The Devil-Doll

  • Film
  • Horror films
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Anticipating Dr Cyclops and The Incredible Shrinking Man in its miniaturisation effects, this was co-scripted by Erich von Stroheim from an excellent novel, Burn Witch Burn!, by A Merritt. Barrymore is an escaped convict who masquerades as the proprietress of a toy shop. The dolls he sells are actually real people reduced in size; and much of the film shows them - charmingly and only occasionally disturbingly - coping with giant furniture, evading their schoolgirl owners, and carrying out Barrymore's murderous revenge on those who sent him to Devil's Island. Browning had made Freaks at MGM, much to Mayer's disgust, and in working out his contract he had to lighten his uniquely dark vision, though the scene of a doll climbing out of a Christmas tree is effectively chilling.

Release details

Duration: 79 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Tod Browning
Screenwriter: Garrett Fort, Guy Endore, Erich von Stroheim
Cast: Lionel Barrymore
Maureen O'Sullivan
Frank Lawton
Robert Greig
Lucy Beaumont
Henry B Walthall
Rafaela Ottiano
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