The Devil-Doll

  • 1936
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Fantasy, Horror

Tiny people, and we don't mean Munchkins. Another Tod Browning foray into the macabre, THE DEVIL-DOLL stars Lionel Barrymore as Paul Lavond, a wrongly convicted prisoner who escapes Devil's Island with mad scientist Marcel (Walthall). They take refuge in Marcel's old laboratory, where he demonstrates his miraculous invention, a serum that reduces all living...read more

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Tiny people, and we don't mean Munchkins. Another Tod Browning foray into the macabre, THE DEVIL-DOLL stars Lionel Barrymore as Paul Lavond, a wrongly convicted prisoner who escapes Devil's Island with mad scientist Marcel (Walthall). They take refuge in Marcel's old laboratory, where he

demonstrates his miraculous invention, a serum that reduces all living things to miniature size. Before dying, the ailing Marcel passes his secret formula on to Lavond, who decides to seek vengeance on the three men who framed him. Disguised as an old woman who runs a doll shop, Lavond manages to

reduce one of his enemies and paralyze a second, but begins to lose control of the scheme because of his crazed assistant, Ottiano, who is so spellbound by the miniaturizing process that she refuses to stop, at one point hissing, "We'll make the whole world small!"

While THE DEVIL-DOLL is no FREAKS, director Tod Browning, in his second-to-last film, adds a sinister edge to what is basically a morality play. The special effects still impress today; the oversized sets and props are expertly done, with much attention given to detail; and the film is excellently

photographed by Leonard Smith. Erich Von Stroheim is credited with co-writing the screenplay, but the exact nature of his contributions has never been made clear. Cast is generally expert, with the exception of veddy-British Lawton, who is too refined for his assignment.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Tiny people, and we don't mean Munchkins. Another Tod Browning foray into the macabre, THE DEVIL-DOLL stars Lionel Barrymore as Paul Lavond, a wrongly convicted prisoner who escapes Devil's Island with mad scientist Marcel (Walthall). They take refuge in M… (more)

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