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Waxworks (1924) More at IMDbPro »Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (original title)

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Release Date:
February 1929 (USA) See more »
The owner of a Waxmuseum needs for three of his models stories to be told to the audience. For that reason he has hired a writer... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Child of Caligari See more (21 total) »


  (in credits order)

Emil Jannings ... Harun al Raschid

Conrad Veidt ... Ivan the Terrible

Werner Krauss ... Jack the Ripper / Spring-Heeled Jack

William Dieterle ... The Poet / Assad the Baker / A Russian Prince (as Wilhelm Dieterle)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Olga Belajeff ... Eva-Maimune-Eine Bojarin
John Gottowt ... Inhaber der Panoptikums

Georg John
Ernst Legal

Directed by
Leo Birinsky 
Paul Leni 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Henrik Galeen 

Produced by
Leo Birinsky .... producer
Alexander Kwartiroff .... producer
Cinematography by
Helmar Lerski 
Art Direction by
Paul Leni 
Costume Design by
Ernst Stern 
Production Management
Artur Kiekebusch-Brenken .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William Dieterle .... assistant director
Art Department
Paul Dannenberg .... props
Alfred Junge .... assistant art director
Fritz Maurischat .... assistant art director
Camera and Electrical Department
Hans Lechner .... still photographer
Music Department
Jon Mirsalis .... music performer: 1996 alternate version (as Jon C. Mirsalis)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Das Wachsfigurenkabinett" - Germany (original title)
"Caliph of Baghdad" - International (English title) (segment title)
"Harun Al-Rashid" - International (English title) (segment title)
"Ivan the Terrible" - International (English title) (segment title)
"Jack the Ripper" - International (English title) (segment title)
"The Caliph of Baghdad" - International (English title) (segment title)
See more »
65 min | USA:83 min (restored version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The "Harun al Raschid" episode reportedly inspired Douglas Fairbanks to make The Thief of Bagdad (1924)See more »


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15 out of 22 people found the following review useful.
Child of Caligari, 6 November 2005
Author: Cineanalyst

"Waxworks" is an early example in film history of a movie that's clearly in homage to another film--in this case, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920). The expressionistic stylization in the film is obviously influenced by "Caligari", and a few references to that film reinforces that, beginning with the title. The literal translation of "Das Wachsfigurenkabinett" is "The Wax Figures Cabinet"--the keyword being "cabinet". Additionally, the frame narrative is purposefully set at a carnival, although a more dimensional one than the stage setting in "Caligari".

The narrative structure is closer to Fritz Lang's "Destiny" (1921), with the framing of three odd stories. "Waxworks" has the clever device of a writer of the inner stories in the framing story. And, the three biggest stars of Weimer cinema (Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt and Werner Krauss) play the historical villains and waxworks come alive in the inner stories. For the three stories, a different expressionistic technique dominates, each relating to and enhancing their respective themes. In the Harus al Raschid narrative featuring Jannings, it's the sets (Paul Leni's sphere) with oddly shaped architecture more akin to "Caligari' than Baghdad. Especially nice is the staircase set. Rather than the horrific, dreamlike abstraction of "Caligari", however, the sets are delightfully peculiar, as is Jannings and the silly story. Low-key lighting dominates the Ivan the Terrible episode featuring a darkly paranoid Veidt, and the multiple exposure kaleidoscope imagery places Krauss's stalking serial killer everywhere.

A clever film, and Leni and the other filmmakers seem to have had fun with it, which crosses over to viewers, but beyond that it's rather lackluster, not emotionally engaging as "Destiny", nor stunningly fresh as "Caligari".

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