Obsession

The acidly witty Obsession turns a tale of perverse cruelty into a parody of social propriety. Psychiatrist Robert Newton is a most civilized murderer, the kind of fellow who puts down his gun to do the crossword while waiting for his wife and her latest lover to come home. “It's a pity I've got to kill you, because I really quite like you,” he tells his intended victim (Phil Brown) before locking him away in a dank basement, bringing the captive martinis and engaging him in mild banter while slowly preparing an acid bath for the eventual disposal of his body. Directed by Hollywood expat Edward Dmytryk, the film makes a running joke of the American influence in postwar Britain, and Yankee slang overheard by jovial Scotland Yard superintendent Naunton Wayne creates a turning point in the plot. In the end, though, it all hinges on a little white dog, the one character in the movie who doesn't make small talk.

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