Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Most Mad Scientist Ever?

The Devil Doll (1936) is an odd film. And considering that it is directed by Tod Browning, the man who gave the world The Unknown (1929), Dracula (1930), and Freaks (1931), that is really saying something. Without giving away too much plot, let's just say that it involves revenge, Lionel Barrymore pretending to be a woman, and Rafaela Ottiano.

Ms. Ottiano is Malita, the devoted wife (made widow early in the film) of a scientist, who has created a process that can shrink down animals and humans to 1/6 of their original size, which planed to unleash on to the world to stop world hunger. However, his creation end up having no will of their own, needing a strong mind to telepathically move them.

Stealing the show from Lionel Barrymore in drag is no easy task, but Ms. Ottiano does just that.
With her wide eyes, streak of white hair, and crutch, she is truly an imposing figure. She is 100% devoted to her work, and only helps Mr. Barrymore with his nefarious plans of revenge in order to continue her husbands unfinished work. Considering her amazingness, it is appropriate that she (Spoiler alert go out with a bang.)

It is unusual to find a fully over-the-top insane woman scientist in a horror film from the 1930's, but I am glad that this one is such a memorable crazy. Here's to you, Malita!

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