Dorian Gray – 1970
Review by Wayne Malin
Stupid near porn version of Wilde’s tale,
Oscar Wilde’s classic is updated to the 1970s with disastrous results. Dorian Gray (Helmut Berger) has his picture painted and, through some circumstances, finds his portrait aging while he stays young and beautiful. It leads him into a decadent life style which is basically sleeping around with any woman he can find. As the years go by his immoral behavior continues while his portrait horribly ages.
Caught this on video years ago. Why they tried to turn out a virtually porno version of Wilde’s story I’ll never know. It’s badly directed with stilted dialogue. Berger is very handsome but kind of a blank–he says all his lines in a monotone. I can’t totally blame him–English isn’t his first language. Herbert Lom (obviously desperate for work) plays a gay man who lusts after Dorian. Lom said in an interview many years ago that he never saw the movie after reading the reviews when it came out. Marie Lijedahl as Sylvia isn’t half bad and spends a considerable amount of time nude.
All in all, this is a movie made for guys who want to look at nude women. For some reason Berger is never shown fully nude. In one particularly awkward shot he is naked but his hands are covering his best parts. If you want a good adaptation of Wilde’s tale stick to the 1940s version–avoid this.
I give it a 2 only for Berger–visually he was a good choice for the role.