The Picture of Dorian Gray
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Is the sole purpose of art to create beauty?When Dorian Gray, a handsome, young Victorian gentleman obsessed withthe fleeting transience of his own beauty, becomes disturbed by aportrait that seems to capture too much of his soul, he makes a darkpact: He will remain forever young, while the age, disease and decaythat should affect his body ravage The Picture of Dorian Gray. Over theyears, Dorian Gray (Hurd Hatfield) revels in every imaginable pleasureand experience--altruistic, decadent or evil--while somehow maintaininghis youthful beauty even as the painting, locked away in a dark room,reveals an increasingly decaying, corrupt, aging visage. Although Graymay be able to avoid the ravages of time, he cannot escape the wrath ofpeople he wrongs over the years. And when his one lethal weakness isfinally discovered, Gray pays for all his evils in a shocking climax.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
Hurd Hatfield gives a fine and creepy performance as the indifferent and evil Dorian Gray. I found his face very mask-like and cold as I would imagine a person without a conscience to be. He harms and destroys people with the grace of the finest Victorian gentleman. He has sold his soul to the devil to remain eternally young and beautiful, as his painted portrait takes on what he has truly become.
I have seen the actual demonic portrait of Dorian Gray at the Art Institute of Chicago where it resides. It's even more horrific in person and it adds dimension to this movie, and truly shows the destortion of pure evil. This is exemplary in the fact that even though this movie is in black and white, when the painting is in the film frame, it is in technicolor. I think that even though Oscar Wilde has produced a wonderful literary piece, some credit needs to go to the artist, Ivan Albright, for producing such a stark visual reminder of how horrible the dark side of human nature can be.
George Sanders as Lord Henry Wotton should have won the Oscar that year for best supporting actor because his performance is faultless, brimming with style and wit. To my mind, he is Oscar Wilde, snobbish, intelligent and uses his tongue as a sword, cutting anyone down to size who cares to challenge him. Some of his lines from the screenplay are pure gems that Wilde is so famous for:
"I like persons better than principles and persons with no principles better than anything at all."
"Forgive me for the intelligence of my argument; I'd forgotten you were a Member of Parliament."
Dorian Gray (Hurd Hatfield) is a slightly effeminent aristocrat who makes a Faustian pact to gain eternal youth. Gray's portrait, however, reveals Gray's soul, as he plunges himself into the dark and criminal world of 19th century London. Gray is selfish, uncaring, and arrogant and portrays the true 19th century hedonist; a Wildean character in the truest sense, as the then infamous novel, during the famous Wilde trials, was partly responsible for his four year imprisonment. This was the time when homosexuality was illegal, and Oscar Wilde became a scapegoat for the English's notorious hypocrisy.
Angela Lansbury as Sibyl Vane won her the Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. She is beautiful in this role, touching and almost pitiful as her innocence is corrupted by the cruel Dorian Gray.Read more ›
Hurd Hatfield as Dorian Gray was the perfect choice. He has the look of someone who has been sheltered from the world. He looked untouched as he committed the evil the sealed his fate. Sanders and Hatfield were perfect together.
Angela Lansbury as Sibyl Vane has a short put very important role, you can hear her heart break when Dorian leaves her.
It is a slow and somber ride down the path to evil but that makes it so much more real.
Wonderful sets, great lighting, perfect casting, this film calls out for a DVD version stuffed with extras.
It should be done now while we still have some of the actors and crew from the film still alive.
Great film for a lonely night when the shadows are long and dark.
Cast commentaries by Angela Lansbury and film historian/screenwriter Steve Haberman
1945 MGM short Stairway To Light
1945 MGM cartoon Quiet Please!
I am particularly interested to hear Lansbury's comments on the film. She and Hurd Hatfield, the actor who portrayed Dorian, remained friends from the time they made this film until Hatfield's death in 1998. I am sure she will have many interesting things to say.
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