6.9/10
3,443
90 user 36 critic

Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933)

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

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Doctor X (1932)
Comedy | Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A wisecracking New York reporter intrudes on a research scientist's quest to unmask The Moon Killer.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy
House of Wax (1953)
Crime | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An associate burns down a wax museum with the owner inside, but he survives only to become vengeful and murderous.

Director: André De Toth
Stars: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

When corpses drained of blood begin to show up in a European village, vampirism is suspected to be responsible.

Director: Frank R. Strayer
Stars: Lionel Atwill, Fay Wray, Melvyn Douglas
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Seeking shelter from a storm, five travelers are in for a bizarre and terrifying night when they stumble upon the Femm family estate.

Director: James Whale
Stars: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Charles Laughton
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A mad scientist seeks to mingle human blood with that of an ape, and resorts to kidnapping women for his experiments.

Director: Robert Florey
Stars: Bela Lugosi, Sidney Fox, Leon Ames
Mad Love (1935)
Certificate: Passed Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An insane surgeon's obsession with an actress leads him to replace her husband's hands with the hands of a knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.

Director: Karl Freund
Stars: Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive
Crime | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After hapless pianist and ex-con John Elman is framed for murder, he is resurrected by a scientist after his execution.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Boris Karloff, Ricardo Cortez, Edmund Gwenn
Certificate: Passed Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

When a nobleman is murdered, a professor of the occult blames vampires; but not all is what it seems.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An obsessed scientist conducts profane experiments in evolution, eventually establishing himself as the self-styled demigod to a race of mutated, half-human abominations.

Director: Erle C. Kenton
Stars: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen
Adventure | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An insane hunter arranges for a ship to be wrecked on an island where he can indulge in some sort of hunting and killing of the passengers.

Directors: Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack
Stars: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks
Black Moon (1934)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A young girl who lives on a tropical island loses her parents to a voodoo sacrifice, but although she manages to escape the island, a curse is put on her. Years later, as an adult, she ... See full summary »

Director: Roy William Neill
Stars: Jack Holt, Fay Wray, Dorothy Burgess
The Raven (1935)
Crime | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A brilliant surgeon obsessed with Edgar Allan Poe saves the life of a beautiful dancer and goes mad when he can't have her.

Director: Lew Landers
Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lester Matthews
Edit

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
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

Plot Keywords:

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

Taglines:

Women of FLESH become WAX in his hands... women of wax become flesh! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 February 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Mystery of the Wax Museum  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Vitaphone)

Color:

(2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The shot of the 'monster' lifting up the sheet in the morgue was, along with many other Warner Bros. films of the early 1930s, incorporated into the opening credits of their 1974 musical MAME. See more »

Goofs

During the opening sequence when Igor is showing off his "children," he points out a tableau entitled 'Mother Love' which features a woman nursing an infant surrounded by several children. In long shots the figure of the mother wears a head scarf pulled back exposing her shoulder, while in the close-up the scarf is pulled forward over her bosom (presumably to deemphasize the fact that she is breast feeding). See more »

Quotes

Florence: All right, then you can go to some nice, warm place, and I don't mean California.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) 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

Landmark horror film that should not be missed
9 February 2004 | by (Huntington, NY) – See all my reviews

In the early 1930's Jack Warner was under contract to use the Two-strip technicolor process on a Warner Brothers film. Unfortunately, this primitive form of color cinematography had a limited pallet of colors. Everything had an unnatural pastel look. Warner wisely choose a genre not dependent on reality- the horror film. Their first color horror film was DOCTOR X, a wild and macabre who-dunnit complete with scary murders, truly mad doctors and a cannibal. DOCTOR X, released in 1932, was enough of a success, that Warner Brothers reunited it's director, Michael Curtiz, the two leads, Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray, and the two strip Technicolor process for yet another horror film. The new film, simply titled WAX MUSEUM during production was a fast moving creepy chiller that mixed the gloom of Depression era New York with the creepy going-ons of a wax museum. The film begins in 1921. Sculptor Ivan Igor (a bohemian looking Lionel Atwill), so obsessed creating his wax museum, that he ignores that he and his partner, Worth (Edwin Maxwell) are in deep financial trouble. Worth sets fire to the museum to collect on a fire insurance policy. The museum is destroyed, and Igor is left a cripple with useless hands.

Twelve years later, in Manhattan, Igor opens a new wax museum. At the same time, a wisecracking reporter, Florence (Glenda Farrell) tracks a hot case of the corpse of a recently murdered socialite stolen from the morgue. She begins to suspect that creepy wax museum downtown of stealing bodies and posing them as wax statues. What makes things worse, is that her best friend, Ruth (Fay Wray) is dating the most innocent of the questionable wax-workers. THE MYSTERY OF THE WAX MUSEUM is a DVD shelf must-have.


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

Message Boards

Recent Posts
As Good as 1953 version? mmpabbott
2-strip technicolor fluffhead34
Glenda Farrell mkeller-8
Frank McHugh's best known role? rory-100
Based on a Gaston Leroux story? jrpelt
internal relaionships ameliazc
Discuss Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?