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The Picture of Dorian Gray Reviews

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Super Reviewer

September 30, 2013
This is the film version of Oscar Wilde's classic tale about a man whose physical appearance remains the same despite his depravity.
Finally, Wilde's tale is adapted faithfully. In this film version, Dorian is not a magical superhero/villain a la The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or a horribly corrupt murderer a la Dorian Gray. He is instead appropriately narcissistic and tortured. Within Hurd Hatfield's performance is a healthy conscience that manifests in his eyes but not the rest of his physiognomy. The real improvement comes in the performance of George Sanders who captures Wilde's Lord Henry perfectly. Dorian Gray with Colin Firth posited that depravity was the logical extension of Lord Henry's philosophy, but Sanders's performance correctly captures what Wilde might have said: that fun is the logic extension of Lord Henry's philosophy. There's a big jump between a philosophy that deifies the aesthetic and a philosophy that finds beauty in murder. This seems like an obvious point, but of the adaptations I've seen, only director Albert Lewin seems to understand it.
Overall, if you really hate reading but still want to see a version of Oscar Wilde's novel, then see this one.
Mr Awesome
Mr Awesome

Super Reviewer

April 20, 2011
Oscar Wilde's famous novel is brought to life in this pretty faithful adaptation by director/writer Albert Lewin. Some of the homosexual subtext has been toned down, and Dorian's spiraling descent into depravity is alluded to so vaguely that one could ascribe just about anything to it. I wasn't a fan of the novel, mainly because I found the philosophies and witticisms to be meaningless. For example (and just to pull something off the top of my head), "it's the man who never thirsts whose cup is always full". I just made that up, it means nothing, yet could mean something if someone bothered to think about it. There is a character in the book spouting off such witticisms every third sentence, and it becomes grating after a while. Anyway, while the film was very keen on the superficial aspects of re-creating the story, I don't think it touched on the true heart of the novel, the fear of lost youth or the nihilistic approach to life that Dorian is led to by an evil mentor (all the more evil that he corrupts Dorian just for simple fun, rather than any ulterior motive). I suppose it's a lot to expect from 1940s hollywood. In any event, what we have here is a completely passable version of Dorian Gray.

Super Reviewer

November 3, 2010
A solid adaptation of the novel, a bit dated and slugish in it's pacing. Special mention to the fully colored painting the movie wisely uses as the only image of color, truly creepy stuff.

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
An interesting story, it makes me want to read the book, to see if it's better than the movie.

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2007
Classy, chilling version of the famed story. George Saunders is a silky caddish delight. Both Angela Lansbury and Donna Reed are impossibly young and lovely. Angela is wonderful in a tragic role.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

May 4, 2007
Rockin film that is sadly not on DVD
*cough?* torrent *cough cough*

Stunning cinematography and delightful performances really bring this forgotten classic to life.
Byron B

Super Reviewer

March 5, 2007
Fairly stiff adaptation of the Oscar Wilde book. Lacks inventiveness in camera work. The first few times that we see the picture it is in color to highlight it in this predominately black and white film, but this is not a smooth effect. The swinging lantern causing shifting light and shadows over Dorian in a final psychologically tormenting scene is the one exception of visual interest. I didn't find this novel of Wilde's as appealing as some of his plays. It went off on too many tangents to cover the various fleeting hobbies that occupy Dorian's long life as a young man. Of course a movie must eliminate a lot of such tangents to maintain a two hour run time, so I liked that aspect. Also the satire of 19th century British society wasn't as concise as it could have been in the book. I very quickly saw the lessons intended to be learned by Dorian's flaws, yet the story goes on and on. In the movie George Sanders embodies the Sophistic Lord Henry, but he speaks so quickly I couldn't follow every word. Hurd Hatfield, who was an unknown to me, was not what I imagined the boyish, good looking, and genteel, at least on the surface, Dorian would be. So the movie condenses the plot of the book, but they add a young girl who grows up over the time that Dorian appears not to age for another unnecessary romantic subplot. Angela Lansbury makes the character of Sybil a songbird instead of a Shakespearean actress adept at any romantic role. Dorian plays the piano, so they have a connection through music, but the "theme" song of their romance isn't particularly meaningful to the rest of the story and the end of Sybil isn't as climactic. A mediocre adaptation that doesn't really plumb the depths of Dorian Gray's evil.

Super Reviewer

June 3, 2009
This is a pretty good rendering of Oscar Wilde's distinctive story of "The Picture of Dorian Gray", with generally good atmosphere. The entire cast is excellent; the direction fine; the sets, lighting, costuming and photography superlative. The score is brilliant, underscoring each action with a perfect balance of compositional originality and orchestrational beauty.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

February 18, 2009
This movie was too long and was a little obvious what was happening for most of the movie.
Marion R

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2009
I really enjoyied this film. It's a great adaptation of Wilde's original work. I especially love the portrait at the end of the film.
cody f

Super Reviewer

May 5, 2008
A solid film with a great script and supurb acting. Great production with a loyal adaptation of the book that keeps you interested throughout. It also has George Sanders who always delivers.

Super Reviewer

June 6, 2007
It's a bit dated, and looks a bit empty, in a way, but so was Gray's life.

It's actually a wonderful adaptation. Rent it.
May 4, 2013
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) -- [7.5] -- A young man's soul is transferred to a mysterious portrait that bears the decay and debauchery of his lifestyle. The most interesting thing about this Oscar Wilde tale is that you are never told what Dorian Gray's sins are, though the film adaptation hints at everything from drugs and alcohol to carnal sins with both men and women. Hurd Hatfield plays the icy cold Gray, while George Sanders steals the show as the witty Wilde-like Lord Henry. Angela Lansbury co-stars as the first object of Gray's affection and victimization. (The scene in which Gray coerces her to spend her first night with him is my favorite.) The equally attractive supporting cast includes Donna Reed, Peter Lawford, and Lowell Gilmore. Great acting all around, with gorgeous Oscar-winning cinematography and a romantic score by Herbert Stothart.
November 25, 2009
Love this movie! I first saw it when I was a girl. Even though I didn't quite understand it then, I still enjoyed it. Hurd Hatfield was da bomb! Seeing it now and understanding all of it makes me want to get a copy of my own, instead of renting out from netflix.
April 17, 2008
Stuart Townsend as Dorian Gray in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen = good cinema. This ancient crap = not so much. Donna Reed????? Where's George Bailey?
January 28, 2008
Pretty fasinating classic movie. What the power and influence of one's words can do. This is also a redemptive story of a man who repents of his evil life, although realized a little late in the game.
September 27, 2006
A. This is not a horror movie B. This is one of the all time classics. C. Why is this on pg 31, sorted by popularity, of the horror movie list?
September 3, 2008
What if someone drew a magnificent picture of you in all your glorious self at the height of your beauty? What if that painting captured your fascination and you wished to forever resemble its beauty that is yourself at that moment? What if your greatest wish was to live forever with that beauty at all cost? That is what this film is about. It hauntingly brings to life Oscar Wilde's tale of young man who becomes obsessed with keeping his vanity and following the heartless advice of his newest charming friend. Hurd Hatfield is simply marvelous as the main character who finds out the cruel reality that a seemingly simple wish can have upon the very soul. He is Dorian Gray man bereft of soul, but forever young in feature and innocent in face. He is surrounded by a sublime cast including the ever aristocratic George Sanders, Lord Henry Wotton, who leaves an indelible mark on the philosophy of the tortured soul that is to become Gray. As well there is the kind hearted artist of the portrait and perhaps closest friend of Gray, Basil Hallward played by a calming Lowell Gilmore. On the other side of the spectrum are the women of Gray's life, the loves of his life, the tragic Sibyl, perhaps Gray's first great love played by a particularly young and beautiful Angela Lansbury with a nice soft voice, and entranced Gladys Hallward, played by a ever charming Donna Reed, who swears eternal love to Gray from childhood, a crush that can't be destroyed by age, literally. The film is greatly well paced with its only shortcomings originating from the convention of some of the haunting score itself. A gem of a film, directed by Albert Lewin that has the right touch of color to its morbid affair.
June 24, 2007
Homosexual implications abound! Hurd Hatfield, what a beautiful man - and this one reminds me of conversations about Dorian Gray at three am.
June 19, 2007
My God!!! What a surprise to stumble into this film on TMC! I didn't know Oscar Wilde wrote the original novel. The actor who played Dorian was frightening. He really looked the part: a man with no soul.
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