieve Bujold), who is an exact copy of Elizabeth. Stunned by this resemblance with his late wife, he becomes obsessed by her. He falls in love with her and they eventually get engaged. When he goes back to New-Orlean with her, things don’t go exactly as he would have expected.



Even if she plays two roles in the film, Genevieve Bujold’s part as Elizabeth is quite short. As a matter of fact, in the short screen appearance of this character, she doesn’t say a word. However, this doesn’t make Elizabeth Courtland an uninteresting and unimportant character. First, just like Michael, we are flabbergasted by her beauty, her doe eyes and her softness. The fact that Elizabeth Courtland never talks sort of allow us an interpretation on the kind of woman she is. On my side, I see her as a happy, shy and quiet wife. She and Michael simply makes our heart beat when they dance together with their daughter during the party.


Even if the screen appearance of Elizabeth is quite short, her character remains important as all the story revolves around her. The spirit and the idea of Elizabeth are alive from the beginning to almost the end of the film (I’ll let you discover why, because I don’t want to reveal any spoilers). Notice that we’ll see her again briefly in some flashback scenes.

Genevieve Bujold’s second character, Sandra, is much more developed and she is the main female character in the film. Even if she looks a lot like Elizabeth, her personality seems slightly different. She has a young spirit and seems more dynamic than Elizabeth. She knows what she wants, and yet doesn’t have the status of Michael’s wife like Elizabeth had. Sandra is an art student, but Elizabeth was a devoted wife. They also both live in two different time periods, so their way of thinking and even their way of  dressing is different.


The similarity with Vertigo mainly illustrated is the fact that Michael becomes obsessed with his desire to create the image of Elizabeth on Sandra, just like Scottie (James Stewart) wanted to create the image of Madeleine on Judy (Kim Novak). He doesn’t really love Sandra, he loves what she could become for him, an imitation of Elizabeth.


Sandra herself becomes obsessed with Elizabeth and wants to know everything about her. She goes to her memorial and observes her personal belongings in what used to be her and Michael’s bedroom. Is she just curious or does she want to be perfectly like Elizabeth to satisfy her future husband?


No wonder why this film is called Obsession! It’s a perfectly isotopic title.

There’s a scene in the film where Sandra observes a portrait of Elizabeth that can make us think of the museum scene in Vertigo where Madeleine observes a portrait of Carlotta Valdes. Sandra and Elizabeth have exactly the same eyes and this is demonstrated to us with alternated close-ups of Elizabeth’s portrait’s eyes and Sandra’s ones. The same shape, the same colour.


But it’s in a memorable climax that we’ll learn the truth about Sandra. Why was she on Michael’s route? I’ll let you discover that by yourself because I don’t want to reveal any major spoilers.


Genevieve Bujold did great in this film. She plays two characters that, even if they look alike, have a quite different personality. This proves her versatility. As Elizabeth, she is majestic and, as Sandra, she is quite adorable. Due to the joy and innocence Bujold gave to her character, we immediately appreciate Sandra from the moment she says a few words. If Michael is amazed by how she looks, we are amazed by her vivacity and her beautiful energy. Genevieve will also break our heart in this famous climax scene. Moving from casual joy to deep sadness is something Genevieve Bujold seemed to be able to do easily. Of course, it’s the only film of hers I’ve seen, so I can’t really compare with the others.


But I’m happy I did finally see one of her films, because, as I said before, Genevieve Bujold is one of our Quebec’s Pride. She was born in Montreal (where I live) and first had an acting career in Quebec. She became an international star and started starring in Foreign movie when she starred in Anne of the Thousand Days alongside Richard Burton.

As I previously said, the main reason why I decided to watch this film is Cliff Robertson. After having seen him in The Devil’s Brigade and Autumn Leaves, I was curious to discover more of his films. I was certainly not disappointed by his performance in Obsession. Even if Brian de Palma didn’t like working with him, the result was worthy. The film makes me realize that Cliff often plays characters with a very quiet temper (even if really upsetting things happens to him), but when it’s too much, it’s too much and he can explode. Just like Scottie in Vertigo, Michael’s character is a bit creepy, but fascinating at the same time. I have to say, I’m spellbound by Cliff Robertson’s performance in this film, especially by his voice. It’s the kind of thing that completely makes us forget Gidget


John Lithgow is not an actor I’m too familiar with (I’ve only seen him in this film, Footloose and All that Jazz), but, to me, this might be one of his most memorable performances. He is excellent as Robert. At one point, his character can be compared to Marjorie Wood (Barbara Bel Geddes) in Vertigo. He doesn’t play the mother figure like her, but he is Michael’s old friend and often tries to bring him back to reason.



The cinematography of Obsession is very interesting and, because the image is often blurry and has a soft light, we constantly have the feeling we are in a dream. This light can be compared to the one in the cemetery scene in Vertigo. It adds a certain poetry to the film, and that’s why Obsession is not a visually crude thriller. The cinematography was supervised by Vilmos Zsigmond, who also work with Brian de Palma on Blow Out, The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Black Dahlia. In 1978 he won an Oscar for his work in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg).

Bernard Herrmann’s score for Obsession was one of his last. As a matter of fact, he composed his last score the same year and that was for Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. The music in this film is both very dramatic and very melodious and poetic. This perfectly reflects the constantly changing atmosphere of the film. He also managed to create a great suspense just like he did with Vertigo. I’ve noticed that some parts of the score is also similar to Spellbound’s one (Alfred Hitchcock, 1945), but this one was composed by MiklĂłs RĂłzsa.


Obsession is one of those films that deserves to be analyzed in depth. You know, this kind of film you would write a school essay on it. There’s much to say for both its narrative and technical aspects. Now, I’ve given you a brief view of it, but I hope it was enough to satisfy you and make you want to discover this film if you haven’t yet. I know I’ve often compared the movie to Vertigo, but this is something that is quite impossible not to do.

Before leaving you, I want to thank Christina Wehner and Ruth from Silver Screenings for organizing this very original and entertaining event!

Don’t forget to read the other entries!

The Dual Roles Blogathon Day 1

The Dual Roles Blogathon Day 2

The Dual Roles Blogathon Day 3

See you!