Down 58,182 this week

The Black Doll (1938)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Mystery, Romance  |  30 January 1938 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.0/10 from 50 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

Nicholas Rood, dishonest mine owner, finds a Black Doll on his desk and knows that vengeance is about to overtake him for murdering his former partner. He is knifed as he talks to his ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $1.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

list image
a list of 167 titles
created 15 Jun 2011
a list of 2247 titles
created 01 Jan 2012
list image
a list of 2508 titles
created 08 Jan 2012
a list of 10 titles
created 12 Oct 2013
a list of 92 titles
created 6 months ago

Related Items

Search for "The Black Doll" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Black Doll (1938)

The Black Doll (1938) on IMDb 6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Black Doll.





Complete credited cast:
Donald Woods ...
Nan Grey ...
Marian Rood
Edgar Kennedy ...
Sheriff Renick
C. Henry Gordon ...
Nelson Rood
Doris Lloyd ...
Laura Leland
Addison Richards ...
A.H. Mallison
Holmes Herbert ...
Dr. Giddings
William Lundigan ...
Rex Leland
Fred Malatesta ...
Esteban, the butler
Inez Palange ...
Rosita, the housekeeper
Syd Saylor ...
Deputy Red
Arthur Hoyt ...


Nicholas Rood, dishonest mine owner, finds a Black Doll on his desk and knows that vengeance is about to overtake him for murdering his former partner. He is knifed as he talks to his daughter Marian. She summons her fiancé Nick Halstead, a private detective. He finds that six people had a motive for the murder; Rood's sister Mrs. Laura Leland; her son Rex; Rood's associates Mallison and Walling; Esteban, a servant and Dr. Giddings. Sheriff Renick and his deputy Red get the clues all mixed up, but Nick finally narrows the search down to one suspect... Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 January 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Boneca Misteriosa  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


At one point the sheriff mistakenly refers to two suspects as "Wallace and Simpson". This is a topical pun, referring to the Duchess of Windsor (born Wallis Simpson), the American socialite for whom the Duke of Windsor (at the time King Edward VIII) had recently abdicated the English throne so they could marry (he could not wed a twice-divorced foreigner and remain King, so he chose love). They remained married until his death in 1972, 35 years later. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Very entertaining mystery with laughs
2 April 2012 | by (Minnesota) – See all my reviews

Boy, is rich old Nelson Rood (C. Henry Gordon) asking for it! He is rude and imperious with everyone around him. So when he finds a black doll on his desk with a knife through it, he knows it's a genuine threat.

Who might want to harm Rood? Well….He is cruel to his sister, who lives with him and depends on his support. He scoffs at his nephew, a rebellious young man who has been forging his uncle's name on checks. He tries to chase away his daughter's fiancé. He even insults his faithful butler. And then there are the two old "business partners" from whom he has been hiding for 15 years, seemingly the only two people alive who could have known about the black doll….

Nan Grey and Donald Cook make a nice pair as the intelligent daughter and her clever fiancé. Cook is right on the job when the murder is discovered; true, it's a murder investigation, but he generally gives the impression that he is having great fun with it all. Grey exhibits charm and personality—she's smarter than your average B movie heroine here, and fully a match for Cook's exuberance. (Alas, Grey is not really given quite enough to do.)

Edgar Kennedy is strictly comic relief as the sheriff, but if you like Edgar then this film is for you. His best line: "When I'm investigating a crime, I'm not a man—I'm a bloodhound!" He's blustery, hilarious and totally inept right to the film's final shot.

The mystery plot itself is pretty standard….but it keeps you guessing. The dialog is good and the performances energetic. Lots of fun for B mystery fans.

One line that mystified me: "Get me a jar of jelly, some talcum powder, and a plate." (Donald Woods apparently preparing to take some fingerprints. All for naught, however, as one of Sheriff Kennedy's deputies eats the jelly.)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Black Doll (1938) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: