The Mad Genius (1931)

USA, 1931
81m, 8 reels
35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American horror film directed by Michael Curtiz.

Plot Summary

A crippled puppeteer rescues a young boy from his abusive family and raises the child as a great ballet dancer. When the young man falls in love that the puppeteer is also in love with, things start to get very complicated and murder soon follows.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Michael Curtiz
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. & the Vitaphone Corp. present
Screen Play by: J. Grubb Alexander & Harvey Thew
From the play [The Idol] by Martin Brown
Photographed by: Barney McGill
Edited by: Ralph Dawson
Vitaphone Orchestra Conducted by: David Mendoza
Gowns by: Earl Luick
Art Director: Anton Grot
Ballet Dances Staged by: Adolph Bolm

John Barrymore (Vladimar Ivan Tsarakov)
Marian Marsh (Nana Carlova)
Charles Butterworth (Karimsky)
Donald Cook (Fedor Ivanoff)
Luis Alberni (Sergei Bankieff)
Carmel Myers (Sonya Preskoya)
Andre Luguet (Count Robert Renaud)
Frankie Darro (Fedor as a Boy)
Boris Karloff [Fedor’s father] *
Mae Madison [Olga Chekova] *
Lee Moran [Montmartre cabaret director] *

Alternative Titles

El idolo – Spanish title
Ihminen vai paholainen – Finnish title


The Films of Boris Karloff by Richard Bojarski and Kenneth Beals pp.54-55 – illustrated credits, synopsis
Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.274 – credits