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Svengali 1983
Description: An old singer coaches a young girl whom he believes will be the next singing sensation. As she begins off with her career, their bond gets stronger. An adaptation of George L. Du Maurier's novel "Trilby"
Released: 09 Mar 1983 Director: Anthony Harvey Writers: Frank Cucci, George L. Du Maurier (novel) Actors: Peter O'Toole, Jodie Foster, Elizabeth Ashley, Larry Joshua Genres: Drama, Romance
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Svengali Reviews:

Apparently this was a made for TV movie, anyway, the reason to watch this movie is not the riveting story or spectacular visuals.What is nice about this film is seeing O'Toole work his magic. He can take a rather silly re-working of the Pgymalian story and almost create it seem like art. He really is a wonder to behold.Foster is not the actress yet she will become in Accused & Silence of the Lambs but you can certainly see the control starting to take shape. Foster shines when she's standing up to O'Toole's dogmatic methods but she falters in romantic moments with O'Toole, you just don't trust that she has romantic feelings for O'Toole.Elizabeth Ashley is a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting to see some fire from her but I just kept getting the feeling that she was just so much in awe of working with O'Toole that she came off flat. It's a shame cuz it would have been fun to see Ashley & O'Toole spark...ah well.Sure, the transport is a bit melodramatic at times...OK..but if you're an O'Toole fan, you really could check this out. I don't know if he was nominated for an Emmy for this but he could have been.Oh and there's a nice cameo by Holly Hunter in an early performance before her breakout role in Raising Arizona.Again, this is not the worst film you'll ever see. It's just a dated early 80s film that just happens to have a nice part for O'Toole which he makes the most of and it's fun to see Jodi Foster as well in a part that we haven't seen her in over and over again..and don't forget, it's everytime fun to see an actor using their own voice to sing in a movie!


There are several things more entertaining then an unintentionally funny film. Very few. Fewer still are movies that fall into this category. If a movie is trying to be funny it is not unintentional actually is it? This was supposed to be serious. This starred Peter O'toole and of course Ms. Foster. The two of them were still reeling from Calligula and Hinkley respectively and therefore were in no position to turn down work, at least that is what I hold saying myself. Svengali is the storyline of a singer, a female singer in a band called, receive this "The restless nights." A talent scout is in the audience with the large time singing instructor (Otoole) when the nights come on, fronted by Jodie Foster, in all her glory. She sings. She really sings. No really...it's her...not someone else, she is belting out a number that gotta be heard to be believed, I will spare you the gory features of the lyrics, it suffices to tell they were far from great. O'toole takes on the challenge of teaching the tiny songbird to sing. He works and works and finally tells "tell the entire city" they run to the roof of the building and Foster sings on the roof. I am not making this up. She sings. EXACTLY THE SAME WAY SHE HAS BEEN SINGING THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE OF THE FILM!!! Not one note has changed, but never mind that. Oh god..she hits number one...she begins an affair with Peter O'toole, her X boyfriend quips "I didn't know you were into wrinkles" AAAAAARRRRGHHHH!!!!! I am giving this movie 10 stars, just like Showgirls. Foster is the best movie actress ever. Ever Ever. This is one of the best terrible movies ever.....Ever....Ever....You just must see this...ya just gotta. PS look for Holly Hunter in this, if you can spot her E-mail me, you need to receive a life.


George L. Du Maurier's novel "Trilby", first filmed as "Svengali" in 1931 with John Barrymore and Marian Marsh, gets an embarrassing '80s make-over here, with Fresh York bar-band singer Jodie Foster discovered and sent to vocal tutor extraordinaire Peter O'Toole for refinement. They share a begrudging relationship at first, accented by ego-mad Svengali O'Toole's stormy temperament, until Foster's Zoe eventually lands a record deal--putting into question her need to rely on this boy who has come to be her mentor and love-interest. Well-produced for television, the film gets off to a nice begin but eventually flags, with Foster unconvincing as a vocalist and O'Toole looking ragged and disinterested. There's a funny bit performance by a young Holly Hunter (whose screws are so loose, she clashes with the relatively somber tone of this piece), and Elizabeth Ashley has some fine moments near the beginning before she is unceremoniously lost in the shuffle.



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