In the Latin Quarter of Paris, beautiful model Clara Kimball Young (as Trilby O'Ferral) poses for artists, sometimes in "the altogether" (but hidden from the camera). She attracts mystical musician Wilton Lackaye (as Svengali). He casts a spell on Ms. Kimball Young and turns her into an accomplished singer. Although successful, Kimball Young performs only when her soul is possessed by the ugly, older man. She is unable to continue a romance with boyish painter Chester Barnett (as Billie), who is devastated when their engagement is broken. By the end of the film, only one man will possess Kimball Young's heart...
Maurice Tourneur's treatment of George du Maurier's classic story pales in comparison to the director's later, significantly more artistic motion pictures. Still, this version of "Trilby" was one of 1915's top productions. From 1913-1921, Kimball Young was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. This film catches her before succumbing to more posed roles, and her prematurely matron-like figure was still in check. Kimball Young's performance was much appreciated. The stage provided top co-stars, with Mr. Lackaye notably recreating a role he owned. Today, his beard-stroking and arm movements look very stage-bound.
***** Trilby (9/20/15) Maurice Tourneur ~ Clara Kimball Young, Wilton Lackaye, Chester Barnett, Paul McAllister
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