Handsome, young, but morally corrupt Dorian Gray has his portrait made. As the years pass, he does not age, but evidence of his sins are apparent in his portrait, which grows uglier with each transgression.
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Unlike some of the reviewers here, I think that Hurd Hatfield is perfect for the role. He's a mix of Buster Keaton and Bela Lugosi haunting White Chapel's foggy streets. One of my favorite movies of the fantastic genre. Masterpiece.
The perils of adaptation: Wilde's text can't conceivably be improved upon, and putting it on film meant using some trappings of 1940s gothic that make it feel more dated than an 1890s novel. E.g.: Dorian's wish granted by (I kid you not) a cursed Egyptian cat statue. But there are moments—in the photography, in George Saunders, in subtext—where it grasps Wilde's ideas and pulls off a few tricks of its own.
Was there ever anyone with a voice like Sanders? He epitomizes the upper-crust British d-bag. Lovely. The lead actor who's name escapes me gives a very underrated and reserved performance. A shame he wasnt given more leading roles. Cinematography is top form all the way through. An easy film to recommend
George Sanders is the PERFECT Lord Henry. I can't imagine anyone more fit for the role.
Meanwhile, I have no idea why so many film makers are hell-bent on portraying Dorian as Tall, Dark, & Handsome. He's a fair, young Adonis. I usually don't complain about small details like this, but I think it's important for any good adaptation of Dorian Gray.
Such a direful, boring and academic film. Lewin transformed the "picture of Dorian Gray" in a judgmental, beatified and heterossexual version. Clearly is completely missed the Wilde text and did the same thing that the painting did to Dorian in the end, he transformer one of the most magnificent narratives in a monster.
It is virtually impossible to do a film adaptation of Wilde's novel which will be satisfactory to all (most of them scored from bad to downright ridiculous). But Albert Lewin, created a visual object that exists on its own. The cast is nearly perfect. Sanders and Lansberry's performances are memorable. Hurt Hadfield captures the spirit of Dorian Gray and brings the character beyond how he should look.
I am truly disappointed with this film. In the (marvelous) book, Oscar Wilde described and wrote every detail about Dorian's personality and change through the years; in the film none of that is respected. The director added details and forgot the ones Oscar Wilde gave importance.