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The Mad Genius (1931)

Unrated | | Drama, Horror, Romance | 7 November 1931 (USA)
A crippled puppeteer rescues an abused young boy and turns the boy into a great ballet dancer. Complications ensue when, as a young man, the dancer falls in love with a young woman the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Luis Alberni ...
Sergei Bankieff
...
Sonya Preskoya
...
Count Robert Renaud (as Andre Luguet)
...
Fedor as a Boy
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Storyline

A crippled puppeteer rescues an abused young boy and turns the boy into a great ballet dancer. Complications ensue when, as a young man, the dancer falls in love with a young woman the puppeteer is also in love with. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

7 November 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El genio loco  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Nana was originally intended for Myrna Loy. See more »

Goofs

Shadow of boom microphone moves across ornate stove as Tsarakov moves toward it to burn the cocaine he gives to Sergei to control him. See more »

Quotes

Vladimar Ivan Tsarakov: I will create my own being: that boy! That boy will be my counterpart, he shall be what I should have been... I will mold him, I will pour into him my genius, my soul. In him all my dreams, all my ambitions will be fulfilled -- the greatest dancer of all time!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Taxi! (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

Danse Russe Trépak
(uncredited)
from "Nutcracker Suite, Op.71a"
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Played during the opening puppet sequence
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User Reviews

 
Interesting variation on the "Svengali" theme...good John Barrymore performance...
29 January 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

In this interesting variation on the "Svengali" theme, JOHN BARRYMORE plays a crippled puppeteer with a club foot, who lives vicariously his dream of becoming a great dancer when he assumes responsibility for a runaway boy (FRANKIE DARRO) escaping the clutches of his cruel father (BORIS KARLOFF), well disguised with a thick Russian accent and wig that practically makes his features invisible.

Michael Curtiz has directed with enormous help from Anton Grot's well designed sets and a generous use of background music at a time when it was rare for most films to feature so much music on the soundtrack. Of course, dealing with theatrical productions, this was totally necessary. In many ways, the film is way ahead of its time. Not only are the sets on a grand scale, but the B&W photography is richly detailed and Barrymore gives one of his most intense performances as the Svengali-like puppet master who finds he can't control his discovery once love enters the picture.

Doll-faced MARIAN MARSH makes a lovely sort of "Trilby" character but DONALD COOK looks a bit uncomfortable in the role of Fedor, the dancer. The story is a little cumbersome in getting started, but once the plot starts spinning into high gear the suspense mounts and Curtiz stages all of the scenes involving theatrical productions in a manner that puts the film into the A-film category.

Worth seeing for Barrymore's fascinating performance, Russian accent and all, and remarkable in that "the talkies" were only four years old when the film was made and the technical advances are obvious.


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