A hypnotic Svengali controls the singing voice of a young starlet, but he cannot control her heart.

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(novel), (scenario) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Wilton Lackaye ...
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Paul McAllister ...
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Billie
D.J. Flanagan
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Phyllis Neilson-Terry
James Young
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A hypnotic Svengali controls the singing voice of a young starlet, but he cannot control her heart.

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Drama

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20 September 1915 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Version of Svengali (1983) See more »

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Really good for 1915....only okay today.
20 August 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In 1915, full length films were still relatively new. Up until about a decade before, movies lasted only a couple minutes in most cases. Now in the 1910s, longer and more involved scripts began to become the norm--though the films still weren't nearly as polished and professional as they'd be in the 1920s. It's because of this that I cut "Trilby" a lot of slack. Sure, compared to later silents it's only fair, for the time period in which it appeared, it was pretty good stuff.

This is the often told story of the evil Svengali who is able to use s magical form of hypnosis to control poor impressionable Trilby. He is able to elicit marvelous singing performances from her and he becomes rich. However, Trilby's old fiancé is determined to find her and take her from Svengali's clutches.

The film's strengths are its nice sets and costumes as well as a decent story. Unfortunately, some of acting is ridiculously overdone--especially Svengali. And, the resolution to the tale seems amazingly ordinary. For huge fans of silents and cinephiles, it's a good film to see. But, for the casual viewer, the film's limitations and the lousy print by Alpha Video make this a poor bet--better to see some of the better silents first.


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