Monday, April 1, 2019

Dorian Gray: Evil or Immoral?

The Picture of Dorian Gray, a Gothic and philosophical novel written by Oscar Wilde, was first published in 1890. The first motion picture, taking the same title, came out in 1945. Relative to The Secret of Dorian Gray (1970), the initial adaptation of the book can seem quite restrained, or Victorian, even though the novel had been controversial in its day. The 1970 film is awash in the sexual revolution, and is thus also affected by its times. The next film adaptation, Dorian Gray (2009), goes back to a classy nineteenth-century Dorian. The emphasis is on sexual immorality, albeit different than in the sexual revolution in the next century. The film largely departs from the plethora of religious symbolism and language in the 1945 film, though unlike in the 1970 film, a spiritual realm is not presumed to be an antiquated notion. Instead, the 2009 film substitutes supernaturalism for religion, especially in the climax.

The full essay is at "Dorian Gray."