THE DEVIL-DOLL. MGM, 1936. Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan, Frank Lawton. Based on the novel Burn Witch Burn by Abraham Merritt. Director: Tod Browning.

   After serving 17 years in a French prison for a crime he didn’t commit, a former banker escapes. With him is a scientist who has a formula for shrinking everything, including living creatures, to a sixth of their size.

   There is a small problem, however. Brain matter in humans is reduced as well, and anyone shrunken in size by the formula becomes a slave to the mental powers of those using it. This, of course, is a fine way to extract revenge upon those who have done you wrong.

   The special effects are spectacular, but in truth all they can do is make this old-fashioned melodrama just barely digestible.

— Reprinted and slightly revised from Movie.File.8, January 1990.