Wednesday, October 21, 2015

31 Days of Halloween - Day 21 - Movie 2

Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) escapes from prison after a seventeen years stretch for a crime he didn't commit. He escapes with a scientist who plans to live the rest of his days altruistically trying to reduce living things to 1/6 scale in order tom further earth's resources. When the scientist dies, Lavond helps his widow continue the work, but for different reasons. Lamond plans to use the shrunken humans to exact revenge against the banking partners who set him up for their own crime.

The Devil Doll (1936) is a pretty lively weird thriller from director Tod Browning.  Lionel Barrymore spends much of the movie in old lady drag, an identity he adopts in order to evade the police, insinuate himself into the lives of the men he plans to kill, and secretly interact with his, now adult, daughter (Maureen O'Sullivan) who despises her father for the crime he allegedly committed which forced her and her mother to live in poverty. It's Lavond's relationship with his daughter that elevates him from simply being a man out for revenge and brings him a chance at redemption. Rafaela Ottiano as the scientist's widow, encapsulates the ultimate incarnation of the mad scientist with her wild eyes, demented expression, white streaked unkempt hair and her asymmetrical physical deformation.

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