ⓘ Svengali (1931 film)

Svengali (1931 film)

ⓘ Svengali (1931 film)

Svengali is a 1931 American pre-Code supernatural drama/horror film produced and distributed by Warner Bros. The film stars John Barrymore and co-stars Marian Marsh. It was directed by Archie Mayo and the screenplay was written by J. Grubb Alexander. It is based on the gothic horror novel Trilby by George du Maurier. The film was originally released on May 22, 1931. Warner Brothers was so pleased by the box office on this film that the studio hurriedly reteamed Barrymore and Marsh for another horror film The Mad Genius, released on November 7, 1931. The region 1 DVD of Svengali was released on October 17, 2000 by the Roan Group.


1. Plot

When attractive but untalented Honori confesses to her sinister singing teacher Svengali that she has left her husband but refused his offer of money, he fixes her with an intense stare that drives her screaming from the room. A short time later her body is found in the Seine. Untouched by her death, Svengali and his flatmate Gecko visit the studio of English artists, The Laird, Taffy, and Billee, in search of a meal. On leaving they meet a lovely young milkmaid and artists model, Trilby OFerrall. Svengali is enchanted by her, but she falls in love with the handsome, young Billee. One day under the pretext of curing her headache, Svengali hypnotises her and thereafter is able to control her by the power of his thoughts. When Billee discovers Trilby posing nude for a group of artists, they quarrel, and Svengali convinces her to fake a suicide and leave Paris with him. Five years later, as Madame Svengali the singer, she has become the toast of Europe with the help of his powers. Her old friends attend her Paris debut and they are astonished to see the woman they thought was dead. Determined to win her back from Svengali, Billee haunts her performances. His powers weakened by the strength of her attachment to Billee, Svengali keeps cancelling performances until finally they are reduced to an engagement in an Egyptian cabaret. When Svengali suffers an attack, his power over Trilby fails, she falters and sings horribly off key. As he dies, he begs to be granted her love in death as he never was in life. As if in response, she then dies in Billees arms.


2. Cast

  • Marian Marsh as Trilby OFarrell
  • Lumsden Hare as Monsieur Taffy
  • Bramwell Fletcher as Billee
  • Donald Crisp as The Laird
  • Paul Porcasi as Bonelli
  • Henry Otto as Man uncredited
  • Carmel Myers as Madame Honori
  • John Barrymore as Svengali
  • Luis Alberni as Gecko

3. Preservation

The film survives complete. It was transferred onto 16mm film by Associated Artists Productions in the 1950s and shown on television. This film and The Kennel Murder Case were the two Warner Brothers films that lapsed into the public domain and have been available freely for decades.

  • Rhine 1926 Svengali 1927 Homesick 1927 Queen Louise 1927 The Ship of Lost Souls 1929 Zwei Krawatten 1930 The Soaring Maiden 1931 The Firm Gets
  • Edmund Carewe and Creighton Hale Svengali 1927 a German silent film starring Paul Wegener in the title role Svengali 1931 a Warner Brothers release with
  • stage production. In 1931 after appearing in a number of short films Marsh landed one of her most important roles in Svengali opposite John Barrymore
  • Young Fedor Warner Bros. was so pleased by the box office returns for Svengali 1931 also starring Barrymore and Marsh, and their first talking feature
  • Cinematography for the film Svengali He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1890. He was the cinematographer for more than 90 films from 1919 to 1941. A
  • actress of the Silent era. She played the role of Trilby in the 1927 film Svengali She was the mother of Maria Emo who also became an actress. Frau Sopherl
  • 1933 was a German stage and film actor. Bonn was born in Donauworth, Bavaria, Germany and died at age 71 in Berlin. Svengali 1914 The Silent Mill 1914
  • Kiss Me Again 1931 Little Caesar 1931 Body and Soul 1931 The Lady Who Dared 1931 Svengali 1931 Broadminded 1931 Side Show 1931 The Road to
  • the comic strip character Krazy Kat. The film is a parody of the 1931 film Svengali which in turn is based on the 1894 novel Trilby. A crazed labrador
  • Adventurers 1926 We Belong to the Imperial - Royal Infantry Regiment 1926 Svengali 1927 Rhenish Girls and Rhenish Wine 1927 A Girl of the People 1927

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