ALICE ADAMS
1935, Warner Bros., 99 min, USA, Dir: George Stevens

George Stevens left the world of B-movie comedies for A-list prestige fare with this heartfelt adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s novel. Katharine Hepburn gives one of her most subtle performances as an ambitious young woman seeking to escape her small-town background; although the character is superficially unappealing, Hepburn and Stevens allow the viewer to empathize with her in all her complexity. Solid supporting work from Fred MacMurray is an additional asset in this impeccably mounted drama. Co-starring Hattie McDaniel (GONE WITH THE WIND), who nearly steals the film.


THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
1945, Warner Brothers, 110 min, Dir: Albert Lewin

In the definitive screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s sole novel, Dorian Gray (Hurd Hatfield) falls under the corrupting influence of Lord Henry Wotton (George Sanders) and makes a Faustian bargain: Gray’s portrait will age instead of him. Angela Lansbury is a standout as the woman whose heart is broken by the titular narcissist. This macabre fantasy was an Oscar winner for Harry Stradling Sr.’s cinematography (which features shocking flashes of color).


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