The Sins of Dorian Gray
Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin jr for Rankin-Bass Productions/ABC
directed by Tony Maylam
starring Belinda Bauer, Anthony Perkins, Joseph Bottoms, Olga Karlatos, Michael Ironside, Caroline Yeager, Patsy Rahn, Roxanne Moffitt, Jess Braunstein, Roy Wordsworth, Peter Hanlon, Carol Robinson, Mark Duffy, Trudy Weiss
screenplay by Ken August, Peter Lawrence, based on the novel Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, songs by Bernard Hoffer, Jules Bass
An interesting modernization of the Oscar Wilde tale.
This time around the
setting is contemporary. Dorian Gray is not a pleasure-seeking young man, but
a cut-throat female model (Belinda Bauer), willing to sell her soul for eternal beauty and
fame. Instead of seeing her evergrowing evil reflected in a painting, as in
the novel and previous movies based on the same, this go-around it is a strip
of promotional film that changes. Every time the bitch does something bad, it
is reflected on the taped footage. Every year she ages, it is this celluloid
image that grows old.
Aside from the setting and sex of the main character, much remains like in
past versions of the story. Dorian jilts lovers, sleeps her way around, grows
increasiongly vulgar and finally kills to protect her secret. Long after the
fact, she starts to feel guilt and looks to erase the bad deeds of the past by
doing good ones. She stores the promotional footage and her "true
self" away, then renounces her past cruelty, seeking to do good works
instead. Yet the picture serving a mirror to her soul is not fooled. When she
finally looks at the thing, it is worse, not better. Her whole ploy at finding
virtue has been nothing but a farce, an extension of her own ego and not true
repentance. In doing good, she has hoped to repair the image on the screen,
without any real regard for the feelings or well-being of others. She has been
just as evil and selfish as ever and of course...the picture KNOWS !
After making this abundantly clear, she attempts to destroy the footage and in
doing so, destroys herself. Once again, the image reverts to its original
look, while she, as a dead thing, looks like utter hell.
A captivating twist on an old story, this is out on VHS and I believe DVD now.
It could have been sexier as well, but no, for the original aired as a tv
movie and not in theatres. Thus the perversion is implied rather than shown in
lurid detail. Aside from that, it is not a bad production.