The Devil-Doll (1936)

35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American horror film directed by Tod Browning.

Plot Summary

Framed for robbery and murder, respected Parisian banker Paul Lavond is sent to Devil's Island. Many years later, he effects an escape, taking with him a scientist who had found a way to miniaturise humans, a process that Lavond now plans to use to help him gain his on those who set him up.


* = uncredited

Directed by: A Tod Browning production
© Copyright MCMXXXVI [1936] by Metro Goldwyn Mayer Corporation
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents a Tod Browning production. Controlled by Loew's Incorporated
Produced by: Producers: Tod Browning *, E.J. Mannix *
Screen Play by: Garrett Fort, Guy Endore and Eric Von Stroheim
Story by: Tod Browning
Based on the novel Burn Witch Burn! by: Abraham Merritt
Director of Photography: Leonard Smith
Film Editor: Fredrick Y. Smith
Musical Score by: Franz Waxman; Edward Ward *
Recording Director: Douglas Shearer
Warbrobe by: Dolly Tree
Make Up: Robert J. Schiffer *
Art Director: Cedric Gibbons

Lionel Barrymore ([Paul] Lavond[/Madame Mandelip])
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)
Rollo Lloyd (Detective [Maurice])
E. Allyn Warren (commissioner)

Alternative Titles

La bambola del diavolo – Italy
A Boneca do Diablo – Portugal
Hirveä kosto – Finlanf
La muñeca diabólica
– Venezuela
Muñecas infernales
– Argentina
Muñecos infernales
– Spain
Les Poupées du diable
– France
Die Teufelspuppe
– Germany
The Witch of Timbuctoo


Empire no.161 (November 2002) p.50
Another freakish melodrama from Tod Browning, this was the first great shrinking people effects movie. The sequences of the killer in action – escaping from trees and making their way across huge living rooms to commit murder – remains fascinating and unsettling. Barrymore is a bit of a softie as megalomaniac masterminds go, but there's some high quality fiendishness from Rafaela Ottiano as a crippled minion who loves playing with the dancing dolls – from an illustrated review by Kim Newman



  • Empire no.161 (November 2002) p.50 – illustrated review (The reviews by Kim Newman)
  • Journal of Popular Film & Television vol.26 no.2 (Summer 1998) p.86-94 – illustrated article (Violence, Women and Disability in Tod Browning's Freaks and The Devil Doll by Madeleine A. Cahill and Martin F. Norden)
  • Kinematograph Weekly no.1532 (27 August 1936) – review
  • The London Reporter vol.1 no.50 (28 May 1936) – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.3 no.36 (December 1936) p.131 – review
  • Photon no.23 (1973) p.36-45 – illustrated article (Tod Browning – a Filmography by Bill Nelson)
  • Photoplay vol.50 no.3 (September 1936) p.54 – review
  • Shivers no.52 (April 1998) pp.24-27 – illustrated article (by Bryan Senn)


  • Expresso, Cartaz 26 July 1997 – review (by Manuel Cintra Ferreira)