After seventeen years in prison, the former respected Parisian banker Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) flees with his friend, the lunatic scientist Marcel (Henry B. Walthall) that is researching with his wife Malita (Rafaela Ottiano) the miniaturization of animals and human beings to improve the resources of mankind. Paul Lavond was framed for robbery by his scoundrel associates Emil Coulvet (Robert Greig), Charles Matin (Pedro de Cordoba) and Victor Radin (Arthur Hohl) that had stolen his business while his family was doomed to shame, poverty and tragedy. When Marcel reduces the retarded servant Lachna (Grace Ford), he learns that the woman is motionless and only responds to the control of his brain and has a heart attack. After the death of Marcel, Paul Lavond sees the chance to use the miniaturization process as instrument of vengeance and he travels to Paris with the insane Malita disguised of Madame Mandilip, a nice old lady and owner of a dolls store. Paul Lavond, using the identity of Madame Mandilip, befriends his resented and estranged daughter Lorraine Lavond (Maureen O'Sullivan) and plots a scheme to revenge and vindicate his family name.
"The Devil Doll" is an entertaining film by Tod Browning with a good story and special effects still impressive in 2011. The cast has great performances but Lionel Barrymore is excellent in his double role, and convincing as an old woman. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "A Boneca do Diabo" ("The Devil Doll")
Drama / Horror / Sci-Fi
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1 hr 18 min