Synopsis by Hal Erickson
In Svengali, the 1955 adaptation of George DuMaurier's classic novel Trilby, Donald Wolfit achieves the near-impossible: he out-hams John Barrymore, who'd played Svengali in the 1931 version. A last-minute replacement for the equally flamboyant Robert Newton, Wolfit pulls out all the stops as the scroungy, sinister musician/mesmerist who hypnotizes lovely artist's model Trilby (Hildegarde Neff) and transforms her into a world-famous singer. While under Svengali's spell, Trilby forgets all about "Little" Billy (Terence Morgan) the starving artist who loves her fervently. But Billy doesn't forget, and follows Svengali and Trilby all over the world. The film's best moment is the celebrated Covent Garden climax, wherein Svengali finally, and fatally, relaxes his hold on Trilby.
mind-control, actor, artist, craziness, hypnosis, mental-illness, student, book, modeling, songwriter