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Svengali (1931)

Approved | | Drama, Horror, Romance | 22 May 1931 (USA)
Through hypnotism and telepathic mind control, a sinister music maestro controls the singing voice, but not the heart, of the woman he loves.

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Writers:

(novel) (as George Louis DuMaurier), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Madame Honori
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Bonelli
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Storyline

Sinister music maestro Svengali can control the actions of women through hypnotism and his telepathic powers. When a pupil he has seduced announces she has left her husband for him, he uses his powers to cause her suicide and promptly forgets her. He meets a beautiful model, Trilby, and becomes infatuated with her, but she, in turn, falls for a young artist called Billee who also loves her. One day Svengali hypnotizes Trilby to cure her headache, but also examines her upper palate and decides it is an ideal cavity for great singing. He convinces her to fake her suicide, so Billee and friends will forget her, and goes on a singing tour with her. Svengali uses his powers to make her sing wonderfully and Madame Svengali, as Trilby is now known, becomes a sensation throughout Europe. But Billee discovers the ruse and begins to follow the pair, upsetting Svengali enough to have him cancel performances too frequently, so they no longer can perform in Europe. They go to Egypt, but Billee ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Weirdest romance ever pictured! With the screen's genius and his new find. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

22 May 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Свенгали  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Barrymore was one of the first actors to wear contact lenses in movies in "Svengali.". It was one of the earliest versions of hard contacts. They were clumsy and uncomfortable for the actor but improved his performance. See more »

Goofs

After Billie vows to follow Svengali and regain Trilby's attentions, we see an article in a Naples newspaper titled "Opera News." The second paragraph reads thus: "Monsieur Bonelli states Monsieur Svengali has recoved from his illness." See more »

Quotes

Svengali: That might be as well to remember. There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
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Connections

Version of Svengali (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

Drame Ignore
(uncredited)
Music by Gabriel Marie
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User Reviews

Engaging production of George du Maurier's famous novel
5 January 1999 | by (Fargo, North Dakota) – See all my reviews

John Barrymore tackles the delicious role of Svengali, the evil musician who casts a spell over pretty young Trilby, an artist's model (portrayed by Marian Marsh). The chief reason to see Archie Mayo's production is the unique set design by Anton Grot (who, I am speculating, was rather inspired by The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari). Also of note are the splendid special effects, still impressive even after all these years. All of the hypnosis/possession sequences are remarkable, as great attention is paid to the piercing, penetrating eyes of Svengali as he mesmerizes the hapless ingenue. The weak link here is the lukewarm Bramwell Fletcher, playing Trilby's true love. He registers blandly, and behaves more as the passive mollycoddle than as the proactive hero.


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