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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 <email@example.com>
Madame Mandilip's special dolls are costumed as members of vicious street gangs known as the Apache (pronounced ah-PAHSH), who were involved in theft, prostitution, and the occasional murder in pre-World War I Paris. The dolls even perform the Apache dance popularized by the gangs, in which extremely close steps alternate with seemingly brutal punches, kicks, hair-pulling, spins, and throws; it was usually danced to the Valse des rayons (aka Valse chaloupée) composed by Jacques Offenbach. In the 1930s and 1940s, this dance was still performed by professional dancers and can be seen in several films and even cartoons of the period. See more »
Radin at times does not cast a shadow when he's about to stab Matin in his house. See more »
Lavond (as Madame Mandelip):
[a policeman has just left the shop, failing to recognize Lavond in disguise]
Stupid policeman... To let an old white wig cost him 100 thousand francs.
It might have been safer to take him downstairs and make him "small."
Lavond (as Madame Mandelip):
He's small already, in mind. In fact, Malita, if most men were reduced to the dimensions of their mentality, Marcel's plan wouldn't be necessary.
See more »
A Good Story with Special Effects Still Impressive in 2011
After seventeen years in prison, the former respected Parisian banker Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) flees with his friend, the lunatic scientist Marcel (Henry B. Walthall) that is researching with his wife Malita (Rafaela Ottiano) the miniaturization of animals and human beings to improve the resources of mankind. Paul Lavond was framed for robbery by his scoundrel associates Emil Coulvet (Robert Greig), Charles Matin (Pedro de Cordoba) and Victor Radin (Arthur Hohl) that had stolen his business while his family was doomed to shame, poverty and tragedy. When Marcel reduces the retarded servant Lachna (Grace Ford), he learns that the woman is motionless and only responds to the control of his brain and has a heart attack. After the death of Marcel, Paul Lavond sees the chance to use the miniaturization process as instrument of vengeance and he travels to Paris with the insane Malita disguised of Madame Mandilip, a nice old lady and owner of a dolls store. Paul Lavond, using the identity of Madame Mandilip, befriends his resented and estranged daughter Lorraine Lavond (Maureen O'Sullivan) and plots a scheme to revenge and vindicate his family name.
"The Devil Doll" is an entertaining film by Tod Browning with a good story and special effects still impressive in 2011. The cast has great performances but Lionel Barrymore is excellent in his double role, and convincing as an old woman. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "A Boneca do Diabo" ("The Devil Doll")
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