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The Devil-Doll (1936)

Passed | | Sci-Fi, Horror | 10 July 1936 (USA)
An escaped Devil's Island convict uses miniaturized humans to wreak vengeance on those that framed him.




(screen play), (screen play) | 3 more credits »


Airs Sat. Oct. 29, 6:00 AM on TCM

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Complete credited cast:
Lorraine Lavond
Robert Greig ...
Emil Coulvet
Lucy Beaumont ...
Mme. Lavond
Grace Ford ...
Charles Matin
Arthur Hohl ...
Victor Radin
Marguerite Coulvet
Mme. Coulvet (as Claire du Brey)
Rollo Lloyd ...
E. Alyn Warren ...
Commissioner (as E Allyn Warren)


Paul Lavond was a respected banker in Paris when he was framed for robbery and murder by crooked associates and sent to Devil's Island. Years later, he escapes with a friend, a scientist who was working on a method to reduce humans to a height of mere inches (all for the good of humanity, of course). Lavond however is consumed with hatred for the men who betrayed him, and takes the scientist's methods back to Paris to exact painful revenge. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Greater Than "The Unholy Three"


Sci-Fi | Horror


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 July 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Witch of Timbuctoo  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film had its first television showing in Los Angeles Friday 14 December 1956 on KTTV (Channel 2), followed by New York City Monday 28 January 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2), and Philadelphia Tuesday 2 April 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); in San Francisco it was first telecast 13 January 1958 on KGO (Channel 7). See more »


When Lachna is on Coulvet's bed to stab him, she does not cast a shadow on the bed's blanket, nor does she put any indentions in the blanket when walking on it. See more »


Charles Matin: There'a a certain amusing irony in offering a man's own money for his capture. Fifty thousand francs? Why not?
See more »


References The Unholy Three (1925) See more »


Valse des rayons
from the ballet "Le Papillon"
Music by Jacques Offenbach
Played on a music box
See more »

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User Reviews

Great suspense, drama, efx, and acting by Lionel Barrymore!
7 August 2000 | by (Upstate NY) – See all my reviews

Don't let the genre classification as "sci/fi & horror" mislead you. It's really an excellent suspense/mystery/melodrama with the superb Lionel Barrymore (Mr Potter of "It's a Wonderful Life") and a young Maureen O'Sullivan. The sci/fi & fantasy elements - a mad scientist's ability to shrink people and control their actions - are exciting plot devices that allows Barrymore to exact revenge on the men who destroyed his life and family.

Director Tod Browning ("Freaks", the original "Dracula", and many Lon Chaney films) has created a great mix of suspense, action, light humor, & heart-tugging emotions in this tale of revenge and redemption.

The efx are (mostly) ahead of their time, and as good as the later shrunken-people sci-fi movies of the 40s and 50s, such as "Dr Cyclops", "Attack of the Puppet People", and "The Incredible Shrinking Man".

But the best part is the great acting of Barrymore. He plays a desperate escaped convict, who hides by masquerading as a kindly old woman, who in turn pretends to be maker of perfectly detailed dolls. As this character that's both humorous and murderous, obsessed and befuddled, he toys with the police and his betrayers who will be the targets of his army of living dolls. It's a tour de force of acting in this beautiful film.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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