Combustible Celluloid
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With: Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O'Sullivan, Frank Lawton, Rafaela Ottiano, Robert Greig, Lucy Beaumont, Henry B. Walthall, Grace Ford, Pedro de Cordoba, Arthur Hohl, Juanita Quigley, Claire Du Brey, Rollo Lloyd, E. Alyn Warren
Written by: Garrett Fort, Erich von Stroheim, Guy Endore, based on a story by Tod Browning, and on a novel by Abraham Merritt
Directed by: Tod Browning
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 78
Date: 10/07/1936

The Devil-Doll (1936)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

'Doll' Parts

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Lionel Barrymore is excellent in Tod Browning's The Devil-Doll, which tells the story of an escaped convict who uses a shrinking technique to exact revenge on the bankers who used him as a patsy. Barrymore dresses in drag here, just as Browning's frequent star Lon Chaney often did in Browning's silent era films. The infamous Erich von Stroheim contributed to the screenplay.

In the mid-1990s, four old MGM horror films appeared together in a laserdisc box set. Here they are again: Charles Brabin's The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), Karl Freund's Mad Love (1935), Tod Browning's Mark of the Vampire (1935) and Browning's The Devil-Doll (1936). Since MGM was never really interested in horror, the films all have histories of troubled productions. But nonetheless, they survive as genuinely wonderful classics. Warner Home Video -- which owns older titles from the MGM vaults -- has thrown in two more movies, Michael Curtiz's Doctor X and Vincent Sherman's The Return of Doctor X (1939). Five of the films come with fun, informative commentary tracks, including one by director Sherman, who died a few months ago, just weeks shy of his 100th birthday.

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