The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of those classics that I always felt I should have read, but for some reason I hadn’t got round to it. It wasn’t until I started reading the book that I appreciated how much it has crept into our society – the pages were packed with quotes that I recognised.
Dorian Gray is a vain young man enjoying the pleasures of high society. One day an artist paints his portrait and Dorian realises that his good looks will not last forever. Desperate to retain his youth Dorian exchanges his soul for an assurance that the portrait will age rather than himself. Unfortunately other people get a bit suspicious when he doesn’t age and so Dorian starts to experience a few problems!
I never know what to expect from these classics, but I was impressed by how readable The Picture of Dorian Gray was. It had a light, almost humorous tone and I was quickly drawn into Dorian’s life. I loved discovering all the quotes that I already knew and the countless bits of wisdom:
I lost interest slightly in the middle section, but the plot picked up again towards the end. I thought the ending, although predictable, was very good.
Recommended, if only so you can appreciate how many quotes from this book we use in everyday life.
I also watched the DVD as part of C.B. James’ Read The Book, See the Movie Challenge
Dorian Gray DVD
The DVD had a very different feel to the book. The film was dark and menacing, so the charm of the book was lost under this evil sense of foreboding. Most of the wonderful quotes were not included and so the majority of the things I enjoyed about the book were missing.
The film did benefit from some great Victorian costumes and sets, but spotting some tarmac road ruined the atmosphere a bit for me!
I can’t fault the acting, but some of the casting was a bit dubious. The actors didn’t match up to the pictures I’d built in my head when reading the book – especially Rachel Hurd-Wood. This wasn’t a major problem, overall the actors were probably the best thing about this film.
My main problem was with the ending – it was far too dramatic. Sometimes it is best to leave things to the imagination, but the film showed us everything. It was needless action for the sake of trying to attract a different audience to the film.
Overall I’d say that this is one of those films that just shouldn’t have been made. Some books just don’t work on the big screen.
Have you read The Picture of Dorian Gray?