This article has multiple issues. Please help talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)( or discuss these issues on the Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The word "svengali" has come to refer to a person who, with evil intent, dominates, manipulates and controls another.
In court, the Svengali Defence is one such legal tactic, that presents the defendant as a pawn in the scheme of a greater, and more influential, criminal mastermind.
(Svengali) would either fawn or bully, and could be grossly impertinent. He had one kind of cynical humour, which was more offensive than amusing, and always laughed at the wrong thing, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. And his laughter was always derisive, and full of malice.
In the novel, Svengali transforms Trilby into a great singer, by using hypnosis. Unable to perform without Svengali's help, Trilby becomes entranced.
Svengali was first portrayed by the English actor, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, in London, and by the actor, Wilton Lackaye, in the United States, in the stage play of 1895, Trilby. The story has also been used in several movies.
The character was portrayed in the following films, all titled Svengali: by Paul Wegener in the German silent film of 1927, by John Barrymore in 1931, by Donald Wolfit in 1954 (in Technicolor), and by Peter O'Toole in the film of 1983 which was one modernised version made for television, which co starred Jodie Foster. In the movie of 1983, however, the names of the characters were changed.