When songstress Trilby O’Farrell meets fascinating hypnotist Svengali, she leaves everyone behind to pursue a career on the concert circuit. But what she doesn’t realize is that she can perform only at the mind controller’s command.
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Iconic Pre-Code version of George L. Du Maurier's "Trilby" (there are at least 21) is heavily influenced by German Expressionism: twisted sets and weird or ominous shadows. The mood of this is also reminiscent of Caligari. So simple in its creepiness (the only special effect other than the shadows is the glow in Svengali's eyes), yet strangely effective. And Barrymore does dissipated so wonderfully.
A beautiful cross section between German Expressionism and 1930s horror flicks! There is some weird shit in this one! John Barrymore gives a hellish performance as this creep of a composer. I mean, seriously, what the fuck is charming about this dude? Why would anyone be in the same room with him? But anyway, I wasn't expecting to love this movie... at all!
Simply wonderful, one of the most shamefully neglected films of the 30's. The first scene is the film in microcosm: skilfully alternating the tone between satire and horror. Latter, genuinely eerie romance is added. Barrymore, Fletcher and Marsh are all wonderful, and the filmmaking is frequently fluid and imaginative. A must-see genre bender with a heartbreaking conclusion.
The set design was great... the character of Billee was incredibly obnoxious. He showed no affection for Tribly, he just wanted to take her away from Svengali and have her for himself. Not much difference from Svengali, really.