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In this version of Oscar Wilde's tale, Dorian Gray is an actress who, desperate to become a worldwide star, makes a deal that switches her soul to her image on film, then proceeds to sleep her way to the top, knowing that she will never age. Written by
I have always admired the work of Oscar Wilde, and 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' has been one of my favourite examples of his work, since I read it at about aged 12.
It has been made into films a few times, with varying degrees of success.
The earlier 1945 film version with Hurd Hatfield and George Sanders was the epitome, in my opinion, and has yet to be equalled.
This 1980's TV-movie version is another attempt, and is certainly off-beat. It moves the tale up into the (late) 20th century, and this poses some stretching of the imagination when it comes to the characters, although it would have made location shooting a lot simpler....
In this version, the most obvious deviation was the choice of making Dorian a female, played quite well by the gorgeous Belinda Bauer, who we had seen earlier, in 'Archer, Fugitive of the Empire'.
In this case, the 'picture' of Dorian is a film screen test on celluloid that she makes at the beginning, and after she makes her wish for eternal youth and beauty, she feels that she must secrete this film away, and protect it, so that no ill will happen to her.
After this, she goes off and seduces whomever she fancies, drinks and parties just as she wishes, while the cine film slowly assumes the ageing and the scars of her debauchery. Meanwhile, all her friends and colleagues around her age at their natural paces, and they cannot believe that Dorian is still young and beautiful.
Occasionally, she sets up the projector, and in the privacy of her own home, plays the screen test. In each subsequent re-playing, her image is noticeably older and more depraved looking. Towards the end, the image is almost unbelievably ugly and dishevelled, and this of course, brings things to a head, as expected.
I found the film to be completely likable, and the characters were good to watch, although a little contrived. Never mind, this IS a B-grade TV movie.
Anthony Perkins plays Anthony Perkins to a tee in this one....you just sit there, waiting for the Norman Bates character to appear, but it doesn't. It's one of his 'goodie' roles.....
I still have this on Beta (Say What?) tape, and I haven't watched it for about 15 years, so tonight, I'll open a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, and run that film just one more time.......for the buzz.
And for Belinda...
"The Opener of the Way is Waiting"
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