Having read the original book, I watched this one and adored it. One of the things that first struck me was the incredible detail put into it. The set and costume design are matched perfectly with the original illustrations. Svengali, at the start, even plays Chopin's impromptu. Even though the story itself is a trifle different from the book, it is still mesmerizing to watch. In contrast to the book, Svengali is deprived of his malice, and left only with a frightful hypnotizing power. Other than Svengali himself, the other characters are exactly as in the book, and was wonderful. It was very moving, to have the first half hour or so be comical, and light-hearted, then the last half be absolute tragedy. It was such a great film.