Dorian Gray (1970)

Article #1150 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-8-2004
Posting Date: 10-5-2004
Directed by Massimo Dallamano
Featuring Helmut Berger, Richard Todd, Herbert Lom

A young man wishes that a painting of him would age in his place, and the wish comes true.

It’s no surprise that this one was made; after all, the more permissive times of the sixties onwards opened up the gates for making explicit all the debauchery that is hinted at in the story. Unfortunately, the sex, violence and nudity is handled in that rather cheap, sleazy and exploitative style common to the time which undercuts the elegance and wit which are necessary in any handling of an Oscar Wilde story. Only Herbert Lom (in the character played by George Sanders in the 1945 version) manages to convey those qualities, but even with him, the few lines that actually come from Wilde himself seem out of place with the rest of the production. It was also a bit of a mistake to update the story to modern times; since the story itself takes place over a few decades, it’s hard to believe that any time is passing when the styles at the beginning of the movie look just the same as the styles at the end of the movie, which is a problem that is less noticeable when you leave the story in a period setting. The acting is mostly acceptable, though, and Helmut Berger is well cast in the title role. Nevertheless, when I want to see this story again, I know that it’s the 1945 version I will seek out.

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