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The Devil-Doll (1936)

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

Director:

Tod Browning (uncredited)

Writers:

Garrett Fort (screen play), Guy Endore (screen play) | 3 more credits »
Reviews

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lionel Barrymore ... Paul Lavond
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Lorraine Lavond
Frank Lawton ... Toto
Rafaela Ottiano ... Malita
Robert Greig ... Emil Coulvet
Lucy Beaumont ... Mme. Lavond
Henry B. Walthall ... Marcel
Grace Ford ... Lachna
Pedro de Cordoba ... Charles Matin
Arthur Hohl ... Victor Radin
Juanita Quigley ... Marguerite Coulvet
Claire Du Brey ... Mme. Coulvet (as Claire du Brey)
Rollo Lloyd ... Detective
E. Alyn Warren ... Commissioner (as E Allyn Warren)
Edit

Storyline

Paul Lavond was a respected banker in Paris when he was framed for robbery and murder by crooked associates and sent to prison. 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

Taglines:

Greater Than "The Unholy Three"

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 July 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Witch of Timbuctoo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The initial 50,000 franc reward for Paul's capture would equal about $3,000 at the time or $55,000 in 2018. See more »

Goofs

As one of the men who framed Lavond is reading about his escape from prison, the paper he's holding is shown both folded and unfolded between shots. See more »

Quotes

Marcel: [Referring to Lachna, the servant girl] Malita, where did you get her?
Malita: In a Berlin slum. She's an in-bred peasant half-wit. But I wanted no prying wits about me.
See more »

Connections

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Danne DeVito (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Tod Browning does it again!
9 September 2007 | by revere-7See all my reviews

To the masses, Tod Browning is mostly unknown. Those who do know his name mostly remember him as the director of the original 'Dracula'. Fans of the genre remember him as the director not only of that movie, but of 'Freaks' as well.

But there is a great slightly campy classic that he directed near the end of his career, The Devil Doll.

While it never hits the highs of those earlier films, it is certainly worth a watch. The story concerns Paul Lavond (played by the always awesome Lionel Barrymore) - an escaped prisoner who learns a way to shrink humans to 1/6th their size, and rob them of their free will. He uses this secret to enact revenge on the men who framed him and sent him to prison.

Like his other films, this Tod Browning film also started a bit of a subgenre in the horror field - no, I'm not talking about creepy dolls (though a case could perhaps be made for that), I'm talking about the wronged individual that seeks redress in a vengeful manner (sure, earlier films danced around the concept - notably 'The Phantom of the Opera' - but here it is so straightforward. Lavond openly admits that he is full of "hatred", "vengeance" and even "evil". That is very refreshing, even in a film that's over 70 years old! Lavond realizes that he will ultimately pay a heavy price for his actions, but never wavers in his conviction to see his plans fully realized. Many great films in the genre followed this formula later on, notably 'The Abominable Dr. Phibes'.

Another great aspect to this film is the great supporting cast. Maureen O'Sullivan (Jane from the Tarzan films!) as Lavond's daughter, and character actress Rafaela Ottiano creepy as always as Lavond's accomplice.

Definitely worth a watch.


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