Comment Svengali is a mentalist and music teacher in old Paris. He is secretly seducing young woman to get money from them. He uses the powers of his hympnotic eyes to make the woman his slaves and do whatever he wants them to do.
One day he meets Trilby and falls in love with her. As usual love makes everything more complicated. Especially in his case, since Trilby is loving another (much younger and more attractive) man. So the only way for Svengali to make the woman love him is to use his hypnotising eyes. This works quite well and the two become a couple - however not bound together by real love, but by a supernatural force coming from Svengali himself.
The hypnoticist leaves Paris with his new girlfriend and uses her to give concerts all over Europe to get rich and famous. However his fame becomes known to the original friend of Trillby who is seeking her. So he visists one of Svengali's concerts just to find that his love is with him. Now he is more willing than ever to make Trilby his wife and drives Svengali crazy by attending all his concerts and always trying to get to the girl. All the hypnotising is slowly consuming Svengali's power and leads to deterioration of his health.
John Barrymore makes a marvelous apperance in this movie. His dialect and acting are superb and his character is a very interesting one. Even today hypnotising people is a very controversial phenomenon and thus as interesting as it ever was. The movie is black and white, but don't let this discourage you from wathing it as the images are very well done and the atmosphere of this old classic tale is astonishing!
Arthur Hausner on IMDb Wrote:
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...
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