The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

107 or 110 mins | Drama | 3 March 1945

Director:

Albert Lewin

Writer:

Albert Lewin

Producer:

Pandro S. Berman

Cinematographer:

Harry Stradling

Editor:

Ferris Webster

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Hans Peters

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

Oscar Wilde's novel was first published in Lippincott's Lovely Magazine in July 1890. The following written verse from The Rubáiyát by Omar Khayyám opens and closes the film: "I sent my soul through the invisible, Some letter of that after-life to spell; And by and by my soul returned to me, And answered, "I myself am Heaven and Hell." In the picture, four scenes displaying Dorian's portrait are in color, the rest of the film is in black and white. Actress Renee Carson's name is misspelled in the onscreen credits as "Renie Carson."
       HR news items yield the following information about this production: Basil Rathbone and Herbert Marshall were first considered for the role of "Lord Henry Wotton." News items from 1943 add that Michael Dyne, Kenneth Donner, John Good and Robert Alton, Jr. were tested for the lead role. Although a Nov 1943 news item places June Lockhart in the cast, she does not appear in the released film. Other news items list Henry Burgess and Betsy Stoddard in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Moyna MacGill, who played the "Duchess," was Angela Lansbury's mother in real life.
       According to modern sources, director Albert Lewin admired the work of painter Ivan Le Lorraine Albright and so commissioned him to paint four portraits showing the stages of Dorian's dissolution. Albright, who arrived in Los Angeles with his twin brother Malvin, also a painter, was paid $75,000 for the rights to the paintings. It is unclear whether Malvin helped his brother with the project. After creating the portrait of the ravaged ... More Less

Oscar Wilde's novel was first published in Lippincott's Lovely Magazine in July 1890. The following written verse from The Rubáiyát by Omar Khayyám opens and closes the film: "I sent my soul through the invisible, Some letter of that after-life to spell; And by and by my soul returned to me, And answered, "I myself am Heaven and Hell." In the picture, four scenes displaying Dorian's portrait are in color, the rest of the film is in black and white. Actress Renee Carson's name is misspelled in the onscreen credits as "Renie Carson."
       HR news items yield the following information about this production: Basil Rathbone and Herbert Marshall were first considered for the role of "Lord Henry Wotton." News items from 1943 add that Michael Dyne, Kenneth Donner, John Good and Robert Alton, Jr. were tested for the lead role. Although a Nov 1943 news item places June Lockhart in the cast, she does not appear in the released film. Other news items list Henry Burgess and Betsy Stoddard in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Moyna MacGill, who played the "Duchess," was Angela Lansbury's mother in real life.
       According to modern sources, director Albert Lewin admired the work of painter Ivan Le Lorraine Albright and so commissioned him to paint four portraits showing the stages of Dorian's dissolution. Albright, who arrived in Los Angeles with his twin brother Malvin, also a painter, was paid $75,000 for the rights to the paintings. It is unclear whether Malvin helped his brother with the project. After creating the portrait of the ravaged Dorian, Albright fell behind and did not have time to complete the others. The studio then hired Henrique Medina to paint the picture of the young Dorian. According to M-G-M publicity items contained in the AMPAS Library, the statue of the Egyptian cat goddess in Dorian's living room was cast from the original in the St. Louis Art Museum. A modern source adds that Lewin created the character of "David Stone" so that the picture would have a happy ending.
       The film received an Academy Award for Best Black and White Cinematography and was nominated for the following Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (Angela Lansbury), Best Art Direction and Best Set Direction. Among the many other adaptations of Oscar Wilde's novel are a 1910 Danish film; a 1913 New York Motion Picture Company two reeler, directed by M. Moore and starring Harris Gordon and Ernest Howard; and a 1970 international co-production titled Dorian Gray , directed by Massimo Dallamano and starring Helmut Berger and Richard Todd. On 21 May 1928, a play based on Wilde's novel titled Dorian Gray , directed by Augustus Thoren and starring Howard Cull and Lionel Adams opened in New York. Television versions include a 6 Dec 1961 CBS broadcast, directed by Paul Bogart and starring Sir Cedric Hardwicke and John Fraser, and a 23 Apr 1973 ABC version, directed by Glen Jordan and starring Shane Briant and Nigel Davenport. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
24 Feb 1945.
---
Film Daily
26 Feb 45
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 43
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jun 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 43
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Nov 43
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Nov 43
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Dec 43
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Mar 44
p. 31.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 44
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 44
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 44
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jun 44
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 44
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Feb 45
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 45
p. 14.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 May 44
p. 1894.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Mar 45
p. 2337.
New York Times
2 Mar 45
p. 15.
Variety
7 Mar 45
p. 20.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Lillian Bond
and Her Balinese Dancers
James Aubrey
Pedro De Cordoba
Frederic Worlock
Barbara Woodell
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2d cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Assoc
Assoc
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus dept
Mus dept
Mus dept
Mus dept
SOUND
Rec dir
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Re-rec and eff mixer
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
Mus mixer
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Paintings of Dorian Gray
Paintings of Dorian Gray as a young man
Spec asst to Mr. Lewin
Matte paintings
Matte paintings, cam
Transparency projection shots
Unit mgr
Research
Casting dir
Crew
Crew
Crew
Crew
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (London and New York, 1891).
AUTHOR
MUSIC
Prelude for Piano No. 24 in D minor by Frédéric Chopin.
SONGS
"Goodbye Little Yellow Bird," words and music by C. W. Murphy, William Hargreaves and Dan O'Brien.
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 March 1945
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 1 March 1945
Production Date:
8 March--mid June 1944
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
6 March 1945
Copyright Number:
LP13198
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black & white with color sequences
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
107 or 110
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
10351
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In London in 1886, Lord Henry Wotton's curiosity is aroused when his friend, artist Basil Hallward, devotes his energies to painting the portrait of a beautiful young Adonis named Dorian Gray. Lord Henry, a cynical idle aristocrat who finds pleasure in manipulating the lives of others, takes an interest in Dorian, advising him that youth is all too fleeting and that the pursuit of desire is the only real goal in life. Lord Henry's words strike a chord in Dorian, and as Basil completes his portrait, Dorian declares that he would give his soul if the painting would grow old while he remained forever young. Lord Henry then cautions Dorian about making a wish in the presence of his Egyptian cat statue, a figure capable of granting it. Inspired by Lord Henry's sentiments, Dorian begins to seek new adventures, and one day wanders into a cheap music hall where he is smitten by singer Sibyl Vane. The idealistic Sibyl addresses Dorian as "Sir Tristam," the name of a mythical, chivalrous knight. When Dorian tells Sir Henry that he plans to marry Sibyl, whom he describes as an antidote to his cynicism, Lord Henry suggests that he test her integrity by inviting her to see the portrait and then asking her to spend the night. At first, Sibyl refuses Dorian's unseemly request, but unable to displease him, agrees to his terms. Disillusioned, Dorian writes Sibyl that she has killed his love and he will never see her again. Troubled by his cruelty, Dorian glances at the portrait and notices that the face has grown hardened, a reflection of his own soul. Vowing to reform, ... +


In London in 1886, Lord Henry Wotton's curiosity is aroused when his friend, artist Basil Hallward, devotes his energies to painting the portrait of a beautiful young Adonis named Dorian Gray. Lord Henry, a cynical idle aristocrat who finds pleasure in manipulating the lives of others, takes an interest in Dorian, advising him that youth is all too fleeting and that the pursuit of desire is the only real goal in life. Lord Henry's words strike a chord in Dorian, and as Basil completes his portrait, Dorian declares that he would give his soul if the painting would grow old while he remained forever young. Lord Henry then cautions Dorian about making a wish in the presence of his Egyptian cat statue, a figure capable of granting it. Inspired by Lord Henry's sentiments, Dorian begins to seek new adventures, and one day wanders into a cheap music hall where he is smitten by singer Sibyl Vane. The idealistic Sibyl addresses Dorian as "Sir Tristam," the name of a mythical, chivalrous knight. When Dorian tells Sir Henry that he plans to marry Sibyl, whom he describes as an antidote to his cynicism, Lord Henry suggests that he test her integrity by inviting her to see the portrait and then asking her to spend the night. At first, Sibyl refuses Dorian's unseemly request, but unable to displease him, agrees to his terms. Disillusioned, Dorian writes Sibyl that she has killed his love and he will never see her again. Troubled by his cruelty, Dorian glances at the portrait and notices that the face has grown hardened, a reflection of his own soul. Vowing to reform, Dorian writes a letter begging Sibyl's forgiveness. Just as he finishes it, Lord Henry arrives to inform him that Sibyl has committed suicide. When Lord Henry advises Dorian to expunge the incident from his mind, Dorian's guilt prompts him to assume an air of indifference. Basil comes to the house to reproach Dorian for his unconcern and notes that the portrait has been concealed behind a screen. After Basil leaves, Dorian decides to lock the painting in his old schoolroom amid the souvenirs of his innocent childhood. As the years pass, rumors of Dorian's changeless youth and strange debauchery intensify. Periodically, Dorian scrutinizes his portrait, which has become disfigured by his sins and his aging. The only person to whom Dorian remains vulnerable is Basil's niece Gladys, who has loved him since she was a child. Over the objections of her suitor, David Stone, Gladys impetuously decides to propose to Dorian, but he rejects her offer. One foggy night, Basil, on his way to Paris, visits Dorian to ask him to deny the unremitting rumors about his wicked ways. In response, Dorian offers to show Basil his soul and takes him to view the portrait, by now a monstrous testament to his venality. Realizing that Basil might reveal his terrible secret to Gladys, Dorian plunges a knife into his back, causing fresh blood to appear on the painting. Afterward, Dorian arranges for Allen Campbell, a chemist over whom he has a sinister hold, to dispose of Basil's body. Dorian then proposes to Gladys and she accepts. Months pass as the police search in vain for Gladys' missing uncle. Then one day, the police notify Dorian that Campbell has committed suicide. Throughout the years, Sibyl's brother, James Vane, has sought the man responsible for his sister's death, the man he knows only as "Sir Tristam." One night, in a cheap pub, Vane hears Dorian called Sir Tristam and follows him into the alley, intending to slay him. Upon discovering that Dorian is a young man, Vane thinks he is mistaken until he later learns Dorian's strange story. Vane tracks Dorian to his country estate, and while hiding behind a clump of bushes, awaiting his chance to slay Dorian, Vane is accidentally shot and killed by a hunter. Realizing that he is indirectly responsible for Vane's death, Dorian decides to break his engagement to Gladys and returns to London. Believing that by destroying his portrait he will be free of its evil spell, Dorian plunges a knife into its heart. As the knife pierces the painting, Dorian falls to the floor, mortally wounded. While Dorian fervently prays, the portrait slowly changes into the image of a beautiful young man. Soon after, Lord Henry, Gladys and David burst into the room and find the hideously disfigured body of an old man lying on the floor. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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