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Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,795 users  
Reviews: 81 user | 42 critic

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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Title: Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Glenda Farrell ...
Florence Dempsey
Frank McHugh ...
Jim
Allen Vincent ...
Ralph Burton
Gavin Gordon ...
George Winton
...
Joe Worth
Holmes Herbert ...
Dr. Rasmussen
Claude King ...
Mr. Galatalin
Arthur Edmund Carewe ...
Thomas E. Jackson ...
Detective (as Thomas Jackson)
DeWitt Jennings ...
Police Captain
Matthew Betz ...
Hugo
Monica Bannister ...
Joan Gale
Edit

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

Taglines:

IS SHE WOMAN OR WAX??? Solve it -- if you dare! 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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone)

Color:

(2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was produced before the Production Code. When it was re-made only 20 years later, as House of Wax (1953), all references to drug use were removed and a character was changed from a junkie to an alcoholic. See more »

Goofs

In one scene showing the front of the wax museum you see a man in the back ground walking by, the shot shifts a little bit and you see the same man walking by again. See more »

Quotes

Winton: I've only known you twenty-four hours, but I'm in love with you.
Florence: Doesn't usually take that long.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Vincent Price: The Sinister Image (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Agitato
(uncredited)
Music by Bernhard Kaun
Stock cue played over main titles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Colorful Horror Film
23 January 2000 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

London after dark. A gallery of life-like wax figures. An argument, a fight & a fire. A man left to die in the flames. And as they melt, the figures seem to weep at their own destruction.

So starts MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM, credited as the first horror film with a modern urban setting - New York City. Glenda Farrell is the brash, blonde reporter trying to help her pal Fay Wray discover the secrets of a new wax museum just about to open, and those of its director Lionel Atwill, who is confined to a wheelchair due to a past accident. Murder & mayhem & wax-covered flesh will all figure into the plot before the mystery is solved.

This was one of Atwill's best roles, playing an artist driven to dementia by the destruction of the only things he ever really loved. His is a very special, nuanced performance.

Like DOCTOR X the year before, MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM benefits from wonderful Anton Grot sets (especially the wax bath) and from having been filmed in early two-strip Technicolor, which makes all the ghastly figures seem to come alive...


18 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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2-strip technicolor fluffhead34
As Good as 1953 version? mmpabbott
Glenda Farrell mkeller-8
Frank McHugh's best known role? rory-100
Based on a Gaston Leroux story? jrpelt
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