SVENGALI 1931 BARRYMORE HAMLET SCREEN TEST 1937
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(Aug 29, 2016)
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and BARRYMORE HAMLET SCREEN TEST (1937)
SVENGALI starring John Barrymore, Marian Marsh, Donald Crisp, Bramwell Fletcher and Lumsden Hare. Directed by Archie Mayo. Svengali, the evil hypnotist, destroys the will of Trilby and forces her to leave the people she loves to tour the world as a great singer. With plenty of atmosphere and creepy settings, this film was directed in an unusual Germanic style and will surely please any fan of the supernatural cinema. Our version contains the rare, and often censored, nude scene showing Trilby in a coach draped only in Svengali's cloak! Also see TRILBY, our silent release for a great version of this story filmed in Fort Lee, NJ in 1915.
HAMLET SCREEN TEST starring John Barrymore, Donald Crisp and Reginald Denny. This screen test is all that remains of the greatest Hamlet. A test for a film which, unfortunately, was never made. A fascinating glimpse at what could have been! Being very rare, the quality of the original film source is only fair.
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This film gives its primary focus on the musician and hypnotist Svengali. Some of the changes in this film are: it is not Billie’s mother who talks Billie out of marrying Trilby, but Svengali does it. He also, unlike the book, arranges that her disappearance from Billie’s life appears to be suicide by drowning. While in the book and the 1915 film the hypnotized Trilby is called La Svengali, she is also more explicitly called Madam Svengali in this film. Also, unlike the others, Svengali has the power, like Dracula, to influence the behavior of women even from a great distance. One scene in this film seems to suggest that after being with Svengali for years and having been under his control, she refused to have sex with him; then, strangely, he causes her through hypnoses to want sex with him, but he feels sick and is unable to do it. The ending of this 1931 film is totally unlike the novel and the 1915 version, and is a sad ending.
On one particular morning, Svengali hears Trilby singing in a deep alto voice which is clear and on key though not the voice one would equate with a blonde angelic young girl's voice. Trilby has become friends with several artists in the neighborhood and has feelings for "Billy" the youngest artist who is just as taken with her and her adorable little face and innocent ways.... Svengali plots to hypnotize Trilby and creates a sopranic wonder out
of her. He abducts her late one evening by calling on her to rise and cross the village to his satanic lair. Once there, Trilby is taken by coach to emerge as the operatic sensation of Europe. Svengali is immaculate as the conductor and Trilby is at her loveliest in golden curls and shimmering gauze gowns. She sings to the masses and all our mesmerized by her voice. Billy ( played by Bramwell Fletcher) sees her perform and is stunned to learn after the performance that it is his Trilby. He vows to track Svengali down and to rescue Trilby. I believe the scene in the Egyptian nightclub with the harm dancers was spoofed on an old Carol Burnett show...really entertaining!
This is not an "and they all lived happier ever after." Barrymore tears up the scenery as only Barrymore can with some of his bits towards the end of the film...but you will have a smile on your face if your a fan.
One more thing; How apropos that Barrymore quotes from Hamlet on several occasions. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a Public Domain terrible copy.
Amazon must have had many returns.