Posts Tagged ‘Dorian Gray’

Film Review: Dorian Gray

22 September 2009

Contributed by Ann Downey

Dorian GrayDorian Gray is director Oliver Parker’s third foray into adaptation of a work by Oscar Wilde. In 1999 he directed An Ideal Husband and three years later followed with The Importance of Being Ernest, for both of which he wrote the screenplay. The former, starring Cate Blanchette and Rupert Everett, was a more successful film than The Importance, which lacked the crispness and pace of the more successful adaptation of 1947 starring Michael Redgrave and an unforgettably acerbic Lady Bracknell in Edith Evans.

Wilde’s novel has been filmed at least twenty times, the most famous being that of 1945, winning the Oscar for cinematography. The most recent, in 2006 was set in New York. The horror aspect was foremost in the 2005 version called simply Dorian. This current is the fifth film based on the novel since 2000. Before that television adaptations were more common, with versions in 1973, 1976 and 1983. The only feature film made since the 1945 version was that of Massimo Dallamano in 1970 starring German actor Helmut Berger. It was filmed more than five times in the decade before 1920 in German and French versions. This would not be unusual as at this time filmmaking was in its infancy and literature of every sort was mined for stories. These films could be as short as ten minutes, though by 1915 the full length feature had matured. Less than 15% of these early films survive.

Dorian Gray suffers from some of the faults of Parker’s Ernest; an uneven pacing and misjudgements in exposition but is redeemed by an excellent central performance from Ben Barnes.

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