Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Picture of Dorian Gray(1945)

The Picture of Dorian Gray(1945). Horror/drama, film based on the 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, his only novel. Director: Albert Lewin. Cast: George Sanders and Hurd Hatfield. The film was mainly shot in black-and-white, but featured two 3-strip Technicolor inserts of Dorian's portrait for effect (one of his portrait's original state, and the second after a major period of degeneracy).

I thought I had seen the film Dorian Gray, until I saw the picture begin to change.. The story begins with, Dorian Gray, half wishing to remain young for eternity, unknowingly sells his soul so that a portrait will age instead of him. The wish, made in the presence of an ancient Egyptian Cat statuette of the goddess Bast, comes true.

Over the next eighteen years, Dorian lives a life of sin, influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton. Who reminds you of the saying... "with friends like him...who needs enemies?" His sins include: ruining his romance with vaudeville singer Sibyl Vane. Later, he murders Basil Hallward, after he sees the horrible state of his portrait, and then blackmailing an old friend to dispose of Basil's body, frequenting opium dens and defiling Basil's young niece Gladys. He keeps his picture locked in a high room in his London house. As an evil reminder to which he has given his life. Will he ever turn his life around or continue down his evil path?

I thought Hurd Hatfield's performance, was very interesting, in that he wears the same expression throughout the film, to conceal his emotions.

Fun Fact:

Albright's painting of Dorian Gray, used in the film was painted on commission during the making of the film in 1943-1944 by Ivan Le Lorraine Albright, an American artist who was well-known as a painter of the macabre. Created specifically for use in the film, it is now part of the art collection of The Art Institute of Chicago.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapters; the amended version was published by Ward, Lock, and Company in April 1891. The story is often mistitled The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

George Sanders (3 July 1906 – 25 April 1972). His smooth, English accent and British manner put him in demand for American films. He played many supporting roles in the films such as, Rebecca and Rage in Heaven. He was also the lead in the films: The Falcon and The Saint film series. In 1942 Sanders handed off the Falcon role to his brother Tom, in The Falcon's Brother. The only other film in which the two brothers performed together was, Death of a Scoundrel (1956).

Sanders played Lord Henry Wotton, in the film, The Picture of Dorian Gray(1945). In 1947 he co-starred with Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison in, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. That same year he gave one of his bet known performances, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami. He and also performed biblical epic, Samson and Delilah (1949).

In 1950 Sanders drew his most popular role in the film, All About Eve, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He then starred in the film, Ivanhoe(1952). His career spanned over 40 years.

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