The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

Article #118 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 7-12-2001
Posting date: 11-25-2001

A young man, fearful for the loss of his youth, wishes that a portrait of his would age instead of him. The wish comes true, as the picture starts reflecting the effects of time and debauchery instead of his own body.

Of all the famous authors I know of, Oscar Wilde seems to be one of the last ones I would have thought to have penned a classic horror novel: however, I am not surprised that the one he did write would have been along these lines. I don’t think the Dorian Gray story is quite as compelling to horror fans as certain other classics, and I think part of the reason is that it covers a lot of the same ground as the more adaptable Jekyll and Hyde story, in that they both deal with the seduction of man by his own innate evil, as well as taking place in the same basic milieu. Still, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie, and though I haven’t read the novel in many years, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that many of the witty nuggets of conversation voiced by Sir Henry Wotton (George Sanders—now that is exquisite casting) are from the original novel. It is fascinating watching the gradual transformation of Hurd Hatfield’s Dorian Gray from an innocent young man into a truly amoral cad. The use of occasional color (in the close-ups of the actual picture) is also a nice touch. Donna Reed, Angela Lansbury, and Peter Lawford also show up in the cast.

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