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Svengali (1931)

Approved | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | 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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(novel) (as George Louis DuMaurier), (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
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Bramwell Fletcher ...
...
Madame Honori
Luis Alberni ...
...
...
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 | Sci-Fi

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:

Trilby  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Barrymore nicknamed teenage actress Marian Marsh "Maid Marian." See more »

Goofs

When Svengali and Billie are having champagne at the café in Cairo, Svengali drains his glass. They exchange a few more words as Svengali is being introduced, then when he stands his glass is somehow full again. See more »

Quotes

Svengali: Svengali will go to London himself! Where he will be all alone on a platform. And Princesses. And Countesses. And serene Highnesses will fling him their jewels, and applaud, and invite him to their palaces. And he will take you with him. I never look at them. Ah, we could be so happy. Look at me, in the eyes. Open your eyes.
Trilby O'Farrell: Oh, I do love you!
Svengali: Close your eyes.
Trilby O'Farrell: I love...
Svengali: Ah, don't say it! You are beautiful, my manufactured love. But it is only Svengali talking to himself again.
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Connections

Version of Ella Lola, a la Trilby (1898) See more »

Soundtracks

Allegro Grazioso
(uncredited)
Music by Hansheinrich Dransmann
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User Reviews

 
A Real Treat!
5 August 2005 | by See all my reviews

I just love this version of the classic tale "Trilby". John Barrymore is excellent as Svengali and pretty Marian Marsh is utterly charming as Trilby. The film has a very bohemian look and feel to it which is one of the reasons why you should enjoy it. The expressionistic sets were by Anton Grot and there is the famous striking miniature set of the rooftops of Paris that the camera tracks over in the classic scene where Svengali wills Trilby from her apartment to his one stormy midnight. Warner Brothers paired Barrymore and Marsh once again in "The Mad Genius" which is a rather adult, pre-code story with Barrymore just as menacing as he is in "Svengali", but not the demoniac that he is in this film. Note: The Roan Group (Roan Group.com) has the best DVD edition of "Svengali" available on the market.


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