Monday, December 3, 2012

The Devil-Doll (1936)

May All Your Christmas Dreams Come True... from "The Devil-Doll"


The Devil Doll (1936) - Movie review plus screencaps:
The Devil-Doll
In "The Devil-Doll," Lionel Barrymore plays an escaped convict who befriends a pair of mad scientists, and uses their methods of shrinking and mind-controlling humans and animals to exact revenge against the men who framed him for murder.
Mad Scientist Lab Equipment
This is a strange little sci-fi flick from the 1930s.  Lionel Barrymore gains the ability to shrink humans and animals to doll-size, and control them with his mind.  So he disguises himself as a toymaker, and smuggles his devil-dolls into his victims homes as Christmas presents and Christmas tree ornaments, to rob and murder the men who framed him.   Oh, and did I mention he disguises himself as a FEMALE toymaker?  Yes, he spends the majority of the film in drag.
Lionel Barrymore in Drag
The shrinking effects must have been state-of-the-art at the time, and are still a lot of fun.  Watching knife-wielding shrunken people creep around their victims bedrooms in the middle of the night is a real hoot. The film falters a bit when it brings in the subplot of Barrymore's daughter and mother, who have been shamed and made destitute by Barrymore being a criminal, and it tries to tie everything up in a happy ending for them which is pretty lame, but the sort of thing that was expected of movies back then, I guess.
A Killer Doll
Christmas elements in "The Devil-Doll" include:
  • The film is set during the Christmas season
  • A Christmas tree and Christmas tree ornaments figure prominently
  • A Devil-Doll is purchased as a Christmas present
  • Much of the film takes place at a toy making shop
Christmas Tree
Overall, even though the film has it's faults, it's still I fun way to spend an hour and 15 minutes, and it's a must-see if you're a fan of vintage mad scientist movies.  Plus, it makes for great family viewing around the holidays!

Rating: 3 Robots (out of 5)

More screencaps after the jump...

Transvestite Beauty Queen

Dancing Dolls

Mysterious House


Devil-Doll on the Slab

It's Not a Toy

Bride of Lab Equipment

Son of Lab Equipment

Shrunken Woman

Eiffel Tower

Escaped Convict

Toys in the Window

Devil-Doll With a Knife

Distinguished Looking Criminals

Mystified by Weird Case

A Coded Threat

The Threat is Deciphered

Clock Tower

A Perfectly Reasonable Christmas Tree Ornament

Christmas Presents

New Species of Monkeys Found in South Africa!

The Toy Shop is Destroyed

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