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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Dorian Gray can be found here.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel by Irish writer Oscar Wilde [1854-1900]. First appearing in the June 20th, 1890 edition of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, the story was revised and published again in 1891. The novel was adapted for this movie by screenwriter Toby Finlay.
Yes. Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray is in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg.
From those who have both seen the movie and read the book, the consensus is that the film is not a literal translation of the novel, but it does capture the heart of the story, i.e.,the painting of a portrait that becomes twisted into an evil pact, the way that Lord Henry Wotten swayed Dorian Gray into a life of debauchery, and how Dorian attempts to atone for his ways when life catches up to him. However, there are some substantial differences between the movie and the novel. One is the addition in the film of Emily Wotten (Rebecca Hall) who does not figure at all in the novel.
The children playing around the effigy and asking for "a penny for the guy" were celebrating Guy Fawkes Day. Guy Fawkes [1570-1606] was a Catholic who took part of a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England, an act known as The Gunpowder Plot. Fawkes was subsequently hanged, drawn, and quartered in the Old Palace Yard in Westminster. It remains the custom in Britain, on 5 November, to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day with fireworks and a bonfire. In the weeks running up to the 5th, children make "guy" effigies of Fawkes from old clothes, newspapers, and a mask to be burnt on the bonfire.
Dorian makes arrangements to leave London with Emily. At Dorian's farewell party, Harry makes a comment to Dorian about bartering his soul, and Dorian suspects that Harry knows the truth. Dorian rushes home, but Harry has beaten him and discovered the portrait in the attic. While Dorian tries to stop him from viewing it, Harry tosses a lamp at the portrait, setting it on fire. Harry then locks the attic gate, trapping Dorian inside. Emily races upstairs to Dorian. She begs him to give her the key, but Dorian refuses and swears his love for her. Harry drags Emily away as the portrait burns and the image growls and howls. Dorian grabs a sword and stabs the portrait. As the portrait burns, Dorian becomes the image and is consumed in the fire. In the final scene, Harry is speaking to Lady Agatha on the telephone. He wishes that Emily would talk to him again. Picking up a cigarette and coughing, he hangs up and heads to the attic to see Basil's portrait of Dorian. "Poor boy," he says. "Who can bear to look at you now?" He locks the door and leaves the attic.
Viewers have interpreted this scene both ways, some suggesting that the soul in the painting was transferred back to Dorian's body, killing them both, while others suggest that Dorian's soul became trapped in his portrait. It's each viewer's choice as to how they wish to interpret the ending. Here's the ending text from Oscar Wilde's novel for you to make up your own mind.
He looked round, and saw the knife that had stabbed Basil Hallward. He had cleaned it many times, till there was no stain left upon it. It was bright, and glistened. As it had killed the painter, so it would kill the painter's work, and all that that meant. It would kill the past, and when that was dead he would be free. It would kill this monstrous soul-life, and, without its hideous warnings, he would be at peace. He seized the thing, and stabbed the picture with it.There was a cry heard, and a crash. The cry was so horrible in its agony that the frightened servants woke, and crept out of their rooms. Two gentlemen, who were passing in the Square below, stopped, and looked up at the great house. They walked on till they met a policeman, and brought him back. The man rang the bell several times, but there was no answer. Except for a light in one of the top windows, the house was all dark. After a time, he went away and stood in an adjoining portico and watched."Whose house is that, constable?" asked the elder of the two gentlemen."Mr. Dorian Gray's, sir," answered the policeman.They looked at each other, as they walked away and sneered. One of them was Sir Henry Ashton's uncle.Inside, in the servants' part of the house, the half-clad domestics were talking in low whispers to each other. Old Mrs. Leaf was crying and wringing her hands. Francis was as pale as death.After about a quarter of an hour, he got the coachman and one of the footmen and crept upstairs. They knocked, but there was no reply. They called out. Everything was still. Finally, after vainly trying to force the door, they got on the roof, and dropped down on to the balcony. The windows yielded easily; their bolts were old.When they entered they found, hanging upon the wall, a splendid portrait of their master as they had last seen him, in all the wonder of his exquisite youth and beauty. Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress, with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage. It was not till they had examined the rings that they recognised who it was.The End
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