Svengali (1954)

 |  Drama, Romance  |  December 1954 (UK)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 85 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 1 critic

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Trilby O'Farrall (as Hildegarde Neff)
Terence Morgan ...
Derek Bond ...
Paul Rogers ...
David Kossoff ...
Hubert Gregg ...
Noel Purcell ...
Patrick O'Ferrall
Alfie Bass ...
Harry Secombe ...
Peter Illing ...
Police Inspector
Joan Haythorne ...
Hugh Cross ...
David Oxley ...
Richard Pearson ...


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She was his toy...and his triumph!


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

December 1954 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Farlig makt  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Hildegard Knef's singing was dubbed by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf See more »


Version of Trilby (1908) See more »

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User Reviews

SVENGALI (Noel Langley, 1954) **1/2
23 January 2010 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Apparently this is the tenth(!) screen version of George Du Maurier's "Trilby" but only the second one I have watched myself thus far – the other being the classic 1931 John Barrymore version from Warner Brothers entitled SVENGALI, of course. Presently, I will also be getting to the similarly-titled modernized TV version of 1983 starring Peter O'Toole and Jodie Foster but, for the record, there are two more adaptations I am most interested in, which are Maurice Tourneur's Silent original TRILBY (1915; which is available on DVD from Alpha!) and the "BBC Play Of The Month" TV version from 1976 with Alan Badel. Anyway, back to the version at hand: apart from the truly wretched copy I got saddled with (comprising constant combing and intermittent freezing issues!), I quite liked this handsomely-mounted and literate (if clearly stage-bound and clumsily edited) adaptation that benefits greatly from two excellent central performances: albeit a last-minute replacement for the ailing Robert Newton and clearly overweight for the role of the insufferable Svengali, Donald Wolfit's bizarrely effective combination of Bela Lugosi's looks and Frankie Howerd's voice earned him a nod at the British Film Awards; on the other hand, the overage but beautiful Hildegarde Neff is suitably moving as the innocently sensual gamine Trilby. The rest of the notable cast includes Terence Morgan (as Little Billy), David Kossoff (as Gecko), Noel Purcell (as Trilby's father), Michael Hordern (as Morgan's disapproving minister uncle) and, as starving Parisian painters, Alfie Bass, Harry Secombe and Michael Craig!

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