Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Picture of Dorian Gray and George Sanders.

Warner home Video have finally released Albert Lewin's 1945 version of The Picture of Dorian Gray on DVD.

From DVD Beaver:

Generally underrated version of Oscar Wilde's Faustian tale about a young Victorian gentleman who sells his soul to retain his youth, directed with loving care by the equally underrated Lewin (best known, perhaps, for Pandora and the Flying Dutchman). Hatfield - cool, beautiful, and effortlessly suggesting the corruptibility of Dorian's dark soul - is excellent, though even he is overshadowed by the cynical, epigrammatic brilliance of Sanders as Lord Henry. With elegant fin de siècle sets superbly shot by Harry Stradling, and the ironic Wildean wit understated rather than overplayed, it's that rare thing: a Hollywoodian literary adaptation that both stays faithful and does justice to its source.

The fantastic final painting by Ivan Albright. This is the only time that the movie reverts to colour and it really does have the required impact of offsetting the viewer. Grotesque.

It truly is an amazing movie, but really drew me to the movie was the man pictured below:

I believe my first introduction to Sanders was with the seminal British science fiction movie Village of the Damned and strangely enough this was one of the few movies where he did not play a complete cad. Although even when he was in the role of an acerbic unlikeabe rogue, his mischievous, almost playful delivery always give him a little more substance and depth than other such actors. His upper-class English accent and refined intellectual condescension and bite seemed more like reasonable character based insight rather than assassination; like a school teacher reprimanding his pupil.

Great piece on the man here: A Mitigated Cad.

Apparently Sanders had quite a few personal problems and was not the most agreeable of men in real life, he committed suicide in 1972 at the age of 65. His suicide note read:

“Dear World, I am leaving because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool. Good luck.”

Whatever his personal problems I will always remember him as one of Britain's finest actors.

Recommended George Sanders viewing:
Rebecca, Foreign correspondent, The Ghost and Mrs Muir, All About Eve, Village of the Damned, The Jungle Book, Psychomania.

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