Monday, January 23, 2017

Day 84: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Almost not sure how this is a horror movie but it is close enough to count. In fact, it is one of the best movies I have seen in this trip through Essential Horror. Firstly, it kind of stars George Sanders...who I know from All About Eve as an utter badass of dry British wit. Sanders is a wealthy Londoner who enjoys messing with people's heads. As soon as he meets young, eager, handsome Dorian Gray, he begins convincing him that youth is the most precious possession and pleasure is everything.

This new philosophy, plus a wish upon an Egyptian relic, leads Dorian to the situation wherein his portrait ages and shows his sins while his face remains young and unblemished. A young Angela Lansbury plays a singer in a dive bar who captures Dorian's heart. Donna Reed plays a later suitor. One of the most interesting aspects of the movie is that it is in black and white but shots of the portrait are in color.

After some unpleasantness with the girl of his dreams, Dorian drifts into a life of drugs and cheap sex, perhaps darker occult things. He dedicates himself to evil. All sorts of plot developments come up, from the painter learning his secret to the brother of his beloved seeking revenge on Dorian. The ending, while meant to be shocking is kind of humorous in that the portrait starts looking like a straight up crazy asshole by the end. I know it is meant to be riddled with VD and the ravages of drug addiction, but it looks like a Red Skelton character.

Anyway, really well written, well acted and keeps up a great pace. I would highly recommend.

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