Inaudible soundtrack dooms this Dorian Gray
Hazen B Markoe | St. Paul, MN United States | 09/09/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"As much as I would've liked this film, my enjoyment was ruined by a bad DVD transfer that had a horribly inaudible soundtrack. When this occurred on my replacement DVD, I had to come to the conclusion that this was a flaw of MPI, who distributed this disc. While they present a great product in the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes films, they do nobody any favors with this slipshod transfer. It only gets the one star for the solid visuals, but unless you want to crank your TV volume at full blast to even hear a bit of the soundtrack, this is a product that I recommend avoiding."
The "straightening up" of Dorian Gray
Daniel S. Russell | Blacksburg, VA United States | 04/08/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Leaving aside audio issues, which are there, not imagined, this adaptation of Oscar Wilde's novella leaves many other things to be desired.
Not only does the screenplay and eerie soundtrack lend an ominous, "Dark Shadows" feel to the proceedings, there has been a concerted effort to downplay the homo-erotic subtext of Wilde's work. Gray is transformed into a Jack-the-Ripperesque, Jeckel and Hyde figure, preying on women, living the life of a rock-star or playboy. Shane Briant does have a bit of a Freddie Mercury/David Bowie quality about him, but any suggestion that he might be involved with other men is minimized to a few lingering glances and innuendo.
Without Wilde's subtext, some plot points and characters no longer make sense. Here Sybil kills herself because Gray deflowers her and then abandons her -- in the text it is a split over aesthetics in a much more profound and psychological encounter. This Gray is simply an insensitive cad, not worthy of the picture becoming so twisted. Wilde's Gray is a self-consumed aesthete who tires of people and throws them aside when he becomes disillusioned. This is far more damning to one's soul.
The tell-tale test for me was the handling of Alan Campbell. Compare this rendering with that of the BBC version just three years later. Again this one doesn't make much sense. Nor does the relationship with Beatrice, again I feel as an attempt to "straighten up" Dorian.
Certainly this production is more ambitious than the BBC version, including remote shots and crowd scenes, but what good are production values when the script is fatally flawed and the mood is reduced to melodramatic horror.
Watch the BBC version with John Gielgud and the far superior Peter Firth. Not only is that cast more attractive and has a better grasp of the work, it's to be chosen primarily if you want to come anywhere near Wilde's spirit and intention."
Fills the eye but NOT the ear
Peter W. Many | New Orleans, Louisiana United States | 03/09/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I'm just another customer who was very disappointed to discover that my new DVD of this title (as well as the replacement DVD MPI sent me) had such appallingly bad audio (the actors sound as if they're speaking through wads of cotton). It's also worth noting that MPI's DVD of "Turn of the Screw" has the exact same problem. Beware!"
An appalling waste of a DVD..................and my money!
Movie Fan | Oxford, UK | 05/18/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"First off...... I liked the story. The acting was mediocre at best - but acceptable.
But this DVD transfer is appalling and has to be the worst I have ever encountered. The picture is grainy and soft. It also suffers from numerous disturbances throughout the film.
The sound is even worse and has to be experienced to be believed. Considerable effort must have been put into making this so bad.
Played on my (very high quality) surround sound system, the entire soundtrack exhibits an extremely echoey effect with the surround speakers fuzzily mirroring the fronts with a considerable time delay. Very weird!
Turning the sound processor off and simply using the front speakers clarified the sound but it still sounded very second rate.... though clear enough to understand without too much effort.
Why, when there are still so many good films out there waiting for a DVD transfer, is resource wasted on producing such a bad disc as this?
Unless you consider that you must have this on DVD for some reason, I would advise passing it by in favour of spending your hard earned cash on another title."