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The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy, Horror | 3 March 1945 (USA)
A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.



(screen play), (based upon the novel by)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hurd Hatfield ...
Lowell Gilmore ...
Richard Fraser ...
Douglas Walton ...
Morton Lowry ...
Sir Robert Bentley
Lydia Bilbrook ...
Mary Forbes ...
Robert Greig ...
Sir Thomas
Malvolio Jones - Chairman


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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Youth's adventure in living! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 March 1945 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray  »

Box Office


$3,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)


| (Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Oscar Wilde's Dorian was blonde-haired, blue-eyed and highly emotional, but Albert Lewin's conception of Dorian was of an icy, distant character. 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 »


Lord Henry Wotton: I'm analyzing women at present. The subject is less difficult than I was led to believe. Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals.
See more »


Version of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1913) See more »


Moonlight Sonata
by Ludwig van Beethoven
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A timeless piece -- Black and White classics with touches of color. It's about the mystery of living.
2 May 1999 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

It is a mystery. Or is it mind over matter? The power of a mysterious painting depicted in this timeless tale of Oscar Wilde's imagination -- probing the depth of life's meaning.

It's costume drama, story began in London 1886. Definitely has an element of intrigue -- "a painting with a life of its own". It's eerie. It's dramatic. Its theme is scary. Such is a "deadly" wish of the main character, Dorian Gray: "If only the picture (a portrait of Dorian Gray) can change, and I can always be as I am now. I'd give my soul for that." Dorian Gray's obsession with youth became eternal youth.

Imagine that as time goes by, he will always stay the same rich attractive young man that he is -- never grow old, while the picture will take on the changes -- his soul and character. Conscience, no longer he has -- the picture took it on. The story describes how Dorian Gray spends his life henceforth and the consequences that entail.

A very young Angela Lansbury, after her debut in George Cuckor's 1944 "Gaslight", portrays the innocent young actress Sibyl Vane from the poor side of town. The bet between the characters of George Sanders and Hurd Hatfield brought to mind the cruel intentions of Neil LaBute's 1997 "In the Company of Men". George Sanders is the cynical callous Lord Henry Wotton. The events all happen in a seemingly civil manner, immersed in the society of the rich. Have and have-nots are juxtaposed.

The film is essentially in Black and White, with only the specific content of the picture of Dorian Gray in color when we see it through Dorian's eyes.

It's another B/W classics gem, well-cut and impeccably presented. It encompasses sentiments and all elements: mystery, intrigue, love lost, friendships, regrets, and fear. Dorian Gray with a tormented inside -- pining for the return of his soul. Is this the Devil's advocate? You see no hell depicted as in Vincent Ward's 1998 "What Dreams May Come", or Woody Allen's 1997 "Deconstructing Harry" or Taylor Hackford's 1998 "The Devil's Advocate". No glamorous, elaborate take on the Devil, but the atmosphere provided that suggestion. There's no special effects, yet you can feel the twistedness: a man asking for help within yet unable to help himself because he's a lost soul. The temperature of the movie seems like being in 10 degree Celsius -- cold in sentiment and tone. There was a glimmer of warmth -- it flickered and faded with the innocent Sibyl Vane character.

The subject matter is timeless even though the film was made in 1945. The story is fascinating in spite of the pace which may not be at breakneck speed as in today's action packed, sound effects filled movies.

You can say it's pseudo sci-fi -- a foreboding tale it is. By and by, Dorian Gray's unchanging mask-like face reminds me of "Mr. Sardonicus" (William Castle's 1961). His behaviors are no longer placid -- gradually turning into hideous evils. This film questions one's probity. The mystery of life is to live it not to attain immortality. How uninteresting it'd be to be changeless and ageless? (John Boorman's 1974 sci-fi "Zardoz" with Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling came to mind). Growth and change are intrinsic elements of life. Life and death go hand in hand cyclically. A truly worthwhile effort from writer/director Albert Lewin.

59 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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