6.9/10
1,477
39 user 19 critic

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.

Director:

Archie Mayo

Writers:

George L. Du Maurier (novel) (as George Louis DuMaurier), J. Grubb Alexander (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A crippled man finds a boy and vows to make him a great dancer.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, Charles Butterworth
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A prince plots to kill the mad monk Rasputin for the good of the czar, the czarina and Russia.

Directors: Richard Boleslawski, Charles Brabin
Stars: John Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

François Villon, in his lifetime the most renowned poet in France, is also a prankster, an occasional criminal, and an ardent patriot.

Director: Alan Crosland
Stars: John Barrymore, Conrad Veidt, Marceline Day
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Director: John S. Robertson
Stars: John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Brandon Hurst
Topaze I (1933)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An honest and naive schoolteacher gets a lesson in how the world works outside the classroom, when a rich Baron and his mistress use the teacher's name and outstanding reputation in a ... See full summary »

Director: Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast
Stars: John Barrymore, Myrna Loy, Reginald Mason
Tempest (1928)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In Czarist Russia, a peasant officer, resented by the aristocrats, falls in love with a princess.

Directors: Sam Taylor, Lewis Milestone, and 1 more credit »
Stars: John Barrymore, Camilla Horn, Louis Wolheim
Arsène Lupin (1932)
Crime | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A detective is tasked to capture an elusive thief called Arsene Lupin.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Karen Morley
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Successful attorney has his Jewish heritage and poverty-stricken background brought home to him when he learns his wife has been unfaithful.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: John Barrymore, Bebe Daniels, Doris Kenyon
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Barrymore lampoons himself. A famous actor, given to drink, nearly destroys the show, but his leading lady returns to save it. Meanwhile a young girl tries to reform him.

Director: Walter Lang
Stars: John Barrymore, Mary Beth Hughes, Gregory Ratoff
Don Juan (1926)
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In 16th Century Italy, devil-may-care playboy Don Juan runs afoul of the despotic Borgias.

Director: Alan Crosland
Stars: Jane Winton, John Roche, Warner Oland
Night Flight (1933)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Polio breaks out in Rio de Janeiro, the serum is in Santiago and there's only one way to get the medicine where it's desperately needed: flown in by daring pilots who risk the treacherous weather and forbidding peaks of the Andes.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: John Barrymore, Helen Hayes, Clark Gable
Midnight (1939)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A chorus girl stranded in Paris is set up by a millionaire to break up his wife's affair with another man, while being romantically pursued by a cab driver.

Director: Mitchell Leisen
Stars: Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche, John Barrymore
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Barrymore ... Svengali
Marian Marsh ... Trilby O'Farrell
Donald Crisp ... The Laird
Bramwell Fletcher ... Billee
Carmel Myers ... Madame Honori
Luis Alberni ... Gecko
Lumsden Hare ... Monsieur Taffy
Paul Porcasi ... Bonelli
Edit

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:

He hypnotizes! He thrills...! Any woman caught in his spell must obey. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian | German

Release Date:

22 May 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Свенгали See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Vitaphone

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This pre-Code film stirred controversy due its nude modeling scene featuring a teenage Marian Marsh. The actress wore a body stocking for the scene and, in the long shot where she runs from the room, an older body double was used instead of her. See more »

Goofs

In the bathtub, Svengali says "Gott strafe England" ("God punish England"). This saying was created by German-Jewish poet Ernst Lissauer (1882-1937) during WWI. However, "Svengali" takes place during the mid 19th century. 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.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: John Barrymore (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Angelus du Soir
(uncredited)
Music by Paul Fauchey
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Engaging production of George du Maurier's famous novel
5 January 1999 | by pooch-8See 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.


18 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 39 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed