The Picture of Dorian Gray | Chicago Reader

The Picture of Dorian Gray

110 minutes

The underrated Albert Lewin (Pandora and the Flying Dutchman, The Moon and Sixpence), a sort of Val Lewton who had the run of the MGM backlot, adapted Oscar Wilde's novel and directed his own script in a skillfully somber and haunting version of the metaphysical fable about a man whose painting ages and records his moral corruption while he retains his youthful appearance. With Hurd Hatfield memorably playing the title part, this 1945 film also includes juicy performances by George Sanders, Angela Lansbury, and Donna Reed. Deeper and creepier (that is to say, better) than anything turned out by Merchant-Ivory, this is both very Hollywood and very serious in a manner calculated to confound the "Hey, it's only a movie!" crowd.

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