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Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

The disappearance of people and corpses leads a reporter to a wax museum and a sinister sculptor.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Jim
Allen Vincent ...
...
...
...
Dr. Rasmussen
Claude King ...
Mr. Galatalin
Arthur Edmund Carewe ...
Sparrow - Professor Darcy
Thomas E. Jackson ...
Detective (as Thomas Jackson)
...
Police Captain
Matthew Betz ...
Hugo
...
Joan Gale
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Storyline

In London, sculptor Ivan Igor struggles in vain to prevent his partner Worth from burning his wax museum...and his 'children.' Years later, Igor starts a new museum in New York, but his maimed hands confine him to directing lesser artists. People begin disappearing (including a corpse from the morgue); Igor takes a sinister interest in Charlotte Duncan, fiancée of his assistant Ralph, but arouses the suspicions of Charlotte's roommate, wisecracking reporter Florence. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

wax | sculptor | reporter | money | corpse | See All (137) »

Taglines:

You might as well know the truth as suspect it!---Here's every nerve-shattering fact laid before your startled eyes! The love riddle the police were afraid to solve brought under the lens of public scrutiny in a picture made behind bolted doors! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 February 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Mystery of the Wax Museum  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone)

Color:

(2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contrary to Technicolor's edict, United Artists shot a black-and-white version of Doctor X (1932) and "Mystery of the Wax Museum". At least two scenes in the black-and-white version use different takes than the color one: the scene with Lee Tracy and Mae Busch in the house of prostitution scene and the sequence with Tracy in the skeleton room. See more »

Goofs

During the opening fire, the first of the wax figures to be set ablaze is the one labeled "Vanity". In some subsequent shots, she is either not on fire at all or in lesser stages of conflagration. See more »

Quotes

Florence: [talking about a case] Can I handle this my way?
Jim: You cannot, I'm still editor of this newspaper.
Florence: Fine, you said I was fired... well, I quit, you give the assignment to somebody else.
Jim: Wait a minute, come here.
Florence: [crying] No, I'm through.
Jim: Come here, sob sister, all right, go ahead, do it your own way.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Carry on Screaming! (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

The Prisoner's Song
(1925)(uncredited)
Written by Guy Massey
Sung a cappella by Glenda Farrell
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User Reviews

Poor Glenda Farrell
22 April 2001 | by (Springfield, Missouri) – See all my reviews

She has been so sorely maligned. Despite what has been claimed by others here, Glenda Farrell was not a bad actress. A little broad sometimes perhaps, but not bad. She is a dynamo of live energy, which the film badly needs, for the only other energetic character in the film is Atwill, and only Farrell has the force to bring him down(that the script does not let her do so personally betrays the character). It is not Farrell's performance or even her character which is the problem of the film, but the script which makes that character necessary. Chock Full O' undeveloped characters (only Atwill and Farrell qualify as more than ciphers)whose paths cross coincidentally,Farrell's reporter is the one in the middle bringing the disparate elements together. A reporter or policeman had to be the central character, for only one of those two would be privy to all or even enough of the info needed to solve the puzzle, or to even recognize that the puzzle existed. And only a female reporter could be Fay Wray's roommate, as female police detectives or beat cops didn't exist(at least not in Hollywood). And only a fast-talking, wisecracking, brash and fierce female reporter able to beat the stereotypical fast-talking, wisecracking, brash 1930's male reporter at his own game could find the story AND crack the case before the police. Others have objected to the attention given the comic relief, apparently misunderstanding the term. Comic relief characters are supporting characters, and in this film, despite third billing, Glenda Farrell is the female lead. Fay Wray was a freelancer and able to negotiate better billing even though her role doesn't deserve it. Had she not had a real lead in the companion film DR.X, it's unlikely she would have been asked to take such a small part. Charlotte is needed in the story only for a face, and her face and scream are all Wray is allowed to bring to the role. As outstanding as those two attributes are, they don't add up to a real character. And while Farrell cracks wise, she is doing serious work central to the tale. A role with comedic content is not automatically a comic relief part. The script is a mess, letting down the great concept. HOUSE OF WAX is a much tighter script, more linear, combining ingenue and snoop into one role, and beefing up the part of the disfigured sculptor. It drops the very extraneous playboy character and the loose ends which trail in his wake. But most agree that HOUSE is boring compared to MYSTERY, and in addition to the direction and editing, much of MYSTERY's drive comes from the girl reporter and the crack actress who played her. Even if you do find her grating, Glenda Farrell is never boring.


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