February 27, 2017


Dorian Gray – 2009 | 112 mins | Drama | Colour


Plot Synopsis

Dorian Gray

Following their screen adaptations of The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) and An Ideal Husband (1999), long-time collaborators Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson reunite to bring Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray to the screen. First published in 1890, The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered one of the great works of classic gothic horror and this serviceable adaptation boasts a daring script from Tobey Finlay that suitably chronicles Dorian’s fatal descent into narcissism. The producers wished to steer away from typical period film and maker Dorian a sort of Mick Jagger or Rudolph Nuryev with costumes to bring a 1960s or 1970s idea of glamour.

Filmed at Ealing Studios, a number of major London landmarks are used including the Georgian-style mansion Witanhutst, Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich, Wilton’s Music Hall in the East End, Bell Yard near the Royal Courts of Justice, Carlton Terrace and the British Academy, Highgate Cemetery, the Royal Exchange Building in the City and Chiswick Town Hall. Fresh from his success in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Ben Barnes convincingly portrays the hedonistic lifestyle of Dorian, and is ably joined by Colin Firth as the charismatic Henry Wotton. The supporting cast includes Ben Chaplin an impressive Rebecca Hall as Lord Henry’s free-spirited daughter.

When a strikingly beautiful but naïve young socialite, Dorian Gray (Ben Barnes), arrives in Victorian London he is swept into a social whirlwind by the charismatic and immoral Lord Henry Wotton (Colin Firth), who introduces Dorian to the hedonistic pleasures of the city. Henry’s friend, society artist Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin) paints a portrait of Dorian to capture the full power of his youthful beauty and when it’s unveiled Dorian makes a flippant pledge: he would give anything to stay as he is in the picture – even his soul.

Spurred on by his mentor Henry, playboy Dorian’s wild adventures continue; but while he appears as innocent and beautiful as ever, his picture, now locked in the attic, grows uglier and more horrific with every evil deed he commits. It seems he can now indulge every forbidden desire with no consequence to himself; but when Basil insists on seeing the picture, Dorian is forced to murder him and flee the country.

Twenty-five years later, he returns and to the shock of his old friends, he doesn’t look a single day older. He is, though, a man in torment, whose life is bereft of love or meaning. He is haunted by his past and taunted by the monstrosity in the attic. And then he meets Emily (Rebecca Hall) – smart, striking and fascinated by him. She is, however, the Machiavellian and now aging Henry’s daughter, and he will do anything to keep them apart. As London whispers of a pact with the Devil, Henry resolves to expose his daughter’s unnatural lover.

Production Team

Oliver Parker: Director
Producer: Barnaby Thompson
Charlie Mole: Charlie Mole
Roger Pratt: Cinematography
Ruth Myers: Costume Design
Guy Bensley: Film Editing
Lesley Smith: Makeup Department
Paula Price: Makeup Department
Paul Mooney: Makeup Department
Jeremy Woodhead: Makeup Department
Source: Oscar Wilde
John Beard: Production Design
Hallam Smallpeice: Sound
Mark Holding: Sound
Samir Foco: Sound
Richard Straker: Sound
Script: Toby Finlay


Douglas Henshall: Alan Campbell
Maryam d’Abo: Gladys
Fiona Shaw: Agatha
Caroline Goodall: Lady Radly
Ben Chaplin: Basil Hallward
Emilia Fox: Lady Victoria Wotton
Rebecca Hall: Emily Wotton
Rachel Hurd-Wood: Sybil Vane
Ben Barnes: Dorian Gray
Colin Firth: Lord Henry Wotton

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