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In 1886, in the Victorian London, the corrupt Lord Henry Wotton meets the pure Dorian Gray posing for talented painter Basil Hallward. Basil paints Dorian's portrait and gives the beautiful painting and an Egyptian sculpture of a cat to him while Henry corrupts his mind and soul telling that Dorian should seek pleasure in life. Dorian wishes that his portrait could age instead of him. Dorian goes to a side show in the Two Turtles in the poor neighborhood of London and he falls in love with the singer Sibyl Vane. Dorian decides to get married with her and tells to Lord Henry that convinces him to test the honor of Sibyl. Dorian Gray leaves Sibyl and travels abroad and when he returns to London, Lord Henry tells him that Sibyl committed suicide for love. Along the years, Dorian's friends age while he is still the same, but his picture discloses his evilness and corruptive life. Can he still have salvation or is his soul trapped in the doomed painting? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Ivan Le Lorraine Albright's famous painting of the decayed Dorian Gray - which took approximately one year to complete - is now owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, where it has been on display for many years. Albright's twin brother Malvin Albright, better known as a sculptor, was also commissioned to create a painting of the young Dorian for the film, although his work went unused. Henrique Medina did the portrait seen in the film. The March 27, 1944 issue of Life magazine included a story and photos of the brothers working on their paintings for the film. See more »
When Dorian confronts Allen Campbell with the blackmail letter in his drawing room, Allen sits at the round table, which has only the cat statue and the letter on it. In the next shot there is a writing implement on the table as well. See more »
It's hard to say what it is about "The Picture of Dorian Gray" that I enjoyed so much, but I did like it. Hurd Hatfield at first seems miscast and ineffective as the titular character, but somewhere around the one hour mark, his one and only expression begins to grow on you until you feel just as unnerved by his presence as those who come in contact with him in the story. George Sanders--from what I've seen--played one character his enter career but played it so well, and his performance in this film is no exception. Angela Lansbury is surprisingly sympathetic as the sad and timid singer. The only one in the cast who really doesn't work is Donna Reed. Her character feels tacked on, and she isn't allowed to do much but look faithful and beautiful.
The film is shot wonderfully, and Harry Stradling's cinematography gives the East End scenes a dark, atmospheric counter balance to the rather plain and flat interiors of Dorian's home. The swinging lamp was a nice touch and reminded me of "Psycho"'s finale.
I suppose my only criticism is toward the end, the story introduced one or two characters without giving them proper context or background (I'm thinking of the Allen Campbell character). I'm assuming Dorian "convinces" him to take part in his plans because of some sort past homosexual tryst, but it seemed unfair to bring him in they way he was, have him serve the role he does, and then disappear so quickly without explanation. And speaking of suggested themes: Is it just me, or could you make an argument that Dorian is Jack the Ripper? Maybe it's actually pretty obvious or maybe I'm just interpreting too much into the story, but that's what I got out of it.
P.S. I had the opportunity to see the actual painting from the film during an Ivan Albright exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1997. It's even more gruesome in person.
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