Alpha Video


Starring: John Barrymore Director: Archie Mayo
The evil hypnotist Svengali controls the musical career of a beautiful young girl, Trilby, after putting her in a trance.
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Rating 4.3
29 ratings
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Item:  ALP 6292D
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DVD Features:

  • Original Story By George du Maurier
  • Rated: Not Rated
  • Run Time: 1 hours, 4 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Released:
  • Originally Released: 1931
  • Label: Alpha Video
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Packaging: Keep Case
  • Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Performer: , , , , &
Directed by
Edited by
Screenwriting by &
Director of Photography:

Description by

John Barrymore is Svengali, the teacher and virtuoso who seduces and destroys young women with his hypnotic powers. He sets his evil gaze upon the beautiful young artist's model, Trilby. Powerless to resist the wicked maestro's control, Trilby abandons her noble young lover and flees with her new master who forces her to become his bride. Svengali transforms her into an international singing star, first bringing the couple acclaim and wealth, but leading to a rapid descent into depravity, horror and damnation.

This 1931 Warner Bros. classic is noteworthy for its expressionistic sets and camerawork and Barrymore's mesmerizing performance. Based on the novel Trilby by George Du Maurier, this film popularized the term "a Svengali," (roughly translated - evil mentor.)

Plot Synopsis:

In "Svengali," John Barrymore reprises the stage role that garnered him critical raves.
Svengali is a masterful and menacing hypnotist, bearded and unkempt, who draws a young woman, Trilby, into his lair. She has worked as a nude model for many artists and now, cajoled by Svengali's manipulative gift, she leaves behind her family in order to pursue a singing career on the concert circuit.
What Trilby does not know, however, is that she can perform only upon the hypnotist's command.

Plot Keywords:

Psychic Forces | Singers | Suspense | Thriller | Vintage

Production Notes:

  • George L. du Maurier, author of "Svengali," was the father of stage actor Gerald du Maurier and grandfather of novelist Daphne du Maurier.
This product is made-on-demand by the manufacturer using DVD-R recordable media. Almost all DVD players can play DVD-Rs (except for some older models made before 2000) - please consult your owner's manual for formats compatible with your player. These DVD-Rs may not play on all computers or DVD player/recorders. To address this, the manufacturer recommends viewing this product on a DVD player that does not have recording capability.

Movie Lovers' Ratings & Reviews:

Customer Rating: Rating 4.3
Based on 29 ratings.
Write an online review to share your thoughts with other customers.
Rating 5.0 Svengali Movie Lover: from Richmond Virginia -- January, 14, 2006

For all you early '30's horror fans, this is a classic. Filmed the same year as 'Dracula' & 'Frankenstein', it abounds with much of the same charm. The cinematography is fantastic, with a tip of the hat to "Caligari" and the use of some fine impressionistic sets. To top it off,Alpha gives us a crystal clear print!The actors all turn in excellent performances. The beautiful Marian Marsh is absolutely stunning as 'Trilby'. Barrymore's performance is superb! Overall, a very pleasant way to spend 81 minutes.

Rating 5.0 Svengali Movie Lover: from clamart, Hauts-de-Seine FR -- March, 27, 2004

Superb filming of the classic novel 'Trilby'! John Barrymore is outstanding as the evil hypnotist Svengali and pretty young Marian Marsh('Murder By Invitation') is just as good as the high spirited artists model Trilby that he puts under his spell. Great early sound film. Excellent camera work,sets and a striking miniature of the rooftops of Paris! One of those must see cinema classics!

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Product Info:

  • Sales Rank: 1,541
  • UPC: 089218629296
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC, Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion for films with a large audience. Let us know what you have.