The Devil-Doll

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For the 1964 British film, see Devil Doll (film).
The Devil-Doll
Devil dollposter.jpg
Directed by Tod Browning
Produced by Edward J. Mannix
Written by Tod Browning
Guy Endore
Garrett Fort
Erich von Stroheim
Starring Lionel Barrymore
Maureen O'Sullivan
Music by Franz Waxman
Cinematography Leonard Smith
Edited by Frederick Y. Smith
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
July 10, 1936
Running time
79 min.
Country United States
Language English

The Devil-Doll (1936) is a horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring a cross-dressing Lionel Barrymore and Maureen O'Sullivan as his daughter, Lorraine Lavond. The movie was adapted from the novel Burn Witch Burn! (1936) by Abraham Merritt.[1]


Paul Lavond (Barrymore), who was wrongly convicted of robbing his own Paris bank and killing a night watchman more than seventeen years ago, escapes Devil's Island with Marcel (Henry B. Walthall), a scientist who is trying to create a formula to reduce people to one-sixth of their original size. The intended purpose of the formula is to make the Earth's limited resources last longer for an ever-growing population. The scientist dies after their escape.

Lavond joins the scientist's widow, Malita (Rafaela Ottiano), and decides to use the shrinking technique to obtain revenge on the three former business associates who had framed him and to vindicate himself. He convinces two people to allow themselves to be shrunken and become his personal assassins. He then disguises himself as an old woman that sells porcelain dolls to bring his shrunken assassins to his former associates' homes.

When the final associate confesses before he can be killed, Lavond clears his name and secures the future happiness of his estranged daughter, Lorraine (O'Sullivan), in the process. Malita isn't satisfied, and wants to continue to use the formula for personal gain. She tries to kill Paul when he announces that he is finished with their partnership, having accomplished all he intended, but she ends up blowing up their lab and killing herself.

To save his daughter from scandal, Paul tells Toto, Lorraine's fiancé, about what happened. He meets his daughter, pretending to be the deceased Marcel. He tells Lorraine that Paul Lavond died during their escape from prison, but that he loved her very much. Lavond then departs, planning to leave France forever.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1931-40 by The American Film Institute, c.1993

External links[edit]