New Release: Dorian Gray DVD

Helmut Berger (l.) and Richard Todd star in Dorian Gray (1970).

One of Oscar Wilde’s most oft-adapted novels, The Picture of Dorian Gray got a Swinging Sixties makeover in 1970’s Dorian Gray (Il Dio chiamato Dorian), the  deliciously trashy and erotically charged film by Italian cinematographer-turned-director Massimo Dallamano.

Raro Video released the movie, which has developed a substantial cult following over the years, on DVD for the first time in the U.S. on April 12, 2011. (Prior to that, the film had been available only on VHS or as an Italian DVD import.) All Raro Titles are distributed through Entertainment One.

Filled with groovy clothes, set designs and music (not to mention a healthy dollop of nudity and bisexuality), writer/director Dallamano’s adaptation focuses on the rich, good-looking and very self-centered Londoner Dorian Gray (Helmut Berger, Salon Kitty), who falls in love with the good-hearted aspiring actress Sybil (Marie Liljedahl, The Seduction of Inga).

Dorian has his portrait painted by Sybil’s friend (Richard Todd, Asylum), leading to the playboy’s “selling of his soul” so his picture will grow old while he stays the same immoral — and now possibly immortal! — sonuvabitch. So much for Dorian’s feelings for sweet Sybil! Over time, the portrait grows old and hideous, while the real Dorian, well, his decadent life might be fun, but it’s sure to catch up with him…

As a bonus feature, the DVD includes an interview with assistant director Maurizio Tanfani. (Dallamano died in 1976.)

Presented in Italian with English subtitles, Dorian Gray carry a suggested retail price of $19.98.

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.