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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 »
The shrunken animals do not cast shadows when they move. This is obvious with the dogs on the lab table and the horse galloping on Radin's desk. See more »
[Explaining why he thinks shrinking people and animals is a good idea]
Lavond, my friend, millions of years ago the creatures that roamed this world were gigantic. As they multiplied, the earth could no longer produce enough food. Think of it, Lavond: every living creature reduced to one-sixth its size. One-sixth of its physical need. Food for six times all of us!
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Lionel Barrymore is great in this film as an escaped convict out for revenge against the three bankers who framed him for embezzlement and murder seventeen years before. He and another fellow, a scientist, escape from Devil's Island together and arrive at the scientist's house, where his wife carries on his twisted experiments: shrinking living beings. His goal is to shrink all creatures on Earth, to make food production easier, but the shrunken things' brains don't function properly. You can control them telepathically, for some strange reason, but they can't think for themselves. When the scientist dies, Barrymore devises to use these dolls to get revenge on his enemies.
There are a lot of relatively good special effects in the film, and, like I said, Lionel Barrymore is fantastic. There is a nice emotional center of the film - Barrymore's daughter has suffered a lot from her father's crimes, and she hates him. Barrymore's sole purpose in getting revenge (and getting his enemies to confess their crimes) is to free his daughter from the shame in which she has always lived because of him. I actually wish that there was at least one more sequence concerning the daughter (there are three in the present film). The final scene is quite touching. 7/10.
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