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The Picture of Dorian Gray

4.6 out of 5 stars 267 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Picture Of Dorian Gray, The (1945) (DVD)

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.

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These nip/tuck, Botoxed times would seem to be ripe for a remake of Oscar Wilde's ageless story of youth-worshiping aristocrat Dorian Gray. Until then, we have this 1945 prestige production starring Hurd Hatfield as Dorian, who, under the influence of the incorrigible Lord Henry Wotton, vows to live only for pleasure and to give in to all "exquisite temptations." While he sinks into a vile life of decadence and corruption, he remains young, while his painted portrait becomes "an emblem of his own conscience," growing more hideous as Gray becomes more monstrous. Angela Lansbury was nominated for an Academy Award for her heartbreaking performance as innocent singer Sibyl Vane, the first victim of Gray's callousness. George Sanders is at his contemptuous best as the cynical Lord Wotton, wringing every drip of disdain out of such Wilde-isms as, "I always choose my friends for their good lucks and my enemies for their good intellects." This pristine transfer does full justice to the film's Oscar-winning black and white cinematography (with vivid Technicolor inserts of the mesmerizing painting). With entertaining extras that replicate an old fashioned night at the movies, including a trailer and two Oscar-winning shorts, the Tom & Jerry cartoon, "Quiet Please" and "Stairway to Light," and affectionate, detailed, and illuminating commentary by Lansbury and film historian and screenwriter Steve Haberman, this DVD is suitable for framing. --Donald Liebenson

Special Features

SPECIAL FEATURES: • Commentary by Angela Lansbury and Historian Steve Haberman • Oscar-Winning** Short Stairway to Light • Oscar-Winning** Cartoon Quiet Please! • Theatrical Trailer • Subtitles: English , Français & Español (Feature Film Only).

Product Details

  • Actors: George Sanders, Hurd Hatfield, Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury, Peter Lawford
  • Directors: Albert Lewin
  • Format: Black & White, Subtitled, Full Screen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OHBCI8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,113 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Picture of Dorian Gray" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on May 13, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This film belies itself in that it's presence seems very innocent and moral on the outside, afterall it's a vintage MGM movie set in the aristocratic culture of Victorian England. However, take these layers away and you have a very creepy and horrific movie. This reminded me of Hitchcock film due to the light atmosphere and surroundings with the deep undertones of the dark side of human nature.
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.
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Format: VHS Tape
This 1945 film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic novella is more that likely the best adaptation one will ever see. This may seem to be a big statement, but Albert Lewin's direction along with Harry Stradling Sr.'s Oscar winning Cinematography for 1946, appears almost flawless when comparing the classic novel with the film.

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.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is a wonderful film, filled with atmosphere and wonderful actors. George Sanders is outstanding as Lord Henry Wotton. Never have I heard someone make evil sound so appealing. You can just feel the blackness going into Dorian's heart as he listens to him speak his honeyed words.
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.
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Format: DVD
The classic moral/horror tale is to finally be released on DVD by Warner Home Video. The story has a Jekyl and Hyde type quality with Dorian making a wish after his portrait is painted that he will remain eternally young while his portrait grows old. George Sanders plays Dorian's "friend", Lord Henry Wotton, who tempts Dorian to live a life of debauchery. Sanders was born to plays such roles. Dorian follows Wotton's advice with gusto, living a rather secret second life. All the while the portrait grows hideous in appearance, mirroring the state of Dorian's soul, while Dorian retains his youthful angelic appearance. It is a single DVD release with the following extra features:

Cast commentaries by Angela Lansbury and film historian/screenwriter Steve Haberman
1945 MGM short Stairway To Light
1945 MGM cartoon Quiet Please!
Theatrical trailer

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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