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The Picture of Dorian Gray

A hedonist receives a painting of himself that appears to change over time.

 

United States
1945
Feature Film
Realism: 
Supernatural
Black & White
Object: 
Painting
4
Picture-perfect...
5.04
5.04
7.04
6
2
3
2
Photography
Pace
Editing
The Picture of Dorian Gray is the ultimate horror story about the consequences of hedonism: the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence, basically. This movie is an adaptation of a novel by Oscar Wilde in which a young man stops aging once he receives a cursed portrait of himself. The portrait ages for him and takes evil traits as Gray rots from the inside.
This story starts in 1886 London but it is an American production. It is a black and white film except for some close-up shots of the infamous portrait that are presented in Technicolor. The costumes are magnificent, the sets are gorgeous and the actors are classy. Happiness and love are the main themes, and they soon turn into their exact opposite.
A narrator reminds us that this is based on a book. His voice takes care of fast forwarding us through some pages. Dorian’s love story starts early and ends a few minutes later. The movie has pacing issues, slow moments and drag for too long during the last act. It spans over many years and at no point is the magic behind the painting explicitly described to us.
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