7.1/10
3,218
64 user 46 critic

The Devil-Doll (1936)

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 »
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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)
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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

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
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 main theme music was later used by its uncredited composer, Bronislau Kaper, as the basis for Greta Garbo's rhumba sequence ("Chica Choco") in Two Faced Woman (1941). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Marcel: [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!
See more »

Connections

Remade as Attack of the Puppet People (1958) 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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