From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Obsession is a 1976 psychological thriller/mystery directed by Brian De Palma, starring Cliff Robertson, Geneviève Bujold, and John Lithgow. The screenplay was by Paul Schrader, from a story by De Palma and Schrader. Bernard Herrmann provided the film's soundtrack. The story is about a New Orleans businessman who is haunted by guilt following the death of his wife and daughter during a kidnapping-rescue attempt. Years after the tragedy, he meets and falls in love with a young woman who is the exact look-alike of his long dead wife.
Both De Palma and Schrader have pointed to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958) as the major inspiration for Obsession's narrative and thematic concerns. Schrader's script was extensively rewritten and pared down by De Palma prior to shooting, causing the screenwriter to proclaim complete disinterest in the film's subsequent production and release. Completed in 1975, Columbia Pictures picked up the distribution rights but demanded that minor changes be made to reduce potentially controversial aspects of the plot. When finally released in the late summer of 1976, it became De Palma's first substantial box office success and received a mixed response from critics.