Cinema: The New Pictures, Sep. 12, 1955

Svengali (M-G-M). Faced with making a 1955 movie out of Trilby, George du Maurier's period novel of 1894, Director Noel Langley decided to play the story straight. As a result, moviegoers get a full treatment of the giant-sized nobilities and epic despairs that swirl up from Victorian drama, reflected in the iridescent mirror of fin de siecle Paris.

Essentially, the film chronicles the triumph of British pluck over Levantine cunning. On one side are ranked wholesome Terence Morgan and his fellow painters (Derek Bond and Paul Rogers); on the other looms the hypnotic Svengali (oldtime Shakespearean Actor Donald Wolfit). who drifts about...

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