Monsters & Memories #7: Svengali (1931) by Ed Davis

Look into my eyes, Groovy Ghoulies! Is it working? Nah, I was never good at the hypnotizing thing. But, I watched a cool flick starring John Barrymore called “Svengali.” It was released by Warner Brothers and was based on the 1894 novel “Trilby” by George Du Maurier. It was
directed by Archie Mayo.

It’s the story of a great musician named Svengali who stumbles upon Trilby O’Ferrell. He is infatuated with her, but she loves another man. Svengali possesses the power of hypnotism and uses his power on Trilby. He whisks her away, leaving her beau, Billee thinking she has committed suicide. Years later, they return to Paris and Trilby has married Svengali and is a world famous singer. And She carries a tune. Billee and his friends are shocked to find her alive. Billee starts to follow them, hoping that Trilby will become his again. They have a final confrontation in a night club, with an ending I did not expect.
 
The cast was very good in this. I knew Barrymore from his role as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from the 1920 silent classic. He was an imposing figure in this movie. His build almost reminded me of a Jason Vorhees or a Michael Myers. And he was a very likable, mean character. Marian Marsh as Trilby just stole my heart in this movie. She played the model turned opera singer so well. In every scene, my eyes went to her.  I will definitely check out more of her features. The rest of the cast also played their roles well. Branwell Fletcher was just in pieces over the scene Trilby leaves him on the side of the club when they return to Paris.
 
The set pieces were amazing. Anton Grot was in charge of the art direction, and I loved his Paris. In fact, he received the Oscar nod for his work that year. Barney McGill was also nominated for the cinematography.
 
I was far more pleased with this film then I thought it would be. Great story, and I plan to track down a copy of the novel to read now.
 
Toy time! And keeping with the magic tone, I present the Magical Musical Thing. Mattel put this out around 1978, and it was just a cool instrument to drive your parents nuts with. I sure did. It had all these different colored buttons on it, and they all made different sounds. I think the darker blue were lower notes. It came with a songbook, and I remember playing the snake charmer song, among others. I used to make little horror stories on cassettes, and this would provide the scary music for it. Top notch stuff, I know. It was great, and someday I would be a world famous Magical Musical Thing player for some rock band. Not too many rock thing players, are there?
Well, time to spool up the next feature, hope you check out this one. As always, you can leave some comments below or drop me a line at starwarzed@hotmail.com. Try not to get hypnotized until then, and keep watching the skies!

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Monsters & Memories #7: Svengali (1931) by Ed Davis”

  1. Kathleen Says:

    I believe I saw this movie many years ago. I agree with your Marian Marsh comments. She was very good in the movie, as was John Barrymore. How well I remember the Magical Musical Thing!!

  2. I did not see this film, but I hope those kids get back together. I do love a happy ending. I’ve read all your reviews, Mr. Davis, so far I think your reviews are spot-on. -Groovy ghoulie 1

  3. Thanks Kathleen and Ed (?). Ed is actually Theresa, my wife. Keep reading, the movies only get better! Thanks for the comments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: