The Picture of Dorian Gray - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Picture of Dorian Gray Reviews

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½ April 9, 2018
Harry Stradling's photography is eerily accurate, the story has literally timeless relevance and behind it all is a careful character study of good and desire.
½ April 3, 2018
A film adaptation of one of the legendary Oscar Wilde's literary works, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" embodies many of the gothic and haunting qualities of 1940's Dramas and Horrors. This film is a combination of both film genres as it tells a reality-mixed-with-fantasy story that remains relatable over a century later (take a look at pop culture's love of selfies during the 2010s versus a painted portrait of oneself from decades past). Despite over relying on a narrator to tell the original literature and some rushed scenes when characters need to talk to one another, this 1945 adaptation delivers the suspense through beautifully shot camera work, huge sets (to make one feel small), and stinging music.
The crew wisely invest in technicolour to shoot the portrait in to greatly show the beauty and the horror that it encapsulates. It brings a care of attention to the largely black and white film. Not only that, but the painting looks splendid in both depictions! Therefore, I give a shout out to those artists that worked on them.
I must also compliment Hurd Hatfield's performance as the titular character. It is he who also helps keep the film suspenseful and interesting. As Dorian, Hatfield delivers a performance that starts as naive and innocent, but as the film progresses, he becomes increasingly quirky, dark, uneasy, and creepy through his body language, mannerisms (he starts playing with a knife near the end of the film), speech, and even his piano playing.
I don't think "The Picture of Dorian Gray" will immediately grab everybody's attention and I don't know how accurate this adaptation is from the book, but for my experience, the film grew on me like a pulsating fungus from beginning to end. It left my imagination open to consider what crimes Dorian may or may not have performed outside of the tragedies he was responsible for that are shown on film. Furthermore, the take home message really is one that is powerful and it amazes me how true it continues to be to this very day. I think this film deserves more recognition and it makes me want to read Wilde's original piece.
½ March 5, 2018
He's never so evil that you root against him. And never so good that you root for him. Good performances, but kind of a story in search of a home. The only likable character dies quickly. Struggles to find itself at times, but fortunately ties it all together by the end. Pretty strong motifs. Excellent cast. Hot 20-year old Angela Lansbury! Overall, a worthwhile adaptation.
"Don't squander the gold of your days."
December 9, 2017
Pretty good film from 1945. It is pretty slow paced, but worth a watch if you like watching old films. This is one of Angela Lansbury's early films.
½ May 4, 2017
Horrendously unwatchable. It's just too outdated. (First and only viewing - 4/30/2016)
½ March 26, 2017
A Victorian-era gothic drama and a tense psychological thriller, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" depicts a man's decay at the loss of his youth.
July 16, 2016
This film version of the legendary novel by Oscar Wilde is quite strong and faithful to the original in spite of the strict times for the cinema. The horror scenes of the movie are particularly awesome and excellent.
March 22, 2016
This struck me as very slow and somber indeed. The set is crowded with many artworks related to Buddhist, Hindu and other Eastern religions, and writings from Eastern religious are routinely quoted. Why this is so is not made clear. Was it a passing fad? Dorian seems to live in an exquisite, vaguely Oriental funeral home. You wouldn't want to visit there. Angela Lansbury is charming but passive. She is, in fact, sort of like a wet mop, under Dorian's cruel spell. Along comes Donna Reed -- all these lovely ladies fall for this creepy, odd, supposedly "beautiful" man. Very strange,indeed. The famous portrait is the worst thing in the film, especially the supposedly "corrupted" version, which resembles the cover of Mad Magazine. I doubt if the same artist painted both, as they are in completely different styles. All sorts of sexual depravities are alluded to, but the movie remains oddly chaste. stiff and cold.
March 21, 2016
George Sanders is brilliant as always.
½ February 3, 2016
Oscar Wilde's classic story about the pursuit of sin is translated in an early version here. Typical drama of the "Golden Age" of Hollywood, it is a standard good movie all around. Not a classic film, but a great story we wish could be done a lot better and more suspenseful in a modern remake. It's unfortunate that the 2009 remake, "Dorian Gray" did not do a better job.
½ November 2, 2015
I feel that, mostly, this was a fair adaptation of this bizarre and wonderful novel. Much of the movie was near verbatim of the book, (with some notable differences.) I would have rated it higher except for, SPOILER, the weak and gratuitous grasp at explaining the curse of Dorian's youth with an Egyptian cat, not to mention the maudlin scene of repentance at the end which defeated the entire point Wilde was making about human depravity. (I suppose the times the movie was made in required salvation for Gray in the end.) Also, I must add, Hurd Hatfield, while in many ways very suited for the part, had a terribly distracting acne issue, I suppose from his youth, that really glares in high definition. George Sanders was diabolically devine as Dorian's constant tempter and corrupter. Oh, and yes, Donna Reed!
½ November 2, 2015
Hollywood took note, honoring director of photography Harry Stradling with an Oscar for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, and Lansbury with a Best Supporting Actress nomination. The movie is probably most famous today, however, for an almost William Castle-like gimmick: The film is in black and white, but the insert shots of Dorian's portrait are in Technicolor. The movie's one murder takes place in the presence of that portrait, in the playroom where the painting is hidden; when a hanging lamp is bumped during the struggle, the eerie back-and-forth swing of the shadows suggests where Hitchcock may have gotten the idea for the cellar climax of "Psycho.?? The grotesquely devolved final version of the painting was the work of Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, a then well-respected artist who specialized in intentionally and extraordinarily ugly portraits; it now can be found at the Art Institute of Chicago.
½ October 24, 2015
The black and white starkness and non hysterical steady acting of the females in this 1945 movie were a treat to watch!
August 9, 2015
I always hear complaints amongst people of my generation that "old" movies are so boring, which I have to disagree with since a good deal of the greatest films ever made were in the "black and white" era. There are even terrific comedies among these movies including Arsenic and Old Lace and The Apartment. However, there do exist some very boring older movies, and this is one of them.

The premise of this movie is great, and I feel the filmmakers could have made something very special with this premise. This Dorian Gray receives a portrait at the beginning of the story, and he makes an observation that he will age while the portrait will conserve his youth, but he makes a "wish" in a sense that the reverse could happen, and what do you know, it does.

In a way this story is like the opposite of the popular story Beauty and the Beast: Dorian's corrupt nature is hidden inside his youthful appearance for decades. It is hard to tell when time passes in the film since Dorian never ages while new characters/actors are introduced throughout the film. I did not realize for a while that Donna Reed's character was an older version of a kid at the beginning of the film. The only clear indication that time had passed for me was when somebody states "Dorian Gray has looked 22 for the past twenty years" (not sure if twenty is the correct number).

The most interesting segments of this film are the moments when Dorian revisits his portrait to find the picture magically altered to show a hideous beast instead of his youthful self - it illustrates his corrupt soul which nobody can see with the naked eye.

Unfortunately, the film feels very long with little excitement happening to entertain the audience. Not every movie needs to be entertaining, and I like "high culture" films, but the thematic content simply did not make up for the slow pace of the film in my opinion.
½ April 23, 2015
Time is jealous of you.

In 1886 Dorian Gray is an awkward socialite that is good for the most part. He meets a corrupt Lord Henry Wotten who decides to tell Dorian to travel abroad despite the love of his life being home. Meanwhile, Dorian heads into the slums of London and has a strange painter paint his image. When Dorian returns from his trip, he discovers his lover killed herself and he will no longer age; instead, the image of himself in the painting ages. Unfortunately, Dorian's new state makes him worse and worse as a person. Is Dorian doomed to be a young, egotistical, ever living figure with his true self trapped in the painting or will Dorian find a way out of this mess?

"I have all I need: drink, drugs, and no friends."

Albert Lewin, director of Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, The Moon and Sixpence, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami, and The Living Idol, delivers The Picture of Dorian Gray. The storyline for this picture is very well done as the settings, costumes, dialogue, and feel all fit the content perfectly. The acting was also very good as the cast includes George Sanders, Angela Lansbury, Donna Reed, Hurd Hatfield, and Miles Mander.

"He has gone to kill your friend."
"Justice has come to England."

I came across this film a long time ago on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and decided to DVR this gem. I am glad I did. The content unfolds so well and the characters are fascinating. Dorian Gray is an underrated and interesting historical character in the mold of Dracula and Frankenstein. I strongly recommend seeing this.

"I apologize for the intelligence of my remarks."

Grade: A-
½ March 1, 2015
has a strange sense of creepiness but still has.some shocking values to it.
½ February 19, 2015
A good tribute to the Oscar Wilde novel.
½ January 30, 2015
A very good adaptation of the classic, literary story. Perhaps a little too literal for the modern audience, but nevertheless loyal to its source.
October 8, 2014
Theatrical, sophisticated, funny, meditative, and gorgeously filmed.
April 5, 2014
Holds up well for such an old movie. This version is more about the deregulation of morals rather than of age. Much more thoughtful than the later versions.
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