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The Black Doll (1938)

Approved | | Comedy, Mystery, Romance | 30 January 1938 (USA)
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 »



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Complete credited cast:
Marian Rood
Sheriff Renick
Nelson Rood
Doris Lloyd ...
Laura Leland
A.H. Mallison
Holmes Herbert ...
Dr. Giddings
William Lundigan ...
Rex Leland
Fred Malatesta ...
Esteban, the butler
Inez Palange ...
Rosita, the housekeeper
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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


HE WAS A VERY "EXCLUSIVE" DETECTIVE! The clues had to find him! See more »


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
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Did You Know?


This was the first of four Universal Crime Club features to be telecast on New York City's DuMont Television Station WABD (Channel 5), making its television debut Monday 18 November 1946, marking the first breakthrough of major studio films being telecast in the postwar era; this actually came about because, by this time, these four titles had fallen into the hands of Astor Pictures Corporation, who had been distributing them theatrically for the past four years. The three that followed were The Lady in the Morgue (1938), _The Westland Case (1937)_ and _Danger on the Air (1938)_. In Los Angeles, The Black Doll first saw the light of television Saturday 28 September 1947 on DuMont's KTLA (Channel 5) It would not be until ten years later that Universal itself, and the rest of the majors, opened their vaults to their longtime rival. See more »

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User Reviews

Decent , but goofy tale of murder in a small town that you'll forget soon after viewing
19 March 2005 | by (Glen Cove, New York) – See all my reviews

There is a liberal dose of humor in this movie where Edgar Kennedy, master of the slow burn, plays a sheriff investigating a murder in a small town. The point of the plot is the Black Doll of the title and a harbinger of death which appears and disappears through out the proceedings. Kennedy is "aided" by a newspaper reporter who manages to put the whole thing together.

Its a breezy 65 minutes that fly by almost as an after thought. The mystery is clever but it seems stretched out to fill the required running time. The cast is quite good and the whole thing has the feel of something from a lazy Sunday.

Its so breezy as to be utterly forgettable. I recently found this on one of my video tapes and was totally baffled by what it was. I know that I had watched this previously since I removed the commercials at some earlier time, but I can't for the life of me remember ever seeing it other than when I just popped it into the VCR last night. Now some twelve hours later I find the film rapidly disappearing from my mind.

If you want to see a film you'll enjoy for its running time but which will leave no trace on you consciousness, this is the movie for you.

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