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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.


Albert Lewin


Albert Lewin (screen play), Oscar Wilde (based upon the novel by)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
George Sanders ... Lord Henry Wotton
Hurd Hatfield ... Dorian Gray
Donna Reed ... Gladys Hallward
Angela Lansbury ... Sibyl Vane
Peter Lawford ... David Stone
Lowell Gilmore ... Basil Hallward
Richard Fraser ... James Vane
Douglas Walton ... Allen Campbell
Morton Lowry ... Adrian Singleton
Miles Mander ... Sir Robert Bentley
Lydia Bilbrook Lydia Bilbrook ... Mrs. Vane
Mary Forbes Mary Forbes ... Lady Agatha
Robert Greig ... Sir Thomas
Moyna MacGill ... Duchess
Billy Bevan ... 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


The most unusual story to ever reach the screen. See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

3 March 1945 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray See more »


Box Office


$3,500,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Black and White | Color (Technicolor) (some sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Already established as a cabaret singer, Angela Lansbury plaintively intoned "Good-bye, Little Yellow Bird" (music and lyrics by C.W. Murphy and William Hargreaves) in this movie. Yet strangely, in her two subsequent MGM films, her singing would be dubbed by two phantom voices: Virginia Rees in The Harvey Girls (1946), a full-throttle Technicolor musical; and Doreen Tryden in The Hoodlum Saint (1946), a moody drama containing a couple of standards. In this film, Doreen Tryden, interestingly, supplied the off-screen voice for Donna Reed's reprise of "Good-bye, Little Yellow Bird." See more »


An American version of a Brit Railway Station - Toward the end of the movie Dorian (Hatfield) and Henry Wotton (Sanders) arrive at Selby Station, Yorkshire, England. The train pulls into the "stationhouse" platform which is to the most right-hand side coming UP from London. That would be correct for an American RR Station but the absolute wrong side for Britain; the Brits both drive on the left-hand side of the road and also run their trains that way. See more »


Lord Henry Wotton: I suppose in a fortnight or so, we shall be told he's been seen in San Francisco. It's an odd thing, but everyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world.
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Alternate Versions

Older TV prints of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" ran entirely in black-and-white, and did not show the painting in colour. Most current TV broadcasts now show the proper colour inserts. According to some sources, the final shot of the film was also originally shown in colour, but all extant prints show the final shot in black-and-white. See more »


Referenced in The Shape of Things (2003) See more »


by Herbert Stothart
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

It's only shallow people who require years to get rid of an emotion.
15 September 2013 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

The Picture of Dorian Gray is directed by Albert Lewin, and he also adapts the screenplay from the novel written by Oscar Wilde. It stars Hurd Hatfield, George Sanders, Angela Lansbury, Donna Reed, Peter Lawford, Lowell Gilmore, Richard Fraser and Douglas Walton. Music is by Herbert Stothart and cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr.

Dorian Gray of Mayfair and Selby.

Oscar Wilde's Faustian tale about a young Victorian gentleman who sells his soul to retain his youth, is given a magnificent make-over by MGM. Pumping into it a budget reputedly of $2 million, the look and feel is perfect for this macabre observation of vanity, greed and self destruction. In many ways it's still an under valued movie, mainly because there will always be Wilde purists who think it lacks the writer's poetic spikiness. While horror fans quite often venture into the picture expecting some sort of violent classic ripe with sex, drugs and debauchery unbound.

Lewin crafts his film in understated manner, never allowing the themes in the source material to become overblown just for dramatic purpose. He cloaks it all with an atmosphere of eeriness, keeping the debasing nature of Dorian Gray subdued. The horror aspects here mostly are implied or discussed in elegantly stated conversations, the horror in fact is purely in the characterisation of Dorian himself, we really don't need to see actual things on screen, we are urged to be chilled to the marrow by his mere presence, which works because Lewin has personalised us into this man's sinful descent by way of careful pacing and character formation.

There are some jolt moments of course, notably the famous inserts of Technicolor into the black and white film, the impact of such bringing the portrait of the title thundering into our conscious, but this is not about thrill rides and titillation, the film, like its source, is intellectual. Lewin is aided considerably by Stradling's beautiful photography, which in turn either vividly realises the opulent abodes or darkens the dens of iniquities, just like Lewin, Stradling and the art department work wonders and prove to be fine purveyors of their craft.

Hatfield is wonderful, it's an inspired piece of casting, with his angular features and cold dead eyes, he effortlessly suggests the black heart now beating where once there was a soul. Yet even he, and the rest of the impressive cast, is trumped by Sanders as Lord Henry. Cynical, brutal yet rich with witticisms, in Sanders' excellent hands Lord Henry becomes the smiling, devil like mentor perched on Dorian's shoulder. Dorian and Lord Henry are movie monsters, proof positive that not all monsters need to be seen hacking off limbs or drinking blood. In this case, the decaying of the soul is far more terrifying.

Fascinating, eloquent, intelligent and frightening, a true classic in fact. 9/10

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